Carol Libke | August 26, 2018
Article suitable for e.g. That’s Life magazine
A remarkable score
I could lie. I could pretend it happened to a friend. But you probably wouldn’t believe me.
It started in May this year when Laurel, an avid scrabble player, invited me to play Words-with-Friends, an online game. Laurel, a Top Streak with an average word count of 24.8, skites about jockeying for position on the monthly leader-board. She gets most pleasure out of playing men, although she admits to having the odd tight tussle with women.
Laurel downloads the app and helps me set up my player profile, which includes creating a fictitious name. Cairns Chick is a bit of a stretch, especially since we’ve been prompted to upload a Facebook photo.
‘It just a bit of fun, Liz! Let go of your inhibitions and just have a go. Besides, you said it yourself … John’s as deaf as a beetle and comatose by 8.30.’
Words-With-Friends, or WWF as Laurel calls it, takes a bit of getting used to. Words such as ZA, QI, SUQ and QUAD, strategically placed with the Z or Q on a triple letter or triple word, yields maximum points.
After a month, according to Laurel, I’m not too bad … for a beginner.
I’m starting to find it quite addictive. Perhaps it’s apps ‘pinging’ notifications that alert me when it’s my turn to play. Computer-generated games, with various cartoon characters, teach me new words that help expand my WWF vocabulary. Mind you, few have found their way to my well-worn 1960s Oxford Dictionary.
By July my alter ego, Cairns Chick, is making her way up the monthly leader board.
One day a total stranger, Marcus1960, invites me to play. I hadn’t planned on playing men, but his sizable word-score of 27.2 is hard to resist.
I check out his profile. He’s been playing since 2016. Country of origin: USA. Highest Game Score: 546. Wow … now that’s a challenge.
I click Accept.
By this time, I’m used to friends using the chat bubble icon at the top of the screen to place comments like good move or nice game, so it isn’t a total surprise. Marcus1960 seems impressed that a beginner like me has utilised all seven of my tiles to attract fifty bonus points added to the word score. His message, Ouch …
that stung, gives me an unexpected belly laugh. After all, it’s been ages since anyone has complemented me on anything, even words.
I click Marcus’s profile, feeling somewhat a voyeur. He’s impressive. Nice eyes. American jaw. Nice.
Soon we are playing well into the morning, the chat bubble working over time.
Good move, well done and the odd Ouch!
I learn he is a fellow artisan. A poet no less! Simple haikus attest to his love of nature. Soon rose-scented words scatter petals over sunlit flesh.
Over the next few months the potter’s wheel sparks, remoulds, refires. I am reborn. Alive. Whet…
I confide in Laurel.
Let me guess? He wants to take it to the next level. WWF is the biggest meat-market in the world. That’s fine. But it can be a trap for new players.
C’mon Liz, you’re a writer. Think if it as … research. A dedicated g-mail account is all you need. Cairns Chick will have you visiting all corners of the globe, from the comfort of your Ipad. Fun. Certainly beats listening to your old man snore.
Beware though. It’s a trap for new players. By the way, never, ever send money. I remember…
Which reminds me. Keep an eye out for Marcus1960. Now there’s a player!