Sunday, July 3, 2011

Words With Friends: I'm Hooked on Digital Scrabble

Scrabble has long been one of my favorite games. Admittedly, I get a little nervous when I play, mainly because as the English teacher, I'm suppose to be good with words. Problem is I often find myself stymied when searching my memory for the perfect word that begins with the letter "j" and ends with "q". So when my niece, whom I recently visited in Collierville, Tennessee, insisted I load the free app Words With Friends on my phone and challenged me to a game, I couldn't resist. Now I'm hooked.

I wiled away many hours in the car last week, alternating between reading Bossypants and State of Wonder on my Kindle and playing Words With Friends on my phone. At present, I'm awaiting the players of the seven games I have going to make their next moves.

One of the most appealing aspects of Words With Friends is the option to play against a random opponent. I've played Vm704, Ericalee86, Jk_yb, ying1, among others. I'm Wordswamp!

YouTube offers video tutorials, including the following excellent strategy guide:

Players can also find the "Cheats" that seemingly crop up and on which gamers often rely for help. I have mixed feelings about these. On the one hand, I want the challenge of thinking for myself. On the other hand, the "cheats" may help players learn new words. I'm still pondering the ethical dimensions of "cheats" and am interested in readers' thoughts.

Years ago I kept Scrabble in my classroom and occasionally let students play. Now Words With Friends is a game I will invite students to play with one another and with me, too. This digital version of Scrabble gives me a reason to let students use their phones in class. They'll think they're getting by with something! Mum's the word.

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