Vocabulary improves the more you play

WORDS WITH FRIENDS: Now more than 10 years old, Words with Friends continues to be the leading word game app.

WORDS WITH FRIENDS: Now more than 10 years old, Words with Friends continues to be the leading word game app.

If reading and writing are your thing or you love the spoken word, honing your skills on some of the world's most enduring and popular word games will have you addicted in no time.

Possibly the first of the "Scrabble" type games to appear on our phones, more than 10 years ago, is the very popular "Words with Friends" - now in its second upgrade. As of May 2017, Words with Friends was the most popular mobile game in the United States.

Famously, the actor Alec Baldwin was so enraptured by the game, he was evicted from an aeroplane for not turning off his phone at take off. Ironically, he is now the ambassador for the game.

Words with Friends is a multiplayer word game where each player takes turns building words in a crossword-puzzle style, rather like Scrabble. The rules of the two games are similar but are not associated.

Up to 40 games can be played simultaneously using push notifications to alert players when it is their turn. Players may look up friends either by username or through Facebook or be randomly assigned an opponent through "Smart Match". Players can also find potential opponents using Community Match. It can be played on devices running operating systems of Android, Windows, IOS (iPad, iPhone) Kindle and tablets. A good internet connection is required to play.

There are weekly tournaments and competitions that drive the ambitious player to ignore everything else for a few hours and will pass the time admirably during lockdown.

As you progress you collect coins that can be exchanged for swapping tiles without losing a turn, or asking the board where the best word could be placed.

Points are accumulated each week and "standings" are published for you to see your ranking which drives players to score higher points each time they play.

There is a chat feature built into the game that allows opponents to exchange messages. The chat feature has been known to join some romantic partners together and there are some famous stories about friendships that have formed over the years between players. However, caution should always be exercised when chatting to random strangers online. In 2019 thousands of players had personal data stolen in a hack, but developers have improved security.

If you are stuck or find the American dictionary a little weird, then there are some online platforms to help you out, which is considered cheating.