It need not always be about sharpening your vocabulary; though that helps. Word games can be just fun. And when you introduce competitive game play against others in the digital Wild West of the web, the adrenalin surge is a bit more. No more relaxed word plays on a grid – with Scramble with Friends you have to go against the clock and against your opponents, in an arena that’s a jumbled up grid of words.
Scramble with Friends is an Android game (and also iOS) that has an ad-supported free version and an ad-free paid version ($0.99). I recently tried out the paid version. After a few rounds, I am back here with this write-up, a word-numbed brain and one sore finger with “burn” marks. The game is fast paced.
Scramble with Friends Is a Zynga Game
Remember Zynga and Farmville? They are pretty well entrenched in the social games scene. Things might have got diluted with Facebook a bit, but Zynga is a name to be reckoned with for their popular games on all platforms. Words with Friends is another one you might have played online before this. Scramble with Friends is similar but unlike the almost Scrabble like board of the former, you have a jumbled grid of words here.
Nearly all word games owe their craze to Scrabble, so if you love one to one face-offs over a board of letters, you will hopefully like Scramble with Friends too.
Rules of Scramble with Friends – Simple Really!
The basic game play is this – challenge your friends in 3, two-minute rounds…the player with the highest score wins. Scramble with Friends allows you to play over the web with strangers or your Facebook friends. You can log-in with Facebook or open an account. But be mindful of this screen which controls your Facebook updates:
When you are settled in and looking to start a game, choose from the three options as shown in the screen below. The second option of Smart Match is obviously random and may need you to go through some wait times as you don’t know if the unknown opponent across the board is really interested to play or not.
You get to go first in any case, and presented with a jumbled grid of clocks. Remember, there’s a clock ticking away to a two-minute countdown in the background. Drag your finger across the tiles in any direction to connect the tiles and make up regular legal words. Word lengths and letter points (rarer letters have more points) matter, so have a go at it with a strategic vision. You can’t cheat because the game is intelligent enough!
Note, the tips offered in the screen below. The word tiles have small indications on them that show their value. Just like Scrabble, you have to be a word virtuoso to combine the best for the most.
Here’s how it looks like after your turn is over. You can review it all word-by word as you wait for the opponent to show up at the “board’. You can see the total number of possible word combinations (330 in the screen below), and the little field for an in-game chat.
The winner is the one who can rack up the most points over three rounds. My friend has beaten me hollow. Apart from the waiting time for the other player to show up and play his round, each game can be done within 12 minutes flat.
Here’s a tip from me after losing quite a few battles. Use the Power-ups while you can. Don’t waste them. Power-ups are like game handicaps and can really be useful when you are running out of time. Everything is fair in love, war, and online games after all!
The Game Is Addictive (So What If I Lost!)
Fast paced and addictive are two words we usually bandy about. But it is so. Scramble with Friends is my favorite time-waster right now, till I try something else. The greedy guy in me though wants a few other things besides the features on offer. It would be great to have an option to play against the device (like Jambalaya), especially for those times when one can’t find someone to play against or you are offline. One solution is to play against multiple opponents at the same time, but that also does not ensure continuity or an offline situation.
The second peeve – presently, there’s no way to know if the opponent is using power-ups. I wish there was an indication.
The third and final peeve – tokens. Each game costs one token (the gold coins). You have 16 to begin with and playing a game (or using more than one power-up) costs tokens. If you run out you have to wait for a while or do an in-app purchase even if you have bought the paid game. C’mon Zynga!
The three minor peeves aside, Scramble with Friends is a smooth time crunching game that might help you to shut up your friends with words. We have put it up on our Best Android Games page because our friends said it’s worth it. Try it and come back here to the comments and give us a few choice words about your favorite word game on the Android or iOS.