Recall that several months ago I nearly had to check myself into a rehab facility to get over an addiction to the computer word-forming game Bookworm. I managed to break free after going cold-turkey and never looked back. Life was good. Words and I lived once again in perfect harmony until . . .
My dear friends, I have stumbled once again and been lured into a torrid relationship with yet another word game: Words with Friends.
If you haven’t heard, it’s a multi-player word game where players take turns building words crossword-puzzle style with an opponent in a manner similar to the classic board game Scrabble. The rules of the games are similar but Words with Friends is not officially associated with Scrabble.
Decades of reading, writing, and playing word games has gifted me with a better than average (no bragging intended) vocabulary that aids me tremendously in annoying my offspring. I have been duly chastised for speaking in terms they don’t even want to know and forcing them to befriend a dictionary to figure out exactly what I mean. What can I say? It’s the little things in life that give me a charge.
But moving along, this is the same game that caused Alec Baldwin to be booted from a recent flight when he refused to shut down his electronic gadget because that meant being away from the game. In my pre-Words days I thought that whole episode was just silly. Now I understand . . . a little too well.
I haven’t had my transportation disrupted, yet, but I know what it’s like having a big play all planned out and waiting for your turn. To be cut off at such a crucial moment is . . . well, torture. The word inhumane comes to mind, too.
Still my problem has been of a little different variety.
After having my posterior handed to me on a gleaming silver platter one time too many I started looking into the game and reading tips from top strategists.
Ended up I was making some huge mistakes, the first of which was believing my ample vocabulary gave me an edge. It did not.
More than anything when it comes down to scoring the most points and winning the game, Words with Friends is about math. My word knowledge doesn’t really mean diddly squat. And by the way, math is not my strong suit.
So, I’ve had to learn strategize – play a good offense as well as defense, which also means holding back some seemingly amazing word plays to avoid setting up my opponent for an even bigger score. And I’ve never been one to hold back my words. It’s quite the challenge.
But odder is going nose-to-nose with “friends” and having it turn contemptuous. I’m even learning to trash-talk. Is it any big surprise my mouth writes checks my ultimate gaming skills can’t cash because sometimes I’ve got such a great word to flout that the numbers just be darned?
The makers of the game got the name all wrong because once you get going it’s Math with Enemies not Words with Friends, but I’m counting down the minutes until I get to play again.
© 2012 Natalie Whatley