Bingo Long Words Travel Far (Sometimes!)

The premise of games like Scrabble and Words With Friends is mastering anagrams. The ultimate anagram, of course, is the Bingo, using all of your tiles in one turn. In most games, that means using seven tiles to create words of seven or more letters. Before rushing off to play your next Bingo, here are a few points to consider. Ha-ha, I said "points". I'll probably do that at least once more – it's in my blood.

Opening up Pandora's Box

The allure of playing all seven tiles must be tempered by the understanding of the consequences. Your score is pointless if you provide your opponent with the keys to the board! Be wary of placing high-value tiles in the path of a triple-word square. Your vocabulary just might get a rude shock when that safe-looking Q, J or V gets connected with a word bomb. Heh, you'll probably utter your own F-bomb, if that happens!


In Scrabble, the bonus is 70 points added to your score. In Words With Friends, it's only 35. In my opinion, it's generally not worth playing a Bingo in Words With Friends just for the points. Always add up your potential score, and then look for better plays! The time you spend trying to place a lousy Bingo like RESTART might be better spent shoe-horning some tiles into a more lucrative crossword formation.

Naturally, this is less of an issue early in the game. In fact, it appears that Words With Friends challenges you to find seven-letter words from your very first rack! If you can get started with three or four Bingos early on, you'll build up a formidable lead that's tough for your opponent to overcome.

Strength of Opponent

If you like a challenge, you should play opponents who are really good. They will help you become a better player, strategically. If you have a habit of "setting up" your opponents, by ignoring the advice about Pandora's Box, for example, they will literally beat it out of you – unless you are a glutton for punishment.

On the other hand, if you are the stronger player, don't hesitate to deliver that same punishment to your opponents. They might be F-bombing you as you Bingo them into oblivion but, eventually, they should improve. Or they'll abandon the game. Either way, the survivors will be stronger. This is how super bacteria do their work, you know…

Sneaky Setups

This is not something to do with stronger players. A sneaky setup is a play that allows for a monster play on your next turn, assuming your opponent doesn't mess it up. First of all, you almost always need a little help from the "bag" of tiles. If you don't get the right tile or tiles, the setup won't work. Here is an example:

Sharon vs. Mitch

Suppose I wanted to set up that juicy triple-word square on the right edge. I could use IT to play FIT and hope for any of the following:

  • draw AR and play GAROTTED
  • draw EH and play DOGTEETH
  • draw a high-value tile that goes on the triple letter square below FIT

First of all, Sharon is not likely to leave that option open for my next turn – she started the game with PULLETS! Look at her last play, too. She is a strong player with the lead and I know better than to open Pandora's Box against her. I opted for a less tantalizing play:

Sharon vs. Mitch

As it turns out, Sharon had a monster Bingo, waiting in the wings:

Sharon vs. Mitch

Let's Play Bingo

Each of the racks needs two letters to make a bingo. Three racks have only one solution, while the rest have at least three answers. For an additional challenge, try to craft three coherent sentences—four words to a sentence—reading in order from top to bottom. (The sentences are not related to each other.)