Words on Words: Brain Work for Sports Fans

Up all night to play lucky.

It’s Labor Day, another holiday draw for yours truly, and I have nothing much going on today until my fantasy draft this afternoon, which means that apart from cramming some cheat sheets, I’ll have plenty of downtime to kill playing Words with Friends, maybe even against some of you. Consider thisĀ Words on Words: Brain Work for Sports Fans.

I’ve been playing this stupid Scrabble rip-off for years now, with a small burn-out faze that I came back from with a vengeance, and I’ve got over a dozen games going at any given time…which makes it seem impossible to clean off my slate sometimes, so don’t feel bad if it takes me days to get around to our game again. I know some truly addicted souls, the kinds of people who are alerted as soon as a move is made and immediately respond no matter what time of day or night it is. Me, I usually steal moments in the bathroom, waiting in lines or mostly, when I’m lying in bed at night…falling asleep and accidentally hitting pass on my turn instead of submit, like I did with Short Matt the other night (still won).

Now you're just making tile up.
Now you’re just making shit up.

I’ve got games with all different types, players I routinely beat and players I always get stomped by. Players I for whatever reason always end up getting the Z, J, and Q against, and others I’m perpetually in vowel hell with. I’m playing pros and beginners, even my eleven-year-old son now…so I can pass on the great knowledge that “QI” and “QAT” are acceptable words. He’s doing pretty good but making some rookie mistakes, so I thought I’d use this space today to organize my Words with Friends advice.

Never set up Triple Word scores, that has to be the first rule. Really, try to think defensively and never set up any big spaces if you can help it. For me, I don’t like to give any potential opening unless my word is worth at least thirty points. It’s not always easy to fill a Triple Word, much less get thirty points, so that offsets the risk. Conversely…

Always take a Triple Word, even if you have a slightly better scoring opportunity somewhere else. Closing out that Triple Word from your opponent is even better defense.

Screen shot 2013-09-02 at 8.44.10 AM
Wordless Black Jack McDowell

Always assume your opponent has an S, the same way you always assume a Black Jack dealer has a face card down. If your word can suddenly be pluralized with your opponent spelling “SUQ” on a Triple Word or Triple Space, actively avoid using it.

Always try to cover both Double Words at once. It only takes a five-letter word, but the Quadruple score can turn even lame words into big gainers, and while it sets up one Triple Word for your opponent, you set up the other Triple Word for yourself, which should compound for a big score swing over the two turns. I can see from the board that it’s possible to get a Triple Double, even though it requires emptying your rack around another letter to create an eight letter word to cover the spaces, but I’ve never done it or have it happen to me. Still, with the 35 point bonus for the Bingo (emptying the rack), that’s got to be a killer. Now if you can somehow stretch a nine letter word, you might have a chance at a Triple Triple.

Screen shot 2013-09-02 at 8.49.17 AM
Oscar Robertson leads in Triple Doubles.

Try to dump all Vs and Cs immediately. There are no two letter words that contain them. C’s can at least be combined with other good letters, like H, but Vs are a total pain in the ass. If you’re sneaky enough, you might be able to hold onto a V until there are only a few tiles left in a close game, and then swap it out, thus sticking your opponent with an almost automatic -5 points at the end.


Shitis a perfectly acceptable word in Words with Friends, although it is not on MTM.

Tile is the word for the game pieces. It’s also the word my bosses on here would like me to use instead of shit.

It’s better to be lucky than good, advice that governs most of life, but particularly a luck-of-the-draw game like Words where it’s all about getting those high value letters, and getting them in at a good time in the game (like, not at the very end where there’s no place to put them). If you don’t get them, well then, that’s perhaps the best part of Words…you simply lose and start the next game.

Up all night to play lucky.
Up all night to play lucky.

I’m Mancans. I’ll play you…perhaps even the next time I’m in the john.

Fake Sandy Alderson, who always has some good Words to use, tomorrow.

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About West Coast Craig 226 Articles
West Coast Craig reports from Hollywood with an endearingly laid back style. A happily married father of two little boys, WCC has an avocado tree in his yard, plays the hot corner in a "Valley" hardball league and always manages to take cool sports-related mini road-trips, often with his immediate clan. He hails from Oneonta, NY but has been "So very L.A." for twenty years, so his sports teams are the Yankees AND the Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the L.A. Lakers and the Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques. WCC loves bacon-wrapped hotdogs and can touch his heel and his ear... with his hand.