Scrabble is probably the all-time king of word games. It encourages creative thinking, provides a competitive challenge, and can even help you build your vocabulary. It’s not a very portable game, though. Modern technology has made it a lot easier to take Scrabble on the road. Today the officially-licensed mobile version of Scrabble takes the form of an app (for either iOS or Android) developed by Electronic Arts.
What if your taste for word games is expansive enough to look beyond Scrabble? Here are some other great options for feeding your word game passion wherever and whenever you want to:
1. Words With Friends / Wordfeud
Of course, Scrabble is an old enough game to give it new life as a public domain property. Words With Friends is probably the single most popular version of the game on mobile devices today, and it’s not hard to see why. It has a very well-crafted interface and features a clean, smooth design. Its vast popularity ensures that you’ll never have trouble finding an opponent for a casual match. Of course, if you’re serious about playing the game competitively, the real Scrabble app gives you access to official score tracking. Its game experience actually falls short of Words With Friends, though, making Zynga’s app the go-to choice for casual gamers. Wordfeud is another refined take on the concept, and it’s particularly popular with people who don’t care for Zynga apps.
This word game app is another Scrabble derivative, but this one offers you an intriguing variation. The bonus squares in AbbleDabble are not static. After each player’s move, the bonuses shift as well. This makes it much harder to strategize about collecting bonuses, and the changes affect words that have already been played, too. Playing AbbleDabble encourages faster, more impulsive play. The app also has an option to play an ordinary Scrabble-type game without its moving bonus gimmick.
For some reason, this syllable resonates with word game fans — or, at least, the developers who design games for them. In Dabble, you’re presented with a pyramid-shaped board containing 20 letter tiles. Your goal is to rearrange the tiles and end up with five words. (You want one each of 3, 4, 5, and 6-letter words.) Why does this relatively simple set-up produce addictive gameplay? It’s the sheer challenge of working with five different letter racks at once! It also helps that you’re competing against the clock: You only get five minutes to make your changes and find your words.
4. WordSearch Unlimited
For a game with a more relaxed pace, give WordSearch Unlimited a try. This is a definite stress-buster, although that also means that it’s not too challenging. It still offers plenty of fun, though! As the name suggests, it’s a word-finding game along the lines of Boggle, Dropwords, or Wordtwist. WordSearch Unlimited also takes some cues from traditional puzzle books — you’re looking exclusively for straight-line words that appear vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. There are versions of WordSearch Unlimited available for both iOS and Android, although the game is offered by a different developer on each platform.
5. Word Brain
This is one of those games where the fundamentals can be grasped within minutes but mastery will take years. Like a lot of word games, you find words and select them to take them off the puzzle board. What makes Word Brain different is the fact that your goal is to use up every letter tile, and each of your moves makes the remaining tiles collapse. With more than 500 puzzles available for players in each of 15 different languages, Word Brain definitely delivers plenty of challenges.
Word Brain has quickly gained a reputation for fiendish difficulty, so much so that the developers have repeatedly had to state that every level has a verified solution. Because of the constraints of the game, one wrong move will often render a level unsolvable. That means you have to carefully consider your timing as well as your word choices!