Five keys to success at Words With Friends

Five keys to success at Words With Friends

Like much of America, I play Words With Friends. And while I get beat just like everybody else, I have developed a few strategies that help put the odds in my favor a bit. Hopefully, these tips will be able to help you out, as well.

1. Stay close to your opponent – The key to Words With Friends is to score high points, while limiting what your opponent can do off of your move. The best way to do this is to have your word "hug" your opponent's word. If they start with "aye," spell "ten" exactly underneath it. I typically won't put a word that branches way off unless it has a significantly higher point total than anything else I can come up with.

2. Double up on Double Letter and Triple Letter blocks whenever possible – If you see a Double Letter or Triple Letter block available next to an already played word, try your best to use it in conjunction with another word. Suddenly that "M" or "W" can be worth 24 points just by using the Triple Letter block properly. It's the best value on the board.

3. The Double Word-Double Word combo is your best friend – Located near the sides of the boards are opportunities to make a five-letter word or more that hits both Double Word blocks. A 10-point words becomes 40 after you double it and double it again. A 15-point words can become 60 and so on. The other good thing about this is that many times it opens up two chances to use a Triple Word block, so you and your opponent will each get a chance equally to use that Triple Word block right next to the Double Word-Double Word combo.

4. Don't be afraid to set up your opponent with a Triple Word chance (especially if you've taken the Triple Letter associated with it) – When I first started playing, I tried to keep my opponent from getting Triple Word opportunities, even to my own detriment. This was a mistake. If you have a high-scoring word that stretches to the edge of the board, but gives your opponent a chance for a Triple Word, go for it. If you take out one of the Triple Letter blocks with your move, even better. The Triple Word square by itself is overvalued. Your opponent will definitely go there most of the time because it's open and to block you, even if they don't have a great word, and sometimes they only get 15 or 18 points out of it. You can do better on your next turn many times just by doubling up one of the Double Letter blocks close by.

5. Study the board before making your move – Biggest mistake is to go with the first word you see. Words With Friends is like a chess match. Study the board and many of the possible moves before going. You never know when you might find something better.

• Going for Gusto is a blog by Joe Grace that looks for the awesome in life. Please support Going for Gusto by liking the Facebook page at Facebook.com/GoingForGusto.

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