Three more tips to help you win at Words With Friends

Three more tips to help you win at Words With Friends

Words With Friends currently is hosting a celebrity challenge with the likes of Snoop Lion (I don't know when he changed his name; I'm just rolling with it), Jonah Hill, Paul Pierce, Eva Longoria and Kristen Bell.

Yesterday, in the first match, Snoop Lion took out Hill, 425-396. In the semifinals, he'll take on the winner of the Longoria-Sophia Bush match. Today, Edward Norton is taking on Paul Pierce on the other side of the bracket.

I followed along during the Snoop Lion-Hill match, and both players are legit. Bundling words on top of each other, proper use of double- and triple-letter tiles, putting down "qi" at some point during the game. It was a well-played match.

But I do have a few tips for Snoop Lion as he progresses through the tournament:

1. Don't panic – Yes, this is blatantly ripping off The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but it's the most important rule to follow when you find yourself behind early in the game. The temptation when falling behind early is to start making risky moves and opening up the board to give yourself more opportunities to score big. The main problem with this is that it gives your opponent a chance to score big first. And that's how medium-sized leads turn into insurmountable leads. Stick to the Words With Friends game plan instead.

2. Stick to the Words With Friends game plan – OK. So let's go through the Words With Friends game plan: Keep your words small and your opponent's opportunities smaller – especially in regards to vowels next to open double- and triple-letter tiles. By using small words and playing them alongside your opponent's words, you greatly diminish his or her opportunities. When do you go away from the game plan? When you have a big word that will go for super points (40+). With the game plan, knowing when to go away from it is as important as knowing when to stick with it. Choose carefully.

3. Get rid of Zs, Vs, Qs, Ks, and Js quickly, but usefully – Another temptation of Words With Friends is to hold on to these high-scoring letters until you have the opportunity to score HUGE with them. Holding on to them for too long, though, really limits what you have in your tile and what you can play. I usually try to use them up the first double-letter tile or higher opportunity I get. The X – which has more uses – can be held onto a little longer.

• Joe Grace is a writer and journalist who lives in Chicago with his wife. He currently has six Words With Friends game going. Yikes!

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