I also am a voracious Sudoku player (sans the marketing plan, of course.... Plus there’s only so far my brain will follow the “logic” path!).
I like playing Sudoku because it’s low tech. You need the puzzle (book or newspaper), a pencil or pen, and some light. (And your brain.) I’ve always avoided online games because I didn’t want to get caught up in yet another “thing” that keeps me attached to a screen.
But that all changed during my vacation to North Carolina back in September. My vacation buddy (my oldest, closest friend for more than a couple decades), was playing Words with Friends (FB’s version of Scrabble) and said, “You should try it. I think you’ll really enjoy it!”
(Edit for correction: I'm told the game IS Scrabble...that's how much I don't know about online games. But I still like the "weird" play on words! Now back to the matter at hand.)
She knows me well. It has become my latest obsession.
Like Jannine, it took me a bit to understand how to be successful. Basically it boils down to putting the highest point letters in odd/bizarre combinations that no one who is fluent in English would come up with on his/her own.
I discovered this fact not playing with my friend, but with the computer! (She suggested I try it because there is a “teacher” who can suggest ways you could have improved your score.)
The “teacher” will give you feedback on every word you play.
The best is: Incredible! I couldn’t do any better!
(It’s amazing how you can feel appreciated by a machine. And, it’s amazing how some of the shortest words can score the highest points!)
The next level down is: Superb! The best word is only a few points better.
I’m usually happy with that, and sometimes I’ll smack myself on the head when I realize I missed an easy extra couple of points.
At the next level down – Good work. But there is some room for improvement – is where it starts getting ridiculous. I mean, take a look at one of my plays.
My word was JUNTA. I was impressed with myself considering my letters were: J-N-T-A-E-K-E. Plus there was a Q in play and I had no U!
Here's what "Teacher" came up with:
JAUK??? ... Seriously???
What the $#&@(*! is "JAUK"?
(For the curious among you, it is an intransitive verb of Scottish origin meaning to dally or dawdle. Now you know.)
Anyway, "Teacher" scored 31 points on that word no one ever heard of, while I scored a measly 14 on a perfectly respectable word (JUNTA). And I still prefer mine.
Moving on... when you have really failed, “Teacher” will say:
OK, I guess. But how about this word?
Uh....no, I had NOT thought of that word actually. In fact, I've never seen, read or heard of that word. Ever. Are you sure it's a word, Teacher? It looks more like a grunt to me!
Half the time when I score big, I’m just picking letters at random and trying them out! I have no idea (1) that they’re words or (2) what they might mean!
But I am having fun. Sometimes I get a chuckle. Like look at this grouping of the tiles I had to play.
I was singing Old McDonald Had a Farm in my head for a whole day. (You’re welcome.)
Some other interesting words you might note:
ADZ: I mean, would you ever have known that ‘ADZ’ is a word much less ‘ADZES’? (Adz: a variant of the more common "adze"--duh!--which is a cutting tool.)
CAF: According to Mirriam-Webster, it stands for "Cost and Freight" which is NOT supposed to be an allowable word because abbreviations are not permitted! No fair!
And how about CHIAO? (I'm too tired to even look.)
I finally printed out a list of words with Q but without a U.
You might see why I’ve decided to rename the game WEIRD WORDS WITH FRIENDS.
If you haven’t yet, give it a try. You’ll exponentially expand your vocabulary of words that no one else would ever know!
When not scouring her brain for words with X, J and Q, Leah attempts to write fiction with romance and suspense. Learn more at her website, LeahStJames.com. Occasionally she retweets poetry on Twitter or posts recipes she’ll never actually try on Pinterest. Happy November!