Many of us love a word game. They can be an exciting, challenging and fun way to pass time online or with loved ones. In fact, word games are some of the most popular downloads on app stores, while Scrabble is often listed in the top 10 board games of all time. Word games also offer a chance to use our brains, with studies showing that solving anagrams and playing word games help stimulate the language and word-finding parts of our brains, which forces the brain to exercise and be active. So, if they’re so fun and good for you, how do you make sure you win? Well, we’ve compiled a list of tricks and tips to help you win and dominate word games like a pro. Read on to find out more.
Try A Word Unscrambling Tool
Whether you are playing online or in board game format, you can utilize technology to help you get ahead of the game when you are feeling stuck. Using an unscramble helper can show you words and patterns you just hadn’t been able to spot in your letters. All you have to do is enter the letters you are working with, and these clever tools will present you with an array of anagrams hidden within your letters. Now we know some of your friends might call this cheating, but when you’re really stuck it can be a nice boost. Plus, if you’re playing online no-one’s going to know you have had a quick peek at an unscrambling tool, are they? Some of these tools even show you exactly how many points each word is worth. How useful!
Here’s a common mistake people make when playing scrabble or similarly-formatted word games: they go for big points without thinking about their opponent’s next move. Now, we know that you can’t see your opponent’s letters, but you certainly can see what potential moves you’re leaving on the board. For example, you might think your long 30-point word is going to win you the game. But, what if that word leaves a triple word square open and in play? Your opponent is almost certainly going to try and find a word to hit that triple square straight away! Sometimes it’s better to be tactical and defensive, blocking off potential power moves from your opponent before they even get the chance to make them. Even if you’re playing a family game, you have to be tactical to try and win. Just like chess, try and think a few words ahead.
Use Short Words
The way to win scrabble is to come up with amazing long words full of rare letters, right? Well yes, sometimes! But, did you know that often, utilizing smaller words can actually be a winner’s technique? Often, we leave out the small words and spend ages trying to find something longer. Playing small words quickly and often can lead to a more quick rise in your overall score. Plus, the more often you are putting squares down, the more often you will hit bonus squares. Of course, if you spot a long word and can hit a bonus tile with it, then go for it! But don’t be afraid to play the small stuff and keep racking up those points.
Hit Those Bonus Squares
As we have just briefly mentioned, scrabble – and similar games – contain word bonus point squares. In Scrabble, these are double or triple word tiles, and double or triple letter tiles. Obviously, these can be super dangerous, especially if you manage to land a rare, high-scoring letter such as X or Z on a triple letter tile. Basically, our advice here is the exact opposite of the tactical advise above! What we mean is, always keep these special squares in mind, and look out for ways that your opponent could be leaving them open and available for attack. Simply, use them as much as possible, and don’t let your opponent near them. If only it were that easy…
Learn Rare Words
Often when playing with someone more experienced than you, they’ll play a word to cries of you shouting “THAT’S not a real word!” But, they are right. It is a word, leaving you confused. How on earth do they know that ‘xi’ is a real English language word? In fact, many word game players spend a lot of time learning these clever rare words as they can help you get out of a bind quickly. Learning words that contain a Q but no U, for example, can help you play that pesky letter quickly instead of waiting for 7 more rounds for a U to land in your deck. Similarly, learning rarer words that contain X, J, Z, and Y can help you use these high-scoring letters much faster and for more points.
Shuffle Your Letters
Here we have one of the oldest tricks in the book. Playing word games is all about finding patterns within the letters, leading you to words. Sometimes all it takes for our brains to see these patterns is to shuffle our letters. Suddenly, you spot that you have had a nice word sitting there all along. Often, online word games have a quick shuffle feature for you making this easier, whereas with tabletop board games this can be a slower process. Either way, give it a try, it’s definitely worth a shot.
Find Prefixes and Suffixes
Finally, a great tip for getting points on the board is to look for prefixes and suffixes on already-played words. For example, so many words can have ‘ing’ popped on the end, giving you almost a free turn. The other benefit of this is that you also get the points from the original word as well as your suffix added on. It’s even more of a bonus if your prefix or suffix crosses a double or triple word square, too.
With these top tips, you should quickly find your game improving, scores increasing, and wins occurring more regularly. You’ll amaze your friends pulling rare words out of the bag whilst dropping them on a bonus square. The more you play and practice these tactics, the better you will get. Good luck word-gaming!