Words with Friends is best known as a popular word game, but unbeknownst to many, it also contains strategic elements that must be mastered if you want to win. Words with Friends isn’t just about knowing words: it a tactical, strategic game that requires simultaneously focusing on several key objectives if you want to outscore your opponent.
Here’s a quick rundown of the basic strategies you need to employ if you want to win at Words with Friends:
The most basic tactic needed to win at Words with Friends is maintaining a good leave. When you’re looking for a high scoring play, you want to discard problematic tiles so you can draw stronger tiles that provide better balance to your rack. Keeping a good leave requires understanding the strengths and weaknesses of various tiles and keeping a good balance of vowels and consonants while avoiding duplicate letters., and even being willing to exchange (and forfeit your turn) when you don’t have a play that simultaneously scores well and keeps a flexible leave. (For more information on keeping a good leave, click ).
At the end of the day, the objective of Words with Friends is to outscore your opponent, and well, this requires scoring points, even at the cost of playing a “nicer word”. While Words with Friends is known as a word game, it’s also a puzzle game where you’re often focusing on finding shorter words based on a set of constraints (5 letter words starting with a high point tile, or 3 and 4 letter words that play parallel to another word) and not a game that necessarily rewards finding the longest word possible.
Words with Friends requires players to fit medium length words into specific spots due to the multi-colored hotspot combinations available on the board. While the Triple Word Score is the most common hotspot, hotspot combinations (such as using both a Triple Letter and Triple Word, or both Double Word squares) are the type of hotspot combinations that are common in a game of Words with Friends.
Similarly, it is of the utmost important to prevent your opponent from using these hotspot combinations for a lot of points, as these spots can easily account for 50 or even 100 points in one turn if your opponent has the right letters. Preventing your opponent from using these hotspots is just as, if not more important than taking advantage of these opportunities when your opponent presents them to you.
Finding various options such as hooks, parallel plays, and extensions are an essential part of scoring points in Words with Friends. These opportunities can be hard to spot, but are a great way to use high point tiles and can potentially score extremely well, especially when also employing high-scoring hotspots. If you want to win, you also have to be willing to create these opportunities for your tiles on future turns.
One of the flashiest types of plays in Words with Friends is a bingo: a play that uses all seven of your tiles and nets a 35 point bonus. Bingos are often found in your rack when holding the blank and/or many of the letters in the word CREDENTIALS. Nevertheless, Words with Friends isn’t Scrabble: be careful not to go overboard on the hunt for bingos, but always be aware of the possibility whenever it appears that your rack has bingo potential.
Many of the most useful bingos in Words with Friends are not common words, and are best learned by study or practice. Check out some useful bingos along with their definitions here.
Winning at Words with Friends requires not altering the board so it is more conducive to your tiles as opposed to your opponent. You want to open the board when you’re behind, playing words to open space that hasn’t been used before and creating several openings simultaneously. You want to create new opportunities to score points or even play a bingo, which will allow you to whittle away at the deficit.
When ahead, you want to close the board, making parallels or short plays that inhibit your opponent’s ability to play a bingo or reach open space. You want to make plays towards the center of the board block options that could allow your opponent to make high scoring plays and potentially make a comeback.
Learning how to assail an opponent’s advantage by opening the board while also defending your lead when ahead is one of the most important strategic concepts in Words with Friends.