What is a “word nerd?” Courtesy of urbandictionary.com:
A nerd who is good at word-related subjects, such as grammar and foreign languages, rather than math and science like a stereotypical nerd.
Person A: Did you know that the little dot on top of a lowercase letter “i” is called a “tittle”?
Person B: You’re such a Word Nerd.
I would also add that Word Nerds are usually really good at playing word-related games.
It used to be difficult for Word Nerds to get their fix if there wasn’t anyone else around willing to indulge them with the occasional game of Scrabble or Boggle on a rainy day. But thanks to the miracle of the Interwebz, these days the next fix is no further away than your personal mobile device. Bored at home alone, in a long line at the grocery store, delayed flight at the airport… any of these formerly inconvenient and maddening moments that make life suck sometimes are instantly transformed into an opportunity to get your Word Nerd on with these addictive apps. They can, however, also turn into vortexes of time-suckage that become detrimental to all actual productivity. You’ve been warned.
Alec Baldwin was once kicked off a plane because he couldn’t stop playing Words with Friends, a well-done riff on classic Scrabble, and widely regarded as the gold standard of Word Nerd apps. Not all the point values of letters are exactly the same as in the original, nor is the placement of the double and triple squares. But all the fun little obscure two letter words that all Word Nerds know and love (like “QI” and “ZA”) are still in play, as are blank tiles. This app lets you connect to its server through your Facebook account, giving you instant access to games with friends who are already playing. The free version is fully functional and ad-supported, while the full version is very affordable for serious Word Nerds at $2.99. If you play a lot, it’s worth getting rid of the ads. Available on: Android, iPhone/iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet.
Scramble with Friends (also made by Zynga, the company behind Words with Friends) takes the Boggle you know and love to a whole new level. Like its sister app, you can log in using your Facebook account and create games with your friends who are already playing. Go head-to-head in a 3-round battle to see who can find the most words, the longest words, and the words with the highest scores. They’ve added double and triple letter/word tiles and higher point values for certain letters to up the ante when you’re building words, which makes the game a bit more interesting than traditional Boggle. Free version is ad-supported, full version is $2.99. Available on: iPhone, Android.
How many 4+ letter words can you make from all the letters contained in the names of 30 major cities around the world? That’s the challenge of this game. What I like about Textropolis is not only that it’s challenging (I still haven’t managed to crack more than three out of five stars on any of the levels), but you don’t need an internet connection to play it, so it’s great for long flights, camping trips, and other locales where reception sucks. There is also a sister app, Fishtropolis, that follows the same concept, only using the names of different species of fish instead of cities. Both are completely free. Available on: iPhone/iPad.
If you loved classic Tetris as a kid (who didn’t?), then this is the app for you. It employs the basic principles of Tetris (blocks falling faster and faster with each progressive level), but rather than matching colours and shapes to make lines, you must make words out of the letters in the blocks to clear space on your board. This app offers three levels (Easy, Hard, and Extreme) depending on your experience and aptitude, so there’s something for everyone. Additionally, you can choose to challenge yourself in solo mode, play online against opponents in multiplayer games, or enter into weekly tournaments. Letris 2 also bundles the related games Ancronymus and WordMatrix, but I’ll let you explore those for yourself. The free version of the app provides play up to 5 levels on each of the games, and it’s only $0.99 per game to expand to unlimited levels. It also supports 7 languages, so you can play in Spanish, French, German, Italian, and a couple of others. Available on: iPhone/iPad. (Developers have stated they are looking at making an Android version in the future).
This is a unique app that doesn’t appear to be based on any other existing games. Your challenge is to “shoot” letters into position on a circular board and spell out words. Sounds simple, but the twist is that the board will only support 16 letters at a time, so you need to spell out words to clear letters in order to make room for more letters. As you progress through the levels, the challenges become more difficult. You must make more words to finish the level, certain letters become unavailable to you, certain letters that are tougher to use become more common, and your words must be longer. Offline play is available. This is a free app that is ad-supported. Available on: iPhone/iPad.
I feel like this article might be a little too iPhone-centric, being as that’s what I personally use, so if you’re an Android user and know of some great Word Nerd apps, feel free to leave details in the comments!