A Word here and there!

Write about what you like and what you do.  That’s been some of the good advice I have seen here on blog posts.  Well, I know that one of the things I really love doing is playing Scrabble.  On Facebook (Zynga) it’s called “Words with Friends” (WWF).  The board is a bit different and the letters may not be the same in number, but the rules are the same.

I try to play between 18-20 games at a time.  20 is the max.  I enjoy playing the difficult players, but I really don’t care if you are good or not, as long as you keep playing and are having fun.  I have noticed, though, that there are several rules strategies that I try hard to play by and, if I stick to them well and get a decent round of letters, I usually win.  So, what I thought I would do is to give you some of those strategies and, perhaps, help you along a bit in learning to play or improving your score.

Out of an average of 20 games, I will win about 15-16.  I, currently, play good players all round, but have 3 players that will beat me about 4 of the 6 games.  I figure that puts me up a bit in the difficulty.  Also, I do not use any side programs and I don’t look at a dictionary while playing.  You can if you want, I just find the challenge better.

Strategy one:  On the first turn, if I go first and cannot either spell a very low 3-4 word score or get at least 16 points, I pass.  I do not like to play a lot of low points right off because it uses the letters I will need soon.

Strategy two:  Always try to make, at least, two words on each turn.  Try to spell your words so that, wherever they connect, changes directions and forms a new word.  That way whatever letter(s) are connecting count double.

Strategy three:  Try to make the connecting letters be higher point letters.  If it’s going to count double, then make it really count.

Strategy four:  When you can, make the connecting spot a double word or, at least, a double or triple letter spot.  OMG!  if you use an “H”(3 points) as  a connector, it is worth 6, but if it is on a double letter spot it is worth 12 and a triple is 18 for one letter.

Strategy five:  Try to make your higher letters count more.  I have had a lot of times when a smaller word gives more points because of which letter is sitting on a double or triple letter space.

Strategy six:  When the game is in the last 25 letters or so and you have a poor selection, think about trading in 3-4 letters.  Losing your turn is bad, but ending up with all consonants near the end of the game can be horrible.

Strategy seven:  Never give up a triple word spot to the opponent.  I have had a lot of times when I have spelled a 3-letter word worth only 9-12 points in order to block my opponent from getting more if they have a better choice.  Just think:  if you spell an 18 point word (pretty good) but leave the triple word spot open to, say, “hug” that’s 24 points for the opponent; you just lost 6 points.

Strategy eight:  Buy a Scrabble dictionary and read it sometimes.  I used to play a game with the students at school in which we took a 12-14 letter word and made as many words out of it as we could; I played, too.  They got pretty good at it and I hated losing, so I memorized a lot of the scrabble dictionary simply by using it over and over.  Not all the words in that will work in WWF, but it’s pretty good.

Strategy nine:  WWF allows you to play letters and “check” to see if it’s a word.  You are playing online, only a few turns a day, so use this.  Check and see for some spots.  You might be surprised at some English words that work.  I think the scrabble dictionary has 200,000 words in it, so…

Strategy ten:  Hold on to the letters like B,C,F,J,Q,X, and Z until you can get a high-point word out of them.  It’s a bit of a gamble, so, if late in the game, maybe go ahead and use them.

Strategy eleven:  Finally, learn weird words.  I will give you a decent list below of words that have really helped me through rough spots.  know your 2-3 letter words (I doubt you know as many as you think you do for this game).

List:   ab, ad, ae, ag, ax, bi, ef, ex, gi, jo, op, oy, pi, qi, um, xi, yo, za

awe, axe, aye, bah, biz, coy, din, fey, jar, jet, joe, kin, lye, ops, qua, rye, urn, vee, zee

Also:  daze, gaze, haze, maze, qaid, aide, quiz

I think if you use this list and the dictionary, you will do fine.  If you want to play and I have a game open, look me up on Facebook and challenge me.  I can’t wait.  Let me know how you do.  A love of words is a great thing to have.  If you don’t, you can develop one.

Namaste,

Scott

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