How do you choose which word to play in a game of Wordbase? Sometimes it’s an easy decision: if you can only see one word to play, or one of the words you can see will win the game, then play that one. But most of the time you’ll be able to see at least two words you could play next, and unless you like losing more often than you should, then you’ll want to give this some thought. My basic strategy for Wordbase is that the word you play should achieve one or more of the following list, so you should probably rule out any words that don’t do at least one of:
- Get your chain closer to your opponent’s base
- Make your chain stronger
- Make your opponent’s chain weaker
- Push your opponent’s chain further away from your base
Next you need to think about the situation and your immediate objective. This might make it simple. Is your opponent about to win? Then stop them. Are they close to cutting off an important chunk of your chain? Then reinforce your chain or push them away.
But let’s imagine you’re in a normal battle situation, in contact with your opponent, somewhere in the middle of the board. Then you just play the longest word you can see, right? Or surely the one that gets you closest to their base? Well, probably not. Or at least not without thinking about it first. Why not? Because your opponent is going to respond to what you do.
If you want to out-perform your vocabulary then step one is to start thinking at least one move ahead.
Before you play a word, think about the likely reply. A long word that your opponent can cut off easily may be worse than a shorter word – because you could play the long word later in the game when your opponent has run out of good responses. So try this: Type in your word, but don’t tap the tick, instead flip your screen around and look at what your opponent will see.
There are still plenty of times when you should play the longest word you can:
- If it reduces your opponent’s squares, cutting their options to strike back
- If it claims a key square that you have other options for re-claiming when your opponent takes it back
- If you’re confident your opponent can’t cut it off
- If you just like playing aggressively
- If you really want to
Most of all, remember it’s your game. Feel free to ignore all of this advice, especially if you’re ever playing Wordbase against me; I’ll be much happier if you do. 😉 For lots more advice on word choices, game phases, key squares or other elements of Wordbase strategy, check out my website at www.wordbaseguide.co.uk.