When you and a friend have words, it can sometimes be a great thing: Words with Friends
Yes, this is one of the most popular mobile games on the planet and, yes, it’s old news, but trust me, there are plenty of people who don’t know about it. Like my over-40, non-geeky women friends who inspired me to create Cowgirl App! in the first place. And, besides, it’s much more than a game for me…
Until I started playing Words with Friends on my iPhone about a year and a half ago, I’d practically lost touch with one of my closest longtime friends (we’re talkin’ 20+ years) back in California (I don’t do Facebook, she doesn’t do Twitter, and e-mail is just too much of a pain anymore).
The game is essentially Scrabble with enough changes not to infringe copyright. Some are improvements, though others make us Scrabble purists cringe a little. But hey, at least we get to play!
The makers of Scrabble didn’t have the good sense to create a game you could play over wifi with friends and strangers all over the world, and Words with Friends capitalized on Scrabble’s failure to get with the mobile picture. (Looks like this just changed though. Like today. Last time I checked, you and your opponent had to be on the same wifi network to play mobile Scrabble. But if you’re in the same room, whats the point, just dust off the board. Duh.) Anyway, since my husband (the only other person on my wifi network) doesn’t like Scrabble, I was deprived of the pleasure of playing my favorite game in the world (IRL or on mobile) for five whole years. Unbearable.
Now I’m “with” my two most logophile friends all the time! With the time difference (I’m nine hours ahead), they’re usually low-key games, where they take a turn while I sleep and vice versa. Sometimes in the morning or evening, when we’re all awake, we play in real time and it gets pretty intense. For word nerds, at least.
I love the little chat feature, which allows us to share news and thoughts and talk about the game as if we were right across from each other. And mobile blows IRL away as far as this game goes, because it’s not like you can tuck a half-covered Scrabble board into your pocket to play when and where you want. Not even the little magnetic car(sickness) version… Although I do like the clicky sound of the wooden tiles.
Anything that keeps you connected to the ones you love is a beautiful thing. The app itself is far from beautiful, however, and the servers are painfully slow. But maybe some day they’ll work on those things. It’s not enough to keep me away. I even paid the $0.99 or whatever to get rid of the ads.
You can only play one opponent per game (which I like just fine). You can have 20 games going at the same time if you’re hard core. I prefer to keep the games to a minimum, so I can savor each game and the time I’m spending with my friends.
Pamela Poole put on her red cowboy boots and moved from San Diego to Paris in 2006. She's a translator and tech blogger who believes the Internet is the fountain of youth.