Scrabble has been a tradition in most family game nights, and the recent iPhone app called Words with Friends is a hit. Getting good at these word games isn't easy, but here are 5 quick tips to get you started:
1. Kill two birds with one stone (make two new words (or more) words in one turn).
Adding an 's' to an already-played word and making another new word is one of the most common ways to maximize your score. For example, if the word jet has already been played vertically, and you have an 's,' add that 's' to the end of 'jet' while making a word horizontally that ends in 's,' in effect making two new words in just one turn, and getting points for both new words.
2. Play defensively.
As the saying goes, the best offense is a good defense. In Scrabble, don't leave any opportunities for your opponent to eat you up with a Triple Word bonus. Instead, try to keep the board as limited as possible for your opponent, for as long as possible, by playing words parallel to the established words. It's inevitable that the board will expand as the game goes on, but minimize your opponent's opportunities.
3. Know the two-letter words.
Knowing words like ma, sh, qi, and nu will be extremely helpful when playing defensively, as it allows you to build off of previous words and form several new words in the process. Search for the list of two-letter words online if you have a chance; trial and error will prove helpful in the long run, but learning them sooner rather than later will give you a bigger advantage.
4. Use all 7 letters in one turn.
In Words with Friends, there's a bonus of 35 points automatically for using all 7 letters in one turn. It's hard, yes, but take your time in considering your possibilities for the next turn, especially if you have the letters 'ing' or 'ed.'
5. Memorize as you go.
There are a huge number of high-scoring words that no one would've guessed: jax, zee, qat, to name a few. If your opponent plays a huge word that you didn't know existed, memorize it so you can use it on them the next time you face off.
Experience is the best teacher; with each game, your knowledge will grow, and you'll improve your score. These 5 easy tips for beginners will have you challenging the best in no time.