Words With Friends, a popular app that has made the Hasbro game, Scrabble, accessible to the masses via smart phones and tablets, has been acquired by a consortium of app opponents. The National SCRABBLE Association, a group supported by Hasbro and made of Scrabble enthusiasts and competitors from around the globe, announced yesterday that it has partnered with MENSA, the famed high IQ society, to put an end to what they describe as the “dumbing-down of America via fraudulent Scrabble,” by purchasing the product and implementing sweeping changes to the way the game is played. In question is Words With Friends players’ ability to play words that are otherwise unknown to them through the aide of online dictionaries and cheat sites.
“None of these people know the meaning of words like ‘qi’, ‘waesuck’, or ‘qis.’ They’re exploiting these treasures of the English language for points in a game,” lamented longtime NSA board member, Henry Williams. “People don’t understand why we’re upset about this game. They think it is promoting affection for language and word play among a new generation. They could not be more erroneous. This new generation is simply combing for words on cheat websites and online dictionaries. They never ascertain the significance of the words they use, and therefore never learn the joy of the logophile. They are frauds.”
Wade Klum, president of the New York chapter of MENSA, which serves the area in which the NSA is based, was happy to jump on board Williams’ initiative to change the way Words With Friends is played. “Although we are an elite society, MENSA actively promotes causes that encourage the growth of intelligence in society at large. This project fits the bill.” Williams and Klum no doubt understand the financial gains their organizations can expect from their acquisition of the Words With Friends franchise, so they will not shut it down, but other changes will be made.
What kinds of changes can Words With Friends users expect? The NSA plans to add a feature similar to quiz shows like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. When users submit an uncommon word, they will also have to correctly select information about that word, ranging from its definition, origin, pronunciation, or part of speech, from a list of choices. Choosing the wrong answer forfeits the players’ turn and deducts points from his or her score. Williams believes that this system will “keep Words With Friends popular, while adding to the etymological knowledge of the general public, and creating a greater divide between the app and the noble game of Scrabble, which has been taken for granted in recent years.”
Time will tell what Words With Friends users think about the proposed changes to their beloved game. Quipped WWF user, Amy Ross, “as long as I can still play curse words, I don’t see a problem- take that Scrabble.”