Gameplay. Scoring. Tips. Statistics. Leaderboards.


SpeedWords Arena™ is a synchronized live-action game where everyone competes at the same time to create the highest scoring board of interconnected words, using the exact same sequence of letter tiles.


Watch the tutorial video!

Start each game by moving letter tiles from the tray to form a valid word that covers the center star on the board.

When the tiles turn green, you've done it!

Continue making words by placing tiles either across (left-to-right) or down (top-to-bottom), so that they interconnect with other valid words.

The instant all of your tiles turn green, you'll get a new tile to play!

Rearrange any of your tiles at any time to fit in new letters!

Just make sure that the center star is always covered by a valid word.

If you get stuck, you can stash a tile in one of your free cells to skip it.

If you fill up all of your free cells and you're still stuck, don't panic! You'll still get new letter tiles every 15 seconds!

Each game lasts 2 1/2 minutes, and there is a 30-second break to tally scores and view your results before the next round starts.

So, there's a new game in the Arena every 3 minutes!


The basic scoring rule is that each word is worth the sum of the point values shown on the tiles that comprise the word.

It is possible to use a single tile in two words (one word going across, and the other word going up-and-down), in which case the tile point value is counted twice (once for each word that contains the tile).

Words that are four tiles or longer give you a length bonus score in addition to the basic score shown on the tile point values. You get a 25% bonus for every tile in a long word, starting with the fourth tile.

So, for example, you get a 25% bonus for a 4-letter word, a 50% bonus for a 5-letter word, and so on. A 7-letter word gives you a double-word (100%) bonus and an 11-letter word gives you a triple-word (200%) bonus. The longest possible word is 15-letters, which would give you a whopping quadruple-word score (300%) bonus!

Tiles that have a star on them ("star tiles") are worth double the score of a normal tile.

So, for example, a normal "Q" tile will show a value of 10 points, but a "Q" tile with a star on it will show a value of 20 points!

There is an additional double-word (2x) bonus for words that are made entirely out of star tiles.

Since star tiles are already worth twice the value of a normal tile, star words give you quadruple-word (4x) bonus over the same word made from normal tiles!

Your total score at the end of each game is the sum of your basic tile score (the tile point values), your long-word bonus, and your star word bonus.

Tips and Strategies

You'll soon find that even though SpeedWords Arena is an easy game to learn, it's very difficult to master! Here are some tips to boost your score in the Arena.

1. Rearrange!

The most important element of the game is rearranging your tiles. It is highly unlikely that you'll be able to play all of your tiles in the order they appear without rearranging.

And if you don't play all of your tiles, you'll pay the 15-second time penalty to get a new tile.

So, rearrange your tiles when necessary to play all of your tiles in order to get more tiles and keep playing at top speed.

The challenge is not to waste too much time rearranging, since you'll also want to play a lot of new tiles!

2. Experiment!

There are more than 175,000 words in the game dictionary (U.S. English only, as of this writing).

If you have a reasonably good vocabulary, you might be familiar with about 20,000 of them.

So, if you get stuck, it's a good idea to try out some new letter combinations and discover new words as you play!

3. Learn some obscure words

There are some obscure words you should know to get you by in a pinch. You can either study word lists (plenty of them online), or find them by experimenting.

Here are some obscure words that I've found to be essential. Learn these words and I guarantee your score will go up!

Some short Q without U words:


Some obscure 2-letter words:


2-letter words with no vowels:


4. Use tiles twice

One way to boost your score is to create a very dense pattern of tiles, so that many of your tiles count twice. This pattern ends up looking like a diagonal "staircase" of tiles.

This works well only up to a point, though, because once your staircase patterns reaches the edge of the board, it's sometimes tricky to get it going in another direction toward an empty area of the board.

In that case, you can break the pattern by creating a long word that gives you more space to connect another word and get your pattern going in a new direction.

5. Make Star Words!

Many of the top-rated players on the leaderboards have mastered the use of star tiles to make star words in order to get big bonus scores.

This is a fairly advanced technique because it requires a quick judgement call as to whether you'll get a higher score by rearranging tiles to make star words, or by using that same time to play additional tiles.

This is a skill that you acquire with practice, and it's part of what makes SpeedWords Arena so challenging to master!


At the end of each game, you can review the following statistics about your performance:

Star BonusThe total number of bonus points scored using star tiles and star words
Length BonusThe total number of bonus points scored using long words (4 or more letters)
Total ScoreThe sum of all of your regular and bonus points
Star WordsThe number of star words on your board
Long WordsThe number of long words on your board
Total WordsThe total number of words on your board
Scored Twice %The percentage of the tiles on your board that are used in two words (across and down)
Total TilesThe total number of valid tiles played on your board
Rearranging %The percentage of moves of tiles that were previously part of a valid word
Total MovesThe total number of moves made during your game


If you're really competitive, you can shoot for a top position in one of the leaderboards.

Note that all leaderboard results are delayed by up to 10 minutes.

1. Rating

The rating leaderboard lists players in order of their estimated relative skill levels.

The only thing you really need to know about this leaderboard is that you move up the ranks by beating other players in the Arena, and that you move up more quickly by beating players that have a higher rating.

So, if you want to skip the details, now is the time to move on to the next section. :)

The difference between two player ratings is an indicator of the probable outcome of an Arena match between those two players.

If two players have the same rating, the most probable outcome is a tie in the Arena.

If one player is rated higher than the other, the most probable outcome is a win for the higher rated player in the Arena.

The larger the difference between the two player ratings, the larger the predicted difference between the two player scores in an Arena match.

Ratings are adjusted at the end of each game based on the difference between the predicted results for each player versus the actual results.

So, if a higher rated player beats a lower rated player exactly as predicted, neither player rating changes.

However, if the higher rated player wins by a bigger or smaller margin than predicted, both players ratings are adjusted upward or downward accordingly.

Each player is measured against every other player in a given game and receives the average of all of the individual rating adjustments for that game.

Partial games (games where you enter the Arena when the game is already in progress) do not affect your rating.

Typically, you will reach an equilibrium on the leaderboard, somewhere between players that usually beat you, and the players that you usually beat.

You must play at least 25 games to participate in this leaderboard.

If you don't play for a long time, you will lose your position in this leaderboard.

If you come back to the game, you'll start where you left off, but it will take a few games before you show up in the leaderboard again, in order to be sure we get an accurate measurement of your current skill (since you've probably gotten rusty).

Ratings are divided into levels of 200 points each. Players rated 0-199 are Level 1, players rated 200-399 are level 2, and so on.

(For even more information, you can read about the Elo rating system that forms the basis for this algorithm.)

2. Arena Wins

This leaderboard ranks players by the total number of times that they have won first place in an Arena game.

3. Total Score

This leaderboard ranks players by the total number of points that they have accumulated in the Arena.

4. High Score

This leaderboard ranks players by their all-time high scores in the Arena.

Have fun!

The most important thing is to have fun playing! Don't worry if you're not at the top of the leaderboards right away.

And do try playing the game with a friend sometime, especially if you're together in the same place!

It's a whole lot of fun to complain loudly about the tiles while you play, not to mention intimidating your competition with a flurry of those "new word" sounds!

—The SpeedWords Arena Team