Words with Friends: How to tell when your opponent is cheating

As much as I love to cheat in mmo's, and get a certain thrill when I figure something new out, I abhor playing against cheaters in Words With Friends. It's not so much that I can't necessarily beat them, I just hate it when they come up with unrealistic scores and words that neither of us have ever heard of. Of course it's hard sometimes to prove that your opponent has cheated, especially if you know that they do crossword puzzles or play scrabble often. However there is one tell-tale sign, that gives it away every time.

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I play a lot of Words with Friends. But I only play against people who don't cheat. I also tend to piss off other players, because often as not, I come up with some strange words, that even I don't know the meaning of. But with me, it's based on words I do know, or even the structure of a word (see my guide on word structures for Words with Friends). As I mentioned above, there is a tell-tale, which is to say a way to tell when someone is using a cheat of some sort. This might be a word dictionary, a scrabble dictionary, a cheat site, or a cheat program on their phone. The sign that they are cheating is so simple, but so telling that you can't help but realize who cheats and who doesn't.

It's what I like to call 'word bundles'. It's where you lay a word down on top of another word, on top of another word, rather then simply crossing words at intersections or ends of words. It's easy to add an "s" to a word and then make another word which has an "s" in it. But it's much harder to lay the words "scam", on top of "hovel", on top of "baser", creating word bundles. You can see what I mean in the image below. In this image, my opponent and I were laying words on top of words and side-by-side with other words, creating those word bundles I refer to.

Someone who cheats will come up with words you might never have heard of, but that doesn't mean they are actually cheating. For example, I have no idea what za, aa, qi, ki, nor jo are, but I do use them, and often at that. Although I finally did learn what aa means, the other day, lol.

Remember, if they can't lay down words on top of each other in word bundles, then you know they are cheating.

Note: In the above game, there might have been a possibility to use my letters, but doing so would have meant giving up points, which is why I chose to pass, forcing another pass, and giving me the win.

Most cheaters don't search for information on how they can get caught, or how to get better at the game, so you shouldn't have a problem with any of them suddenly changing tactics on you. I do suggest that you let cheaters play with other cheaters however. For those of us who don't cheat, there are honest players out there, you just have to find them.

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Word ChumsUPDATE: I got tired of the new WWF client crashing on me, and decided to find a similar game. What I found, is better. Word Chums isn't just about one-on-one, but you can also play with 3-4 friends, instead of just against one person. It's also more Scrabble like. There are a few differences, like being able to see how strong your word is, before playing it. Or being able to pay against an AI. Additionally, you get points for leveling up, and when you do, you can spend them in the shop - which gives you different bonuses. Hints, Bombs, XP Boosters, and more - await you in Word Chums. You can play it on iPhone, Android, or in the Facebook Gameroom on Windows/Mac.

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14 Responses to Words with Friends: How to tell when your opponent is cheating

  1. Al says:

    Yes, but where where are the honest players? I used to play this game religiously years and years ago, it was an addiction. The fun was figuring out what to do with what you were given, not to mention the strategies you have to use to get high points. Recently I picked it up again and realised the reason I stopped playing – every one cheats and you can tell because it is done with really really obscure words that no one commonly uses, and they do if often. Whoever invented the “Cheat” app is everything that’s wrong with the world. The game has been ruined now.

  2. Spitt says:

    I quit playing out of boredom personally. It was much of the same words with the same people, whom I knew didn’t cheat. I actually had a group of people who I played with that didn’t cheat, and threw away people I knew cheated… including family. Yes, it’s a strategy game, more then anything else – but vocabulary knowledge can make a huge difference.

    The best advice I can give, without sharing names – that would be wrong – would be to search people who are in your area, with similar scores. Try each of them, and if you see that they are cheating, quit the game and invite someone new. Your overall score might suffer, but finding people who will play regularly and don’t cheat, will make it much better for you. Also… choose someone who is slightly above your score level so that you learn new words as you go.

    Bonus tip: If someone places a word you don’t know – they could be wordsmithing – or might know the word… ask them what it means. If it’s a library definition, then you know they had to look it up, another sign they could be cheating 😉 (But then again I had to look up what xi and xis meant…)

  3. madword456 says:

    I recently placed 2 games simultaneously only to discover they’re response time was very quick either the highest point and longest words imaginable. It was too frequent to dismiss especially any time during the night or day. I tried blocking them but finally resigning both games and taking the loss. When I asked about cheating, they didn’t resond. Anyway, is there something we can do about this?

  4. Spitt says:

    I haven’t played in a while tbh, however some of my opponents responded within 5 mins – those who weren’t cheating. They did this since they could use their phones at work. For those who do cheat however, nothing can really be done. Personally I see no point to cheating in this game, but it’s done quite a bit…

  5. Elmer says:

    My score is 19,000. My opponent is 20,000 after an hour same opponent his/her score is 29,000 . How did she/he did that? Feb. 27 ’16 on word with friends..

  6. Spitt says:

    Take a screenshot and host it on imgur then link it here. I would like to see that.

  7. Garden Snail says:

    “Remember, if they can’t lay down words on top of each other in word bundles, then you know they are cheating.”

    Lol Well I’ve started doing words bundles a lot myself ever since I found a good method for cheating, so that has nothing to do with it. Just because someone cheats means they don’t know strategy as well? It’s because of complex words, triple point tiles and piling words on top of each other that we get such good scores, whether we’re cheating or not.

  8. Marcus Sweetser says:

    I don’t agree with garden snail. I love doing word bundles because the high point levels it just takes me 10 or 20 minutes sometimes to come up with one word 2 play on/under/betwixt those crazy, confusing, eye-swirling induced jumbles! I readily admit I have a cheat app for games where me and my opponent have worked ourselves into a corner and have plenty of tiles left but no board space. I also will let use the cheat app if I am playing family or friends or other opponents that I know don’t cheat. I love to use the cheat app when I know someone is cheating because then there’s no guilt and the asshole gets what they deserve. I read a shitload of books and listen to a lot of VPR and NPR and BBC so I’m pretty well informed and that helps with this game in my vocabulary. I also keep the dictionary.com app right beside my Words With Friends app so when someone plays a word I don’t know I can look it up and hopefully remember it for future usage. I love to learn so all the tools out there and all the books published are the best cheat apps available 🙂

  9. KD says:

    Cheaters suck. Anyone who has an average word score of 30 or higher is getting the side eye from me.

  10. pete says:

    if an opponent passes 6x do they automatically lose?

  11. Spitt says:

    If they pass, and you pass, then they pass again, the one with the most points wins. If they continue to pass, but you keep going, then they will not lose automatically. So if someone passes 2x, and you are ahead, pass to them.

  12. Spitt says:

    I edited the post to reflect this – I have moved on to Word Chums. There is an AI, there are multiplayer games, but of course, there are cheaters. Filter them if need be, never replay against someone who does cheat – not even family.

    However, don’t ever be fooled when someone gets 30+ points on average. I get around 28+ points on average, by learning strategies to defeat my opponents, and maximize my points. I was hoping to screenshot a game where the person’s vocabulary was better than mine. I beat him narrowly (5 points).

    I am really impressed by the game. The only feature I want is the ability to remind them of games.

  13. Noam Sayen says:

    I can’t agree that if you don’t know the words your opponent is playing, it’s a sign they’re cheating. Say what? They just might have a larger vocabulary than you do. I play a guy who works for a big newspaper. Guess what? He plays great words! And those unusual words might arise when you try adding a letter to an existing word to see if it’s acceptable. Is that OK? I do it all the time. If I get a hit and play the word, I write it down so I add to my vocabulary.

    MY telltales are:
    * too many six and seven letter words in one game.

    * VERY unusual words that seem to come straight from the anagram generator. (recently one guy played “inedita”. PuhLEEZ!)

    * Guys/gals with “decent” game scores –in the high 300’s e.g., but average word scoress in the 30’s. Unh uh. That tells me they scores big with the anagrams, and fill in the rest of the game with low-scoring words.

  14. Rodney Reid says:

    I don’t think anyone mentioned this – they don’t go for the triple words, or defend them as much, as a seasoned player with their score should. For instance, after playing a game with them, go to head to head stats, and last game (or better, all time) and see the you vs. them ratio of triple word tiles grabbed. One person I’ve played with who I suspect (and now know) was a cheater — I got 90% of the triple word tiles over 5 games, but they kept beating me. Nobody who’s played the game a lot lets triple word tiles get taken, or doesn’t take advantage of them.

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