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Games with friends aren’t about the competition. They are a catalyst to deepen those ties. And as long as you and your friends can speak English, addictive word games serve as a lovely way to build bonds while having fun.
Given that you can now play most games on your phone or tablet, it’s even easier to keep in touch and play a game when you aren’t around each other. But that infernal wall between Android and iOS often plays spoilsport. Where’s Letterpress for Android to play with my Apple-hating friend? And how do I compete in a game of Word Weasel on my iPad?
Thankfully, there are a few word games that work on both Android and iOS, letting friends catch up and compete. Here are our favourites, all of which have a few things in common:
- They are asynchronous multiplayer games, so that means you play a turn and wait for your friend to play theirs, at a convenient time.
- Apart from creating in-game accounts, they all let you hook up your Facebook account and find your friends.
- They are all free, although you can buy paid versions to remove ads or add features.
- They are incredibly addictive and you will end up wasting a lot of time on them, possibly also giving your friends the choicest of expletives in the process.
Ruzzle takes the timeless game of Boggle and gives it a digital twist. For those unfamiliar with Boggle, you get a 4×4 grid of letters, each worth a few points. Going horizontally, vertically or diagonally, you have to make words by connecting the letters, but no tile can be used twice in the same word. With a time limit of 2 minutes, you have to make as many words as possible.
Ruzzle amps it up by introducing Scrabble-like 2xLetter, 3xLetter, 2xWord and 3xWord tiles, which give you more points when used. It’s a 2-player asynchronous game, in which a match has three rounds, with a new grid in each. Adding up your total points at the end of the three rounds decides the winner — so just in case you did badly in one round, you can still catch up!
There’s another similar game, Scramble With Friends, but Ruzzle has the better interface and keeps it simpler, while Scramble introduces elements like power-ups.
Words With Friends
If you had a blast playing Scrabble with your friends at a party, then take it to your mobile with Words With Friends, a turn-by-turn digital incarnation of the classic game. Zynga’s version sticks to the basics of the original Scrabble, but introduce a few changes. First, it’s a one-on-one game and you don’t get to play with four friends at a time. Second, the grid of the board has changed slightly, but it still holds the usual squares like 2xLetter, 3xLetter, 2xWord and 3xWord.
In each round, you will have a total of seven tiles, with each letter worth certain points. Make the best word possible given the existing board and win. You can buy power-ups like the Vision tile to get hints on the words you can make. And weekly Leaderboard competitions give general challenges to let you compete against all your friends and see who’s the best.
One word of advice? If you like this game, buy the $1.99 ‘No ads’ upgrade — the ads are very annoying, not to mention being data and battery hogs.
Wordly – The Word Game [No Longer Available]
It’s a pity that Letterpress isn’t on Android because it’s one of the most addictive word games on iOS. However, there is a clone that works on both platforms. Meet Wordly. It’s a shameless ripoff, but it does try to introduce at least one new element.
The premise of the game is just like Letterpress. In a 5×5 grid of letters, you are Blue and your opponent is Red. Use any letters to make a word, and they turn into your colour. If your opponent uses the same tiles, they become his colour. To ‘capture’ a tile so that it doesn’t change colour when your opponent uses it, you have to own all of its surrounding tiles too. When all the tiles are used, the game ends and whoever owns more tiles is the winner.
The only difference from Letterpress is the introduction of ‘Wild Tiles’, which are non-grid tiles that you can use to form words, although they don’t count towards the number of tiles you own.
If you are playing any of these games and want to ensure your friends aren’t cheating to get ahead, there are a few ways you can find out. And if you don’t like word games, there are other asynchronous multiplayer games you can play with friends.
So tell us, what are your favourite cross platform word games to play with pals? Are there any single-player titles you like and wish there was multiplayer to challenge your buddies?