Once upon a time, when my oldest nephew (now 24) was young, he took my cell phone and asked to play games. I replied that my phone did not do games. True, it had some very, very basic games on it (it was a very, very basic phone by today's standards), but I wouldn't stoop to using a phone for such purposes.

Fast foward.

I'm still of the opinion that mobile phones are not primarily gaming devices, but I have been known to acknowledge their usefulness for that function, primarily in two ways: Peak brain training, and the latest addition, Word Chums. I was introduced to the latter by my grandkids during their recent visit. As I find with most video games, there's a lot of silliness to it (competitions, and accessories you can buy for your character with game coins you can earn), and you have to endure a few ads. But the ad-free version is only $4 if you find them too annoying. (You still get the silliniess.)

Word Chums is basically a Scrabble game, but in a form I find much more appealing. Instead of having to spend several contiguous hours over a game board, you can make your move and go on living your life while your opponent(s) are thinking. Or living their own lives—which means there can be hours or even days between moves. I'm fine with that. This is a game for busy people, who can find odd minutes here and there to play.

It is also a game for scattered people. I can enjoy a game with family members in Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and I'm sure even Switzerland, though we haven't tested that yet. We can have several games going on at once, with different combinations of people, all playing whenever it's convenient to them.

In real Scrabble, there are huge penalties for guessing. Word Chums lets you play around with your letters to see what works, get hints, look up meanings. "Cheat" if you wish to call it that, but I'm not a purist. It makes the game accessible for the younger ones, and even us old folks are learning new words. Who know "qi" was a word? In my Scrabble days, if you didn't have a U, your Q tile was useless. I'm happy to add this useful word to my vocabulary. I'm told it means "the energy in everything." I took a boatload of physics courses in college and never heard of it, but who cares? It works very well in this game.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 9:20 am | Edit
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Qi is energy in Taoist thought. It is also transliterated "chi". I play solitaire and chess on my phone. Chess, I can either play with the phone (as if with a computer), or with someone else via internet. Both are downloaded to the phone, so no ads. Both games are available free at Google Playstore. (That's the place for non-iPhone users.)

Posted by Diane Villafane on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 11:23 am

Qi (or "ki" in Japanese transliteration) is also used for plain old physics energy (e.g. "denki" being "electricity", or "thunder energy"), but of course your physics profs didn't think to teach you Japanese, did they? You'll find the "ki" all over the place: aikido ("meet-energy-path"), "ki o tsukete" ("take care", literally "direct your spirit/energy"), "kimochi ga warui" ("energy-carrying is bad" - "I'm feeling sick"). Good to know it's scrabblable!

Posted by Stephan on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 5:13 pm

I did it. I bought the premium version. The folks at PeopleFun were so nice to Heather when she had a problem, I decided they were worth supporting. Besides, it's nice not to have the ads, and to have unlimited Chumbot play. For those times when I'm not overwhelmed by games with real people, who all seem to make their moves at once. :)

Posted by SursumCorda on Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 1:12 pm
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