Part I – Basic Tactics – Words With Friends

Target audience:

  • Casual player with 5 or fewer simultaneous games
  • Enjoys making words and chatting with friends
  • Wants a decent score but isn’t highly focused on having the highest score
  • Has played few games and understands the basic mechanics of the game


Avoid placing a vowel beside or below a DL, TL, DW, or TW (as much as possible).

Avoid Vowels under TL Avoid Vowels over TW Avoid Vowels next to DL

Know the big scoring letters, and use them well:  J, Q, X and Z

  • Don’t hold these for long as they take up space on your rack.
  • It’s imperative to know the two letter combinations for these letters because it’s a likely placement.

Word placement is often more important than the word itself.

  • Rookie mistake:  A big word isn’t always a big scorer, especially if it allows the competition to take advantage of a DW or TW.

Tile Misplacement - 1

Know the math.

  • Making two words from a DL or TL doubles the DL/TL.

Poor use of math Good use of math

Know the specialty rules!

  • Bingo – 35 point bonus for using all 7 of your tiles in one play
    • In almost all cases, it pays to play a bingo regardless of the resulting defensive stance.
    • Bingos are much more common in the first half of the game due to the amount of open tiles.
  • End of game scoring
    • Most close games are determined by who empties their rack first.
    • The player to go out first receives points equal to the opposing player’s remaining rack, while the opposing player loses the same amount of point. (i.e. The opposing player’s tiles are worth 2X to you.)
    • Get rid of any J, Q, X, or Z when 15 or fewer letters remain.

Other Posts

Part I – Basic Tactics
Part II – Intermediate Play 
Part III – Intermediate Play (cont)
Part IV – Advanced Strategy
Part V – Hard Core Tactics

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