UPDATE: Zynga has updated their pricing for Tile Pile, please check out this update!
Several months ago, Zynga introduced a couple of new “features” that I think really affected how the game was played. They added pay-to-play features that gave additional “help” to players, as long as they paid for it. Some people call it a legalized “Words With Friends Cheat” feature. I don’t disagree with that statement. It’s obvious Zynga needs to monetize their players since we all pay a maximum of $1-2, and then put a load on their servers ad infinitum. So I can see why they did it, but to me it jeopardizes the integrity of the game.
The two features that were added were the Words With Friends Tile Pile, and the Words With Friends Word-O-Meter. For the interests of experimentation, and to add more content to this blog since I’m already scraping the bottom of the barrel, I decided to spend some money and buy both the Tile Pile and the Word-O-Meter and see how they worked.
The Tile Pile will count the tiles and tell you exactly how many of each tile is remaining. It costs 10 “tokens”, but the thing that really irritates me to no avail is the way Zynga RIPS YOU OFF with their pricing scheme.
Instead of giving you the ability to buy the Tile Pile straight up, they RIP YOU OFF by making the minimum amount of tokens you can buy is 7 for $0.99, when the feature costs 10 tokens. This means that you need to spend at least $2 to get the Tile Counter, with 6 tokens left over. They do this purposefully to goad people into buying more tokens since there are 6 tokens left over and people don’t want them to go to waste, so they end up buying even more tokens. It’s completely transparent and sickening what they are doing. What a bunch of crooks!!! Just offer it for $1 and be straight up about it!
Sorry about that rant. Anyway, I still bought some tokens and got the Tile Counter (and the Word-O-Meter). For $1.50, you get 10 uses of the Tile Pile. It works fine, all you do is press on the Tile Pile button and it will bring up the following screen.
Every time you use it, it’s one use, so you need to be judicious with it. However, if you’re in the middle of a single turn, you can bring up the Tile Pile as many times as you want.
Is it worth it? No. At the beginning of the game, it’s useless, as you can see from the above screenshot. The only value it really has is as the game winds down, with less than 5 tiles left (besides your opponent’s). Then you can see which tiles are left, have a good guess on the words your opponent can play, and then you can form a strategy. In this particular situation, it can come in handy. However, if you’re dedicated, you can probably just memorize the quantity of tiles, and do a quick scan yourself. I really don’t think it’s worth the money, and considering how Zynga rips you off by forcing you to overbuy tokens, it’s DEFINITELY not worth it.
Is Tile Counting Cheating?
I was accused of cheating by counting tiles early on in my WWF career, so I have a certain stigma associated with it. But thinking about this further, I’m pretty sure tile counting isn’t really a form of cheating. People do it to keep track of the S’s, the blank tiles, the high value tiles, etc. So if someone memorizes the quantity of every single letter and uses that knowledge in the middle of a game, is that cheating? I don’t think so. The information is available to everyone, so to me this is a part of the game. The fact that Zynga monetized this and the way they priced it really annoys me, but it has also inspired me to create my own free Tile Counter. More on that in the near future!
Is tile counting cheating? Let me know in the comments!
Coming up next, the Words With Friend Tile-O-Meter review!