Strategy Guide

Words With Friends by Zynga is a mobile word game a lot like Scrabble and now you can play against friends anywhere. The game takes place on a digital board for up to 20 simultaneous games.

Play against friends or random players in a turn-based word game for points. Download the app to play Words With Friends on your smartphone or tablet. Or play online at or Facebook. At the end of the game highest score wins!


To start a game you have 7 letters to create a word with at least one tile placed on the center star. Each new word formed must share at least one tile of a pre-existing word. Each letter has it’s own value that can be multiplied by the colored squares. Words can be formed horizontally or vertically and it is possible to create multiple words with the same turn. You must create a word, swap letters, or pass each turn.

The Board

GameboardThe board is 15 x 15 with 61 colored squares which includes the center star square where game play begins. Colored squares on the board each have additional values and some colored squares can multiply total word scores.

Red: Double Word Score
Orange: Triple Word Score
Blue: Double Letter Score
Green: Triple Letter Score 

Letters & Scoring

There are 104 letter tiles in each game and generally vowels have lower point values than consonants.  There are 2 blank tiles that carry no point value, while blank tiles carry no point value they can become any letter you wish.

Letters values range from 1 point for A, E, I, O, R, S, and T up to 10 points for J, Q, and Z. Each word is scored separately, including bonuses, and the total score is the sum all of the new words together. Earn a 35 point bonus for using all 7 of your tiles for any word.

  • A=9
  • B=2
  • C=2
  • D=5
  • E=13
  • F=2
  • G=3
  • H=4
  • I=8
  • J=1
  • K=1
  • L=4
  • M=2
  • N=5
  • O=8
  • P=2
  • Q=1
  • R=6
  • S=5
  • T=7
  • U=4
  • V=2
  • W=2
  • X=1
  • Y=2
  • Z=1
  • Blank Tile=2

  • 13=E
  • 9=A
  • 8=I  O
  • 7=T
  • 6=R
  • 5=D  N  S
  • 4=H  L  U
  • 3=G
  • 2=B  C  F  M  P  V  W Y
  • 1=J K Q X  Z
  • 2=Blanks

  • 10=J Q Z
  • 8=X
  • 5=K V
  • 4=B C F M P W
  • 3=G H Y
  • 2=D N L U
  • 1=A E I O R S T
  • 0=Blank

The game ends when the first person uses up all their tiles and there are no additional shared tiles available. Letters still held by the opposing player at the end of the game are counted against their score. In the event of a tie the player with the highest score at the beginning of the last turn wins.

High Scoring Words

Improve your Words With Friends strategy by familiarizing yourself with the common 2 letter and 3 letter words. On occasion a well placed “ZA” can get you out of a jam and a decent score. The highest scoring 2 letter words are:

  • ZA, JO, QI – 11 points
  • XU – 10 points
  • AX, EX, OX, XI – 9 points

Letters Q, Z, and J are all 10 point letters, here are common Q WordsZ Words, and J Words.

Strategy and Tips

Words can intersect with other words on the board. Create multi-word combinations to build higher scores. The letter S can be a great for multi-word combinations. Add an S to the end of many words to make it plural while using the S to start, end, or be part of a new word on the board.

Maintain an even mix of vowels and consonants, of the 104 tiles in the game there are 44 vowels and 58 consonants. A balance of letters will provide more opportunity in choosing words to play and avoid holding onto uncommon duplicate consonants.

Don’t make it easy for your opponent to get high scoring words and try to use every triple or double word score to your advantage. With the right letters those point multiplies can easily decide a game winner.

25 Responses to “Strategy Guide”

  1. Elaine M. Rogers July 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    Would not accept "aflex" — aflex – A Lex-like scanner generator that produce Ada output from IRUS (Irvine Research Unit in Software).

  2. Will Simon November 13, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    doesn't accept racial slurs. kinda annoying. a word is a word and I would have creamed my gf if I could have used 1.

    • Lauren August 8, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

      Nah, a word is not just a word. The words we choose reflect our values and attitudes.

  3. Nan K. Wiggins January 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Would not accept "asiago" nor "oz". Frustrating!!!!!!!!

  4. Teddy Hammonds Sublett February 10, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    My game is hung up. I play on a Samsung tablet. Put new email address in and now Words will not accept it. Done everything I can think of. Miss playing it. Any ideas?

  5. Sandi Butler February 10, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    My game refuses to acknowledge a friend I have been playing with for some time now. It was working fine until the last update. How can this be fixed?

    • Ellen Taylor December 21, 2013 at 2:24 am #

      Words with friends is not working, it just stopped a few minutes ago why?

  6. Carol Eller February 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    Keeps saying "not a valid tile placement" when I know these are the correct words.

    • Sandi Butler February 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

      "not a valid placement" usually means we are trying to place letters in two different directions in order to form a valid word

  7. Carol Eller February 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    Does not accept "cards" playing off the "d" in lead. Will not let me play any words.

  8. Judy Krull Zastrow March 18, 2013 at 2:48 am #

    Having problems with the game connecting..sometimes it does and other times the wheel just turns and turns with the game not coming up :(

  9. Patti Smart Bateman July 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    Reset your iPad or iPhone if you're playing on one of these devices. Turn it completely off, then back on again.

  10. Diana Gerard February 20, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

    Will not accept hadj and it is listed as a WWF word.

  11. Ellen Jojola February 28, 2014 at 2:38 am #

    I love the game, but time and again it will not allow perfectly good words and/or perfectly good placement. FRUSTRATING!!!

    • Mary Drew February 9, 2015 at 3:30 am #

      I agree! Other times it accepts words that aren’t words.. Incorrect spelling!!!

    • Mary Drew February 9, 2015 at 3:30 am #

      I agree! Other times it accepts words that aren’t words.. Incorrect spelling!!!

  12. Etta Withers May 23, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    I’m at the end of a game. Score is: Me 434; opponent 224. I have one V tile left that I cannot play. I passed once. Do I keep passing or do I resign? What happens in the scoring if I keep passing or resign? Thanks ew

  13. Joyce October 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    would not accept tweet or retweet

  14. rob October 27, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Would not allow the word Jew either

  15. Cheryl December 15, 2014 at 4:52 am #

    I just started playing words with friends about a month ago. My brother is always winning. I do think know if he’s cheating. I’m really aggravated with him. He even beats his wife. He lives in Buffalo and I live in Cleveland. What do I do? I’ve read articles on winning words with friends. Is there a free download words with friends dictionary?

  16. Lynn December 18, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    Why won’t the game accept cheese names, like asiago or gouda? It’s food! I also hate it won’t take oz.

  17. Marianne January 5, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    How does swapping letters effect your average?

  18. Donna April 19, 2015 at 1:21 am #

    A solo game has frozen up on me. It keeps coming up as my turn however my word was the last played.

  19. Jan Voelz April 24, 2015 at 3:23 am #

    When playing offline for practice, solo play will pull from hidden unused letters to make a word. I do not seem to be able to do the same. Is there a way to do this without swapping letters and losing a turn? Solo play does not seem to lose a turn when doing this.

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