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Words with Friends is an addicting app

Words are friends, that's for sure. I just finished reading Mitch Albom in the morning paper. We call him Mitch, like he is a friend of the family. Everyone enjoys what he has to say. The other day, Mitch wrote about the WWF (Words with Friends) app that people are playing worldwide with old friends, relatives, neighbors and colleagues.

I have more than a few words to say about this app. One of the best things about it is that the game requires real words with all of the letters intact. No text abbreviations. Of course, maybe this is best appreciated by people of a certain age. When I asked my 25-year-old grandson if he liked WWF, he shook his head negative.

I was always a Scrabble fan, but we don't have time for board games anymore. This electronic version keeps many of us who are alone at times from being bored.

I play on a Kindle and most of my challengers play on their phone. I am happy for the bigger screen. I have a long list on the device tallying wins and losses. I have lost most -- which means many -- games. Just once did I beat my brother, who is usually 200 points ahead of me. My sister is a top scorer and my daughter is queen of the word castle in our family. Nevertheless, I am hooked.

Some of the nuances: I contemplate what my next move might be and invariably the other guy steals my spot before I can build a word there. Sometimes I have a word all set in my mind, but my brain fails to note I am missing a necessary vowel. Sometimes you have whole words in front of you spelled out by the tiles, but there is nowhere to put them on the grid.

There are tips online for playing WWF and I understand there are also ways to cheat. That seems to defy the purpose to me. I find myself not so much worrying about my score or trying to beat my opponent as trying to be clever by filling in the middle blanks to build my own crossword puzzle. If I get only eight points but have found a spot to build multiple words, I am smug.

Another upside is learning new words. Those two-letter words or words that begin with Q without the U, like Qi and Qat. I suffer rejection constantly, being told by the computer that "Sorry, [blank] is not an acceptable word." I think they are wrong sometimes until I realize it is my spelling error.

Mitch called the game a time vampire and it can be. My daughter Kelly told me she reaches for her WWF before her book at times, and that is something because she and I have a need to read.

I find it to be a motivator of sorts. If I am feeling down or tired or lazy, I can grab the tablet and play for a few minutes to catch up. Then I am on my way, feeling refreshed. I save the longer sessions for evenings, and alternate with reading or playing during commercials while watching TV. When I check to see if it is my turn, I get excited to see how many games I can participate in.

And the very best thing about this app? It is a connection. You can use the keyboard to send messages to your opponent. The app tells you when a player last created a word, so I can see what time people were playing. Usually my last words are "nighty night" to my friends.


Pat Webdale, who lives in Fredonia, likes to play WWF with her friends and family.