Words With Friends Tile Pile Review

NEW! Try my new, Free WWF Tile Counter Tile Pile clone!!!!

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!

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21 Responses to Words With Friends Tile Pile Review

  1. Marisa says:

    I don’t think counting tiles is cheating at all. Which letters have been played and which ones have not is information that’s right on the board, in front of both players. Keeping track by hand or the Tile Pile simply speeds up the game, so one is not having to count tiles at every turn. Also note that at Scrabble tournaments, all players are handed forms on which to count tiles. There is nothing underhanded about it.

    • steve4games says:

      Thanks for the comment!

      I agree, I didn’t think it was cheating at first, but when the person I was playing accused me of cheating, I thought maybe there was a certain etiquette that I had broken. But after playing so many games now, I think it’s part of the game.

      I didn’t know that was part of Scrabble tournaments, thanks for the info!

  2. Pingback: Introducing the Free Words With Friends Tile Counter (Pre-Beta) | Word Game Strategies

  3. Jamie says:

    Definitely not cheating, although I don’t use it myself – probably because I’m too lazy.

    I think cheating probably lies in anything that gives you useful information not available to your opponent, or, if available, that both players have agreed not to use.

  4. Pingback: Free Tile-Pile and Word-O-Meters uses? | Word Game Strategies

  5. Mitzi says:

    I bought Tile Pile to check it out and see how it worked, but I still don’t understand it since Zynga doesn’t really explain it to you. For example, when it shows that there are 2 E’s and 1 S and 1 F, does that include what is in your opponents hand or does it mean that those letters are yet to be in either players hand? If it says there is 1 S, does this mean that my opponent might have that S in his hand or that there is still one out there that either of us could get? Maybe this is an obvious answer, but I’m confused! Thank you!

    • steve4games says:

      Hi Mitzi,

      Whatever shows up in the results is the total letters that are potentially left. These include your opponents tiles, so you can’t tell if your opponent actually has those letters or not, until there are only a few letters left. When there are 0 letters left, then you know exactly what letters your opponent has.

      So in the case that you mentioned, if it shows there is 1 S, then your opponent may or may not have that letter.


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  6. Andy Lee says:

    I don’t think it’s cheating, but I think it’s a rip off that Zynga only gives you ten uses. I think for $1 you should get it permanently. I won’t pay for it again. I don’t think k it’s clear that you only get 10 uses either. I mean it’s like buying the app once to not see the ads. Ats just greed at its worst.

  7. Victoria says:

    Is The Count that Zynga is selling the same where you have to buy tokens? There is no info on the screen before you purchase.

    • steve4games says:

      I don’t think you have to buy tokens anymore. You just buy the feature, and it comes with a specific number of uses, like 10 Tile Piles or 100 Word-O-Meters.

  8. Eric says:

    Sorry to break up this party but Tile Count is cheating unless both players are using it. If you can memorize the same information and use it then I don’t think that is a problem but if one person has this and the other one doesn’t it definitely gives an advantage to the person who has this extra help.

    Cheating is an unfair act to give someone an advantage over the other person. This app clearly does just that. Like I said unless both parties are using it.

    Lat but not least, at scrabble tournaments you get a score sheet, if you choose to use that score sheet to track tiles you can but Marisa made it sound like they give you a sheet with the letters and amounts of each letter already on there. You have to know the letter count yourself and then use it as a scratch sheet. Just my 2 cents.

    • steve4games says:

      Hi Eric,

      I respectfully disagree. I don’t think Tile Counting is cheating, because it’s information that is right there in front of you. All it takes is the ability to count and the knowledge of how many tiles of each there are. For example, everyone knows there is only 1 Z, 1 J, 1 X, 2 blank tiles, etc. I don’t think that’s cheating to take advantage of that information. However, if you feel that it is cheating, there is no issues in asking your opponent to not count tiles. If your opponent doesn’t respect your wishes, then that’s not very cool on their part, since it’s supposed to be a nice game between friends, hence the title :)


      • Eric says:

        Steve, I think I may not have been clear in my post. As I mentioned and as you also mentioned in your post we all know how many of the major letters are on the board and that is a part of the game so tile counting in and of itself is not cheating. I agree with you on that.
        My problem is with the Tile Pile counting app that gives you a visual that says there is 1 s left and there is 1 y left so at the end of the game you automatically know what is in your opponents hand. In the visual a few post up it is showing that the F and the K’s have been used already so as the game goes on it will keep up with that has been played. That’s the part I don’t like. If you can memorize it yourself then fine but if I have to purchase that app just to have the same thing as you then I see that as an unfair advantage. If there is no advantage why would anyone use it?
        And last but not least I have to say it is refreshing to see a forum where someone says they respectfully disagree and then are actual respectful in their disagreement. Doesn’t happen much online. :-) Thanks

        • steve4games says:

          Not to worry, I only believe in meaningful (and respectful) discourse :) One of my WWF friends that I play with agrees with you, however, another one of my WWF friends does keep track of the letters, although by hand. So, the issue definitely isn’t cut and dry! For me, the key is to play with people that you trust and will follow the rules that you both agree to. It’s obviously hard when playing tournaments like at wordswithfriends.net when you’re playing complete strangers.

  9. eos says:

    Counting piles is part of the game. One can not anticipate in any competitions without it. We can not always rely on luck! A piece of paper and a pencil will do the job nicely, but this app I guess will help to make the whole process easier and faster and hence speed up the game. If your opponent does not count his piles, I think it is his own loss and I do not think one should complain that the others does it, whether they use a pencil or an app.

  10. Coreena says:

    So I play a guy who ALWAYS has big words or big number words – is that how he does it?

    • steve4games says:

      Quite possibly! If he always has big words all the time, he might be cheating, it depends on how well you know him…

  11. Rach says:

    Hello players,
    After reading all the comments here, I tried out Steve’s free Tile Counter (on a Nexus 7 with Android 4.3) and I highly recommend it.
    To the point about the discussion above, is counting cheating or not… Doesn’t anyone still use/have/remember the actual physical Scrabble board that has the tile count printed right there on the board? No need to memorize. Certainly not cheating to count.
    Have fun. :-)

  12. Ed says:

    Tile counting per se is not cheating, but people predominantly play on their mobile phones, so people are not going to have the Scrabble board with them to see the tile counts (yes, you can google it and refer to the page or memorize the counts). But even if you know the overall counts, you still have to put the time and effort in to know what your opponent has i.e. if you know the total numbe of Es in the game, and at the end of the game you want to know if your opponent has any, you still have to count all the Es on the board. You could keep a spreadsheet or other doc on your phone to this end, I suppose. Not cheating, because you’re putting the work in.

    But the app does all the work for you, instantly giving you the overall counts as well as how many have been played. So then, is it cool to buy the app and use it? For one thing, your opponent may not even know it exists, so if you use it, you have an unfair advantage. Or, he or she may know it exists but chooses not to use it for whatever reason (sportsmanship, or they’re cheap). To use it without disclosing it to your opponent is, at the very least, unsportsmanlike (or “not sporting” if you like gender neutrality). I don’t use assistance I have to pay for and would like to know if my opponent does (unless I regularly defeat them, then I don’t really care :^)). Better to know if you’re on a level playing field. Now that I think about it, I will clear this up with my current opponents.

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