Top Scores in Words With Friends
In the absence of a dedicated tool for tracking high scores, we've had to rely on the sometimes questionable self-reporting of gamers online. There are several claimants for highest score in Words With Friends, but the scores consistently fall between 4,000 and 5,000 points.
Feeling disheartened? Don't. Those 4,000 to 5,000 point games have something in common that your weekly challenges don't: an opponent who isn't an opponent. Four-digit Words With Friends scores are generally the result of both players working together to achieve maximum pointage. In effect, they're playing a different game than you are, a co-op challenge dedicated to producing the highest possible points for one player.
Collaborating for Big Word Plays
For example, the widely acknowledged best possible Scrabble word, oxyphenbutazone, is often the backbone of top-scoring Words With Friends games. The word has never been played in competitive Scrabble and, barring divine intervention, it never will be. It's way too long to plausibly play, and for peak impact, it needs to be played across three, count 'em, three triple word scores.
Unless your opponent has taken a sharp blow to the head recently, they're not going to let that happen. Also, it's not possible to span three triple word scores in Words With Friends, only in Scrabble, as the board layouts are slightly different.
To be clear, there's nothing wrong with collaborating in Words With Friends. It's your game; play however you want. But if you want to score high in actual, competitive Words With Friends, there are lessons to be learned from the collaborators.
What's a Good Words With Friends Score?
When seeking answers from the Words With Friends elders, many players begin with a perfectly reasonable question: "What's a good Words With Friends score?" Such a quester after knowledge might even add nuance to the query, asking what constitutes a good score for a beginner, an experienced player, and an expert.
Unfortunately, for nuance, the answer to all three is the same: "It depends."
As a rule, games average between 300 and 500 points, but that has less to do with expert individual play than the game's score threshold and the random aspects of which letters you get and when. Eking out 300 points against a master who fights you for every square might be a triumph. Breaking 500 against some uninterested kid killing time in detention could be routine.
Look at Average Score Instead
If you want to get good, don't look at high scores. Look at averages.
Above all else, average word score, which Words With Friends conveniently tracks, will tell you how well you're doing, not in one lucky game or a single losing streak, but across the game as a whole. The top scorers know that: they keep lists of high scoring words to work into their endless slog toward oxyphenbutazone.
Thankfully, so do we. Strive to average 30 points per word. That's where the pros live.
Work on Area Control
Obviously, if you're playing conventional competitive Words With Friends, your opponent has no intention of helping you. Quite the opposite. Good for them. They're still gonna help though.
Words With Friends does more than test your vocabulary. In fact, since it checks your words before they're played, it's not really a vocab game at all. It's all about area control.
Instead of looking at Boggle or crossword puzzles, look at chess or go. Piggyback on your opponent's plays, not just to score more points, but to lock up areas of the board so only you can play on a given set of bonuses. Using area control strategies turns your opponent into your unwilling assistant, giving you a foundation on which to build big plays.
Keep Track of Letter Tiles
There are 104 letters in a standard game of Words With Friends, with a combined face value of 220 points. We counted. You should too.
Once again, look to a non-word game for your strategy: poker. Serious stud and hold 'em players run odds and possibilities in their heads, using what they know from the face-up cards and their own hands to work out a best guess of which cards are where. Do likewise in Words With Friends. Use the above link to memorize the frequency and value of the letters in Words With Friends. Once you do, you'll be able to play multiple steps in advance, because you'll know what letters are coming.
Ultimately, no one number is the measure of success in Words With Friends. Anyone can have a hot or cold streak. Real mastery is about knowing the tiles and the board so well that every play you make delivers the maximum possible points.
You can do that and still lose: WWF is, in part, a game of luck. But, you'll still have done the best possible job you could have, and when you (digitally) shake hands at the end of the game, you'll know - not think, but know - that you could have won if the draw had gone your way. Better yet, when you win, you'll know it's because you were the better player. That's a feeling worth working for.
Matt Salter has been a professional writer for over 10 years. He is a gaming and technology expert, and world-class word nerd.