Popular board game Scrabble has yet to make a real dent on mobile gaming, but two similar games – Zynga’s Words with Friends and Bertheussen’s Wordfeud are really getting people addicted, and both are available on Android and iOS devices.
Both games offer two-player, smartphone-based competitive word games as well as free and paid versions, but there are some significant differences between the two.
Neither app offers games between more than two players, which strikes me as a lost opportunity, but beyond that, both offer a solid ‘classic’ version of the the letter-tiles game that will be familiar to everyone. Both games allow you to zoom into the board for easier play on a small phone screen, and both allow you to shuffle your tiles, swap and pass. In simple game terms, these are identical, and both great fun.
Wordfeud has more game modes, allowing you to play on a board with randomly arranged bonus squares, and also with a wider variety of dictionaries (English International, US English, Danish, Dutch, French, Norwegian, Spanish and Sweden). Words with Friends only has the standard game to offer.
Words with Friends is a much brighter looking game, while Wordfeud looks a bit clinical. Personally, I prefer Wordfeud’s more functional approach. Zynga’s game has a very busy interface, and it has much more advertising. Ads feature in both free versions, but in Wordfeud they are less intrusive.
On the other hand, as well as play between iOS and Android users, Words with Friends also adds Facebook integration, so you can play between the mobile app and the Facebook app seamlessly.
Which one is for me?
If you want to play with your Facebook friends, Words with Friends is the only choice, but I think the best game experience is actually found with Wordfeud. There are more dictionary options, a possible randomized board and the experience is calmer, which feels more in line with the game traditionally.
Whichever you choose, smartphone Scrabble between friends can really eat up your time, so be careful.