Scrabble GO vs. Words With Friends: Key Differences

Scrabble Go versus Words With Friends

Adapted from Getty Images

Have you been playing Words With Friends for years? Are you curious about Scrabble GO, wondering if you should make the switch? While the popular word games share a lot of similarities -- you’re still placing letter tiles on a game board to form high-scoring words -- there are also several key differences that set them apart from one another.

Board Layout and Letter Tiles

Let’s start with the basics.

Screenshot Scrabble Go and WWF boards comparisonScreenshot Scrabble Go and WWF boards comparison
  • Board Layout: Both games use 15 x 15 grids, but the board layouts are different. Scrabble GO uses the traditional Scrabble layout, so the triple word bonus squares are in the corners, for example. In Words With Friends, they’re along the outer edge but not in the corners.

  • Letter Tiles: Scrabble GO uses the same Scrabble letter tile value and distribution as the original game. The letter tiles in Words With Friends are a little different, both in value and distribution. 

  • Dictionaries: The two games also use different dictionaries. Compare words in our Scrabble dictionary and Words With Friends cheat. Words With Friends tends to allow some words that are invalid plays in Scrabble.

General Presentation and User Experience

When Words With Friends first launched in 2009, it added a lot of flash and sizzle to the traditional Scrabble game on which it was based. It introduced power-ups, user profiles and more colorful graphics. More recently, game publisher Zynga launched Words With Friends Live, a live trivia “game within a game.” 

Scrabble GO takes what Words With Friends did and takes it even further. It is even more colorful and animated. The main screen in Words With Friends is primarily a single column with static text and images. The main screen in Scrabble GO is more complex. It features animated icons and buttons, multiple points of navigation, and several rows with horizontal scrolling.

Some players may enjoy this more dynamic layout. Others may find it overwhelming and distracting.

Screenshot of Scrabble Go and WWF presentationScreenshot of Scrabble Go and WWF presentation

Play Against the Computer

Words With Friends offers a "practice" mode where you can play against a single computer-controlled opponent. The computer opponent, simply named "Practice," plays a move every two minutes. There are no difficulty settings. While many players suspect that secret Words With Friends bots are in the game, developer Zynga has neither confirmed nor denied this.

Scrabble GO also allows you to play against computer-controlled opponents. You’ll recognize the Scrabble GO bots by the “clouds” around their avatars. These Scrabble GO fake players otherwise look and behave much like their human counterparts. This also means that how frequently they play a move can vary considerably.

In-Game Power-Ups

Both Scrabble GO and Words With Friends offer players the opportunity to use “boosts” to help them find winning moves. These “power-ups” are a bit different in each game.

Scrabble GO Boosts 

In the course of playing Scrabble GO, you can earn “gems.” You can then spend these “gems” to buy “boosts.” Each boost costs 10 gems in the main game and 5 gems in Duels (more on that in the Game Modes section below).

  • Quick Word (Lightning): Plays a random word from your rack

  • Rack Swap (Bonus Swap): Swap letters without losing a turn

  • Magnifying Glass (only in Duels): Reveals where the best word can be played

  • Word Spy (Binoculars): Shows all possible word locations

Words With Friends Power-Ups

In Words With Friends, you can earn power-ups from daily bonuses and challenges. You can also buy them with “coins,” the in-game currency. 

  • Hindsight (Blue glasses): Use after playing a word to see where you could have played for more points

  • Word Radar (Green radar): See where most words can be played based on the letters in your rack

  • Swap+ (Pink rotation): Change your letter tiles without losing a turn

  • Word Clue (Purple magnifying glass): Highlights a place on the board and which tiles you can use there, but not necessarily the highest scoring word

Beyond the Main Game

The primary game in both Scrabble GO and Words With Friends is a two-player word game. This is the traditional “core” game you know and love. Both titles offer other game modes for added variety. Not all game modes are available all the time, though; they can be special events for a limited time. 

Words With Friends Game Modes

Some other game modes you’ll find in Words With Friends include:

Screenshot Words With Friends game modesScreenshot Words With Friends game modes
  • Solo Challenge: Play against themed fictional characters of increasing difficulty in Solo Challenge. As you defeat them, you move up a ladder and earn bonuses.  

  • Lightning Round: Players are divided into two teams of five. The teams then race to 750 points by forming words across several shared game boards.

  • Word Wheel: This added game mode appears periodically as an opportunity to earn bonuses. It plays like Wordscapes and other circle word games

Weekly challenges in Words With Friends offer the chance to earn bonuses and unlock custom tiles. For example, you might need to score a certain number of points in Classic Games or make a certain number of 30+ point plays in a game. 

Scrabble GO Game Modes

In Scrabble GO, you’ll find such game modes as the following:

Screenshot of Scrabble Go game modesScreenshot of Scrabble Go game modes
  • Single Player Scrabble: Play against a computer-controlled opponent named Zoey. Choose between easy, medium, hard, master and grand master difficulty settings.

  • Scrabble Classic: Play without boosts against both human and computer-controlled opponents. 

  • Scrabble GO Duels: Play on a smaller 11 x 11 board where each player is only allowed a total of five moves. You have a limited amount of time to complete each move. 

  • Tumbler Classic: In this timed mini game, you form words from six letter tiles. New tiles replace used tiles in the same column.

  • Rush Classic: In this single player game, score as many points as you can in just 10 turns within a 3-minute time limit. 

In-App Purchases

Both Words With Friends and Scrabble GO are free to play. Optionally, you can choose to spend money to buy power-up bundles, exclusive content, and in-game currency. 

Words With Friends has “coins” and Scrabble GO has “gems.” You also earn “coins” and “gems” in each game. Scrabble GO has more opportunities to watch an advertising video for more “gems” too.

Ad-Free Options

Both games are ad supported, so you’ll see banner ads while you play, as well as interstitial ads between turns and plays. 

  • Scrabble GO: Subscribe to the Scrabble Club for $6.49 per month to remove ads. You’ll also receive additional bonuses like challenge rewards and daily arena tickets.

  • Words With Friends: The ad-free subscription is $12.99 per month, including extra power-ups and coins as added bonuses. 

Which Word Game to Play?

It’s really a matter of personal preference. Words With Friends offers the more straightforward approach with fewer distractions. Comparatively, Scrabble GO has a flashier presentation with more animations and colorful graphics.

If you’re looking for more options to explore, have a look at WordFinder's list of fresh multiplayer word games for both Android and iOS devices. Or, if you’d prefer to play alone, check out 10 places you can play single-player Scrabble online for free. 

Michael Kwan is a professional writer and editor with over 14 years of experience. Fueled by caffeine and WiFi, he's no stranger to word games and dad jokes.


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