One of the things I think that was inevitable was being told about Words With Friends. I was initially told about this Scrabble like game for the iPhone and iPod Touch through a few friends, but soon it was taking over the iPhone owners at work too. There’s no escaping Words With Friends. No doubt this due to the fact that Apple’s iTunes App Store carries both a paid and free version of the software, so there’s no excuse to not try it.
I consider Scrabble one of my least favorite games, as it was always one that my Dad liked to play. As a young child who loved games, I quickly grew to hate Scrabble as my young vocabulary never had a chance in hell of beating my Dad because he would never play it so that there was ever a chance I could win. While I’m sure some Scrabble grand masters would wipe the floor with my Dad, at such a young age I grew annoyed and frustrated that he’s never sacrifice a few top scoring words for the sake of giving the impression that he could be beaten or even sacrificing a game or two here and there to give a little victory and ensure those around him would still be willing to play with him. So I was a reluctant player drawn into Words With Friends due to this mostly hateful relationship I had with the game of Scrabble over the years, sure my vocabulary is greater than it once was, but I am no where near the type of player who truly masters the game with high scoring unusual words that only Scrabble grand masters know.
The brilliance of the game is that you play it with only one opponent, but you can have multiple opponents, and you take turns playing the game with rules nearly identical to Scrabble, except the game will not accept unacceptable words so you never have the opportunity to challenge a play by a fellow player. The turns commence whenever your opponents have time. Some will respond quickly and some will take days or even weeks to make their next move. It’s kind of seductive in a way this “play at your own convenience” ability of the game.
I opted for the paid version because I didn’t want to deal with advertisements that pop up when playing the free version, and with a seemingly endless supply of opponents who are friends and co-workers it was a decent $1.99 investment. Plus if you’re having difficulty finding an opponent, the program can find you a random opponent as well. You can even use a single iPhone to play with a physical opponent as it includes a game mode that allows you to pass the device back and forth with another player.
Personally I’ve found it enjoyable in that it doesn’t feel so intrusive that I have to continually play it, although, some of the folks I work with play it incessantly and get amazed I can take a few days away without playing a single word while they seem to take every break opportunity to play the game. Personally it’s the battery life of the iPhone that prevents me from wanting to play when I’m not conveniently able to plug my phone in as sometimes it take a while to find an appropriate word to play. And usually I will also play the game with the intent of creating funny and rude words if the opportunity allows. I once started a game because I had the tiles to spell out the word “BITCH” and it ended up being quite an amusing game as my opponent in the game also went for amusing and rude words as best as possible.
Of course, the game is not Scrabble for legal copyright reasons, the board is structured differently and spots that award double and triple letter and word scores are in a diamond pattern around the board instead of Scrabble’s X like pattern of bonus squares. Who knows the game just might make me into a person who likes Scrabble yet. But don’t let my Dad get an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad so I don’t have to play with him, as I still don’t have any desire to play anything Scrabble like with him.