Why Do People Use Word Game Helpers? Cracking the Cheat Code

Cheater playing multiplayer Scrabble

Adapted from Getty Images

Why do people cheat at word games? Each person is different, and each word game offers a unique challenge. It benefits no one to merely assume why someone might seek help winning word games, so it’s important to learn the factors that lead anyone to seek such help. That’s why, along with many other reasons, we chose to conduct a survey. Through our survey, players shared what they thought about word games, player preferences and the use of word solver tools.
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Reasons Why People Cheat at Word Games

After studying all of the responses to the survey, we found there were many reasons why people use helper tools to unscramble words. One reason, however, stood out as the most prominent one: to clear difficult levels and puzzles. 

More than 47 percent of players explained that a game’s difficulty is what drives them to seek help. Other important yet not as common reasons included a desire to learn new words and their definitions, plus a desire to beat a human opponent.

Data on why people use helper toolsData on why people use helper tools(CC BY-ND 4.0)

The top reasons why people use helper tools are:

  • To clear a difficult level or puzzle: 47.22%

  • When playing against the computer: 20.63%

  • When playing against people I know: 13.25%

  • When playing against strangers: 12.44%

  • I don't use helper tools: 6.47%

The Fun Factor Comes First

For most players, word games are fun ways to keep their minds sharp, take on a challenge or pass the time. Competition doesn’t drive them too much. So, they see helper tools, like our Scrabble word finder, simply as that: handy tools to use when a game is more difficult than expected. 

Over 80 percent of people play word games on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Given the fast pace and the convenience-focused nature of those devices and the games made for them, it makes sense why a cheat tool would be helpful for saving time.

Demographic Data: Who Uses Helper Tools Most?

It’s also helpful to know what the likelihood is that someone would use a helper tool. Nearly half of all respondents indicated that they would be “somewhat” to “extremely likely” to use a helper tool. However, we wanted to know more of the finer details of who uses cheat tools. 

For a more complete and thorough examination, we broke down our findings into various demographic groupings.

Data on who uses helper toolsData on who uses helper tools(CC BY-ND 4.0)

Age Group

Older people, particularly seniors, accounted for the majority of word game players in our survey. Knowing that, it makes sense that they would be the groups with the highest probability of using word game cheat tools. More than half of respondents aged 45 and up indicated they were “somewhat” to “extremely likely” to use a helper tool.

Somewhat to extremely likely to use a helper tool:

  • Players aged 18-24: 37.8%

  • Players aged 25-34: 31.6%

  • Players aged 35-44: 38.5%

  • Players aged 45-54: 50.5%

  • Players aged 55- 64: 54.9%

  • Players aged 65-74: 52.2%

  • Players aged 75+: 53.4%

Gender

As most people might expect, the use of cheat tools was fairly even between men and women. Women do use the tools slightly more, but it’s a very small difference. They also account for the majority of word game players in general. For our survey, more than 65% of people identified themselves as female.

Somewhat to extremely likely to use a helper tool:

  • Male: 48.3%

  • Female: 50.2%

Education Level

The use of helpers across the different education levels was also noteworthy. Though some people might not expect it to be the case, the chances that someone would use a helper tool were fairly even across all ranges.

Somewhat to extremely likely to use a helper tool:

  • Partial high school education: 37.5%

  • High school graduate: 53.8%

  • Partial college education or trade school: 52.3%

  • Undergraduate degree: 49.3%

  • Graduate degree: 44.8%

Household Income

The income status of players is the last demographic worth noting. People making $10,000 or less were shown to be the most likely to use a cheat tool in word games, at nearly 60 percent. By contrast, less than 35 percent of people belonging to households making over $150,000 a year said they use helper tools. The remaining income groups in the middle did not deviate too much from the overall average, about 45 to 50 percent.

Somewhat to extremely likely to use a helper tool:

  • Less than $10,000: 58.3%

  • $10,000 to $24,999: 42.3%

  • $25,000 to $49,999: 53.4%

  • $50,000 to $74,999: 46.8%

  • $75,000 to $99,999: 48.0%

  • $100,000 to $149,999: 45.6%

  • $150,000 and up: 34.6%

Everyone’s Thoughts on Cheating

The opinions about using a helper in a competitive game, like a Words With Friends cheat tool, were also enlightening. Over four-fifths of players did not have a problem if their opponent opted to seek outside help. A small percentage even liked the idea, because it would mean the challenge would be greater.

Data on thoughts on cheatingData on thoughts on cheating(CC BY-ND 4.0)
  • Accepting: 37.66%

  • Indifferent: 25.99%

  • Assumed they were using one: 13.14%

  • Annoyed but okay with it: 11.24%

  • Angry about it: 6.86%

  • Sees it as an extra challenge: 5.11%

Methodology

In March 2022, we held an open survey for anyone over the age of 18. Our goal was to determine who played word games, which word games they played, who they played them with and how they played them.

Over 650 people completed the survey and provided information about what games they play, why and how often they play them and, most importantly for this article, why they use helper tools like WordFinder®.

Cheating Can Also Be Teaching

People don’t cheat in word games for the sake of being mean to their opponents or to avoid doing the work to win. For most players, helper tools are a way to ensure the games stay fun and they keep making progress. Being a word game fan doesn’t require you to know every word in the dictionary or to have unmatched skills at unjumbling letters. That assistance when you need it in a pinch can make all of the difference.

To learn more about how cheating is actually teaching, read about how our anagram solver proves that point. Using a helper tool to solve anagrams does more than allowing you to win word games. It teaches you a skill that can sharpen your mind and has practical uses.


Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.

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