Zynga, a San Francisco-based gaming company, reported that there are about 57 million matches around the world on “Words With Friends” at all times. The company is describing the game as a forever franchise, stating it will last through the decades of time. It has been eight years since the original game came out. Zynga stated on Wednesday that it was going to launch a sequel, like the original game, and that it’s going to be free.

New ways to play

For anyone who hasn’t played the game, they are a virtual version of “Scrabble.” It’s a word game that allows players to score points by setting words down on a board.

Points gained varies by the complexity and placement of the word. The app also allows players to play with other friends.

Zynga states that the game gives players more ways to challenge friends and our brains than ever before. New features allows players to play without friends. The sequel added a solo mode called, Solo Challenge, where players can play against fictional characters that vary in difficulty. The board features a compact version of the classic grid and each player has five moves, normally players get 18 moves. Players can beat their opponents and win virtual prizes while waiting for friends to play their next move.

Zynga plans to release a new set of characters and themes twice a month.

Words with Friends 2” also introduces new power-ups that give players hints on the best word to play.

The game features another mode called, Lightning Round. As the name suggests, it has exhilarating gameplay that will keep players on their toes.Two teams of five go against each other in real time. Each player starts with a board, has to spell a word, and then passes it on to the next player.

This fast-paced team matches test players word-building skills.

The sequel also displays a new user interface. Lead designer, Michelle David, said it has lighter colors and bigger fonts to make the game feel more modern and less dark. The layout is also less cluttered, which makes navigation and maneuvering much easier. The update allows users to get the definition of a word by tapping it in the game board.

There are now “virtual goods” that can be purchased with “coins.” If players want to play new levels right away, in the Solo Challenge, they must use coins to open them. The coins can also be used to purchase “boosts” that assist in gameplay. One boost called, “Word Radar” gives players a preview of all possible placements for a certain letter tile.

Players can now collect unique badges while playing and completing weekly challenges. They have also added 50,000 new words to the dictionary that were inspired by players, online communication, and pop culture references. Zynga called the expansion, “Social Dictionary.” Words such as, “turnt,” “bestie, and “hangry” were added. Zynga stated that they are wanting to evolve with players and aren’t going to focus on correctness from a dictionary perspective.

It also allows players to view their usage stats to see how creative their words are compared to other players.

Anyone who has purchased “Words with Friends Pro” or the removal of third-party ads in the original “Words with Friends” will carry over to “Words with Friends 2.” For anyone who hasn’t put any money into removing ads or getting the premium version will find that there are several advertisements in-between gameplay and as of right now there isn’t a way to remove them.

Players don't have to update

The challenge the company had was to develop something new without disrupting existing players. Zynga didn’t want to force players to update so they decided to provide the sequel as an entirely different app.

It’s nice to see Zynga putting their players first. The game is now available on ios and Android.

If you decide to update, know that all your friends and matches will transfer over to the new version, even if you were in the middle of a match. When you use the new version it will start where you left off. Zynga is making sure that all versions of the game will be compatible.