The Lightning round is a new addition bought in with Words with Friends 2, and it brings a massive change in gameplay. Seasoned players have to adjust to team tactics and for some this has been tricky (at least, judging by my teammates every time I’ve played!)
In the Lightning round, you work with a team of five others to reach 750 points before the opposing team. Importantly, you play completely independently of the other team, meaning every word you play needs to help out your teammates – no defensive plays here!
1. Set up plays for your teammates
This is probably the most useful tactic if you have teammates who are vaguely competent players. However, you really don’t know whether they are any good or not until you are playing – so you may as well assume they are Words with Friends pros ready to capitalise on the amazing opportunities you are about to open up for them.
Essentially, you want to create chance for your teammates to:
- Extend off your words, especially when they can extend onto a bonus tile;
- Hit bonus tiles, especially if they can hit multiple tiles in one go;
- Play all their tiles
This means that sometimes you’re going to have to deliberately sacrifice you personal score.
Take the below example. The current player has played ‘CANE’ (8 POINTS). They could have played ‘CANED’ (20 POINTS). However, by leaving the ‘D’ for the next player they have set up a high scoring opportunity. Now, the next player can play ‘CANED’ (10 POINTS) + a word containing ‘D’. In fact, if the next player plays a 5-letter word beginning or ending in ‘D’, they will hit TWO double word score bonus tiles! Let’s add these up in practice:
Player One plays ‘CANED’
P1: CANED = 20
P2: DENSE = 14
Total = 34 points
Player One plays ‘CANE’
P1: CANE = 8
P2: CANED = 20
Total = 56 points
2. Use ‘S’, ‘D’, and ‘R’ wisely
Just as in normal gameplay for Words with Friends, the S, D and R are some of the most powerful tiles on your rack – this is because they can be used to extend off of your teammates words and pick up lots of more points for your team – just like in the first example.
3. Play fast!
The reason the Lightning round is so named is because you need to play with lightning speed. There’s no point spending ages to try every combination or to try and find that 7-letter word, because the whole time the opposing team are playing words and beating you to it. An 100-pointer is only worth it if the other team haven’t managed to score at least that much in the time you spent coming up with it.
To help you play quickly and still score high, keep an eye out for opportunities your teammates have set up for you, bonus tiles that you can play to and high scoring tiles on your rack – more often than not, there will be an obvious play and if not – swap your tiles or pass and get on with the game.
4. Open up the board – don’t play defensively!
Playing defensively can be a tricky habit to get out of – after all, in normal gameplay, it’s an essential tactic to prevent your opponent hitting bonus tiles.
However, in Lightning round, you have to take a completely opposite approach and actively work to open up the board for your teammates.
Critically you need to reach those all important bonus tiles out at the edges – and luckily, that can be easily done with just two words, because the board is in Lightning round is smaller.
5. Hit the bonus tile combos
As with normal gameplay, hitting the bonus tile combos is a quick way to an easy win. In Lightning round, the board layout is slightly smaller and that means lots of opportunities for bonus combos!
Head straight to the outside edges to pick up triple letter/triple word bonus combos.