Growing Pains + Lack-of-Growth Pains = Major Pain

As everyone who has been playing Word Skill lately knows, we’ve been having a ton of problems, which sometimes make the game completely unusable.  I’d love to say that we know what is causing the problems and that we have a big team working on it to fix them, but unfortunately that is not the case.

NOTE: If Word Skill doesn’t respond quickly, you should shut it down and come back later. Don’t keep trying, you’ll just get frustrated.

We had huge hopes for Word Skill.  We thought, and still think, it’s a great game.  But, the userbase has not grown at the rate we had hoped.  I won’t tell you how much it cost to create the game, but I’ll tell you there were five zeroes before the decimal point and to us, that’s a lot of money.  We don’t have Zynga‘s or EA‘s budget, unfortunately.

We have about 1,000 players per day now between Facebook, iOS and Android.  Imagine, if you will, that about 1% of those players spends about $1.99 with us every year.  Now imagine that because the players change, we actually get about 10,000 players in the year.  One percent of 10,000 is 100.  100 x $1.99 = $199.  So, off of people buying coins and paying not to see ads, we are lucky if we make $20 per month.  “Ahh, but you make money off of ads!” I hear you saying.  And it’s true.  That’s about another $30/month, if we’re lucky.  So, on a good month, we make $50 on the game.  These aren’t our exact numbers, but they’re pretty close.  Unfortunately (again), our costs for keeping the servers running are much more than that.  And the developers who created the game, who were great, are no longer available to us, so we have to try to fix the problems we’re having with Word Skill on our own, which has proved difficult.

So, where does that leave us?  We want to keep the game available for those of you who have come to love it (and for ourselves as we love to play it too), but we really can’t guarantee that we’ll ever fix the problems that we’re having with the game.  We hope to, of course, but we just don’t know if we’ll be able to.

We get quite a few emails every day from frustrated players.  From now until things change (if they do), I’ll be pointing them to this post.

Believe me, I feel your pain. I am really really sorry that the game isn’t working better.  And I really really, and a lot more reallies (sp?), hope that we somehow, some time are able to make it work better again.

Nat, Word Skill co-founder

For Our Mom and Her Friends Who Want to Play Word Skill

Our mom loves us.  She brought us up playing word games like SCRABBLE and Boggle.  And she’s super proud of us for creating Word Skill, which she loves.  She even bought an iPad just to play it.  Mom also wants all of her friends to play the game that her kids made, both because she loves it and because she wants to help us.  We love her too. And we want to help her help us make Word Skill huge, which is why I’m writing this. Continue reading

Word Play, Math, Cheating, and Having a Tail (or Not)

In tournament SCRABBLE, playing a phony word isn’t considered cheating, because your opponent has the opportunity to challenge your word. I’ve heard of people playing a phony word, say FAULTER (not valid, but plausible), that goes unchallenged and then challenging when their opponents try to extend the word (e.g, FAULTERS). It may be a little nasty, but it’s not cheating. Continue reading

Word Game for City of Syracuse

One of the features of Word Skill that we’re really excited about is Ongoing Open Games, which can be played by 100s (even 1000s) of people at once. Ongoing Open Games provide a cool, low-commitment way for people to connect with different social groups. Each day, participating players in the group would only make one move and be able to see who made the best move the previous day. The more enthusiastic word game players will want to have some 1-on-1 Word Skill games going as well as those games will tend to move along faster allowing for multiple plays per day. But even casual players can probably find the time to make one move each day in an Ongoing Open Game, and if they miss a day, it’s no big deal. They can participate as much or as little as they want to. Although, to have a chance at winning the game, players will need to try to get their moves in every day. Continue reading

Is DI a word?

Yesterday, in my What is a word? And why do word games disagree? post, I mentioned that DA is acceptable in some word games, but not in others. Another such word is DI. DI is acceptable in SOWPODS and Words with Friends, but not in OWL. According to, DI is the plural of DEUS, which means “a god.” So, naturally, DEUS is valid in SOWPODS. But, oddly, it is not valid in Words with Friends. Perhaps DI has some other meaning as well, but I wasn’t able to find it.

So, the question for you is should DI be valid in Word Skill? Currently, it is not. If you have an opinion, you can vote on it on our Facebook page. If we do add it to our word list, we will also add the singular form: DEUS.

UPDATE (1/3/2013):  The vote is in: 203 to 134. We’ll be adding DI to the word list.

What is a word? And why do word games disagree?

Why can you play DA in Words with Friends®, but not in SCRABBLE®?  Actually, you can play it in Scrabble, just not in North American Scrabble. In the UK and Australia, DA is perfectly acceptable. What’s it mean? According to the Australian Scrabble site, a DA is a Burmese heavy knife. It’s helpful to know what it means. That way, you know you can add an S to make DAS, which is dandy. I mean, it’s dandy if you’re playing Scrabble in the UK or Australia. But, it’s not so dandy for Word Skill players, Continue reading

Private Live Games

Yesterday, I posted about Open Live Games, but you can play Live Games with just your friends and family too. In Live Games, the next turn begins immediately after the current turn ends, and you play through until you finish the game. No pausing to take a phone call or go to the bathroom. It’s just a rush of making words fast and furiously for about an hour. Continue reading

Open Live Games in Word Skill

If you want to play a quick game of Word Skill, in which you can make a lot of moves in a row without waiting, a Live Game is a great option. In Live Games, the next turn begins immediately after the current turn ends, and you play through until you finish the game. The game takes just over an hour to complete and can be played one-on-one or with 1000s of participants. Continue reading