Scrabble vs. Words with Friends: Which do you prefer?

TULSA - Barbara Santee and Joan Hess play Scrabble twice a week. Not the smartphone app version, but the original version with the board and letters.  They are just two of many players who join the Tulsa Scrabble Club at Barnes and Noble every Sunday and Tuesday. 

Santee started the club 15 years ago, but since then, playing "words with friends" has taken on a whole new meaning.

Millions of people have downloaded Zynga's popular smartphone app "Words With Friends." Players can engage in up to 20 games at once, and while the players can send instant messages through the phone, there is no face-to-face interaction. That's where Santee believes the younger generation is missing out. 

"You get the human emotion [with Scrabble board game]," said Santee. "You can't see the agony of your opponent's face when you're playing on a computer." 

Also, with Words With Friends, there are no "challenges," where a player can challenge the other player to determine whether a tile placement is an actual, defined word. In Scrabble, a player who puts down an incorrect word loses a turn if challenged. In Words With Friends, a player can repeatedly try new options. A word simply won't send to another play until a suitable one is placed.

Santee also believes playing in person makes for a more memorable experience. "If my opponent lays down a word and she beats me with that word, you can guarantee I will remember that word."

Santee's secret to success is in the two-letter words. There are more than a hundred of them, and Santee says memorizing them all is the key to winning. Or, at least it can help. "I believe winning is about one-third strategy, one-third knowledge and one-third luck," said Santee. 

Santee wants more younger players in the club to get the game back to square one. For her, it's more about moments with friends, than just words. 

The Tulsa Scrabble Club is a free club that meets in the coffee shop at Barnes and Noble in the Southroads Shopping Center (5231 E. 41st Street, Tulsa). It meets every Sunday at 1 p.m. and every Tuesday at 6 p.m. Anyone is encouraged to show up and play a game. Guests do not need to bring their own game or equipment--just show up for fun!  

To find a Scrabble Club in your area, check out the Scrabble Association's website.

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