Caesium. Unless you’re a chemist, you might comfortably live your entire lifetime without encountering that word—unless, of course, you play Words with Friends. CAESIUM was the word that Zyngawf fielded a couple of days ago, laying the “S” on top of the existing word QUIRTS to make SQUIRTS, for a cool 71 points. Drat! Outmaneuvered again.
Zyngawf is the Words with Friends moniker of one of the folks with whom I regularly play. At the moment, I have six games in progress—one with him, another with Inthesticks and two each with Iggypop and Boomergirl.
These friends have taught me a lot about Words with Friends by example, especially Zyngawf and Inthesticks. Both are experienced players. Inthesticks, especially, loves to win and so, I’ve discovered, do I. Indeed, I didn’t realize how competitive I really was until I began playing with Inthesticks. I’d much rather lose to Zyngawf. He’s such a gentleman that he once apologized for netting 121 points with LAXATIVE on a triple-word spot.
I’m late to Words with Friends, having begun playing only about six or eight months ago. A friend came over one day and, in true 21st-century fashion, we sat in my living room talking while noodling around on our devices—my iPad, her iPhone.
Hey, she said. Do you play Words with Friends? And so we each downloaded the game on the spot and began playing, ignoring my husband’s sensible suggestion that we simply set up the Scrabble board. He and I used to play Scrabble all the time. For years we had an ongoing game, playing at least once a week, sometimes more. We each won about half the time. I knew more words but he played more strategically.
But Words with Friends was different, as I soon found out. I couldn’t seem to get the hang of it and I found the losses humbling. “You don’t have the killer instinct—yet,” Inthesticks advised. Playing with her and Zyngawf soon sharpened my skills. Now I even beat them once in a while. Other times, I groan at their uncanny ability to land the big points—the CAESIUM thing.
Boomergirl is about where I was six months ago. She makes words all right, but she doesn’t play the double and triple squares advantageously. More important, she leaves triple-score openings for me. SCREWED, I put down the other day, for 46 points. That’s for sure, Boomergirl retorted. And so I repeated what Inthesticks once told me: “If you leave me a triple spot, you can be sure I will take it.”
Sometimes my husband looks over my shoulder when I’m playing Words with Friends and even helps with the occasional move. I’ve urged him to download the app to his own iPad, so that we could play a game—together, yet alone in our own little screens.
No way, he says. Where’s the Scrabble board? But since I started playing Words with Friends, we just haven’t done taken it out.