How Words With Friends Stole Christmas

I have read so many posts these last few days about favorite books of 2011. Every time, it reminds me of two things: 1) I clearly follow bloggers aligned with my interests if they all love to read as much as I do, and 2) I kind of forgot to read this year.

When I left for our trip to Ohio to spend Christmas with JB’s family last week, I was so excited for the new books I had downloaded onto my Kindle. I even promised a review of them when we returned in my last post.

Well, we’re back. And unless you want to hear about the first third of The Art of Fielding, I got nothing for you.

There are many parties to blame for this, none of which are me, of course. First, there is Martha Stewart. The winter edition of her Weddings magazine had hit the stands and it basically jumped out of the airport bookstore into my bag. So most of the flight to Cleveland was spent reading about crafty wedding DIY projects that I will never DIY.

The next excuse is fuel for the fire of the e-Reader vs. traditional book debate. Halfway through our trip, I knocked my Kindle off the couch (consuming a mixture of wine, chocolate, nuts and cookies between meals will make you kind of clumsy). It fell onto carpet, but for whatever reason, it damaged the screen. I tried to read on the Kindle app on my iPhone, but it’s not very practical for long-term use.

So I was left with no option. After a couple  of days of watching JB and other family members of his stare down at their phones instead of each other as they searched for two-letter words that no one has ever heard of but somehow add up to 54 points, I wanted in on the Words with Friends action.Scrabble Points Throw Pillow

I had defiantly denied requests to join this mobile game. My main reason being that I didn’t want my friends to see what a limited vocabulary I possessed. Many people assume because I like to read and write or because I have a journalism degree, that I must have a generous grasp of the English language.

But I don’t. I’m frequently using a thesarus to sound smarter. And it actually wasn’t in my journalism studies when I noticed this, but rather in graduate school for my counseling degree. You do a lot of reflecting of emotions in counseling sessions, saying back to the client what they were emoting, but using a different word for that emotion (so it’s not parroting) and ideally, a word with deeper meaning that maybe the client was having a hard time expressing or realizing on his/her own. And while I role-played with classmates, I always struggled to find another word for “happy” or “sad” or “surprised” or “disappointed.” Or the word I often defaulted to — “frustrated.”

All this to say that since then, I have been very cognizant of my not-so-way with words. And I didn’t want to play with Words with Friends and expose myself to the three friends who had asked me whole world.

But as it turns out, Words with Friends has NOTHING to do with vocabulary! Or being smart. Or knowing what words are at all. It is all about trying every combination you can with the letters you have to find a word that includes a triple letter or double word tile. I probably recognize only 60 percent of the words I play, but man it feels good when the “sending move” screen comes on and you know your word has been accepted. Fifty points for “Xi” — awesome! Just don’t ask me to use it in a sentence.

JB’s father kept saying we all looked like 19-year-olds with our heads buried in our phones playing the game against each other. I think he was being generous by giving us 19 instead of 12, but it did take over the week. I’m still cutting my teeth on the game so I’m only playing JB (and another player whose screen name is one-off from JB and I accidentally started a game with him). JB had to go back to work today and his moves became very infrequent. It was so annoying.

Yep, I’m hooked.

Are there any mobile games that you are addicted to? Anything “take over” your holidays? Did you know “neif” was a word? (For the record, WordPress did not).


17 responses to “How Words With Friends Stole Christmas

  1. What’s your words with friends name? 🙂 I am mereein!

  2. Hahaha words with friends and hanging with friends has been how I’ve kept in contact with some of my friends in recent weeks. Funny

    • Thanks for visiting the blog Afsal! I haven’t tried Hanging with Friends yet, but I’m sure I will get to it and I will be forever attached to the phone (as if I wasn’t already).

  3. I have not succumbed to any word games or the like, and so far have not even joined Pinterest because I know if I do, I’m a gonner. I do spend a lot of time on my laptop though. My book reading has dropped off considerably in the last 2 years since i got my laptop and especially since I started blogging. This is not good.

    • Good for you for being able to resist! I was really addicted to Pinterest when I first joined, especially for wedding stuff, but my interest in it has kind of waned. I don’t cook, decorate or do crafty projects, so it doesn’t have a lot to offer me (or me to it!). I guess it’s just about figuring out how we balance reading with all of the other things going on in life. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. I have never gotten into the games on phones yet. Not sure why. Probably because I’d get hooked! By the way, I’d jump off the plane for the Martha Stewart Wedding magazine. That was one of the best parts of being engaged. Then there came Martha Stewart Baby. So much to look forward to! Happy New Year!

  5. oh snap!! we’re hooked on wwf! send me a game. deborahgrace09. woop woop! 🙂

  6. There are probably other meanings but I do know that ‘Xi’ is a Greek letter. I was in Alpha Xi Delta in college. Lol! Never thought to use it in words with friends though. Thanks!

  7. Caryn, I too feel guilty about not reading a lot more. For a while now I’ve been considering getting a Kindle, but after reading how your screen broke after only a drop to the floor, I don’t know. I mean, I’m really clumsy, so does that mean the life expectancy of my Kindle will be shorter? Not good considering they’re not as cheap as I’d like them to be! hee hee! I’m not a fan of mobile games but now that I’ve read you’re hooked on yours, I will definitely have to check it out! Happy New Year! 🙂

    • Hi Bella! Yes, I was surprised by the screen breaking on my Kindle as well from one drop. It makes me think perhaps something else happened (it’s possible it fell on my phone – I knocked over a lot of things!), but regardless, it was a little disappointing. I guess that’s why you are supposed to keep it in a case. Oops! Thanks for reading. Happy New Year to you too!

  8. If I admit to being obsessed with a game on facebook I fear it will make me look *really* dumb. LOL. For the record I have dropped my kindle repeatedly without any issue but it is in a case for a little added safety (and because I’m very clumsy). The other thing is that, on my kindle touch, I can play word games. Not WWF but games against myself. So I might look like I’m reading (and often I am), but I’m often trying to figure out what word goes in that slot!

    • Thank you for visiting the blog and for your comment! I think in these days, there is no shame admitting you are obsessed with a mobile or Facebook game — and that’s maybe not a good thing! I agree that it’s seems weird that my Kindle would break after just that fall. Perhaps there was something else going on. I always have it in its case, but of course not that time. Oh well, luckily, the base model of the Kindle is pretty cheap now. I like the idea of playing these games on an e-Reader — no one has to know you are not just absorbed in a book. Brilliant!!

  9. Another way to be a consistent winner with Words with Friends (without cheating) is to track tiles. If you know you have the last A, you can dangle a very simply word like JAR just below the TW score and enjoy the long pause as your opponent seeks desperately to fill that blank that only you can fill (only AJAR will work)!
    Tracking tiles is a mainstay of serious players who until now have been stuck with paper and pencil (and patience), but now there’s an app that calculates and tracks all the letters for you in an easy, fun and intuitive way: TileCounter (iTunes). It even alerts you to key strategic tiles for your consideration. If you’re smart, not necessarily a wordsmith, and NOT a cheater, you might like this one.

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