You RESIGN?!! I Don’t Understand…


In a moment of extreme weakness I joined Words With Friends.  I was fully aware of how addictive it could become for a self-employed game-addict such as myself, but it was late and I was itching for a word game.  Let’s just say that one thing lead to another and any day now I’m going to need to find a group to help battle my Scramble With Friends addiction.  But I don’t want to talk about how addictive these games are – instead I want to address the “Resign” button that these games include.  

The first Words with Friends games I played I won because the other player “resigned.” The score was 335 to 236 and 13 tiles remained, so I celebrated my victory and looked for another random player.  The second time, the same thing happened only this time there were more than three times as many tiles left and immediately after they resigned they requested to play me again!  I was speechless!  I’ve never been a great Scrabble player and I really struggle with the end of the game because I never bothered to study the long list of crazy 2 and 3 letter words that, when placed correctly on a Scrabble board, may earn a savvy opponent 20+ points to my single-digit moves.  But here, I’ve chalked up two victories in games with loads of tiles left! 

Call me old school but I was taught that you play a game to the end.  You don’t just give up part way in because you feel that you got off on the wrong foot.  Sure, I know that there are games that have a “slaughter rule” providing a quick end for the losing player or team, and I’m okay with that.  If I’m getting squashed in bags or ping-pong, please put me out of my misery.   In those games there is a minimum amount of game you must play before you can gracefully accept defeat but I also understand conceding when there are only a handful of Scrabble tiles left and it’s obvious that there is no hope of a comeback.  But what are we saying by allowing players to quit after 2-3 bad turns or whenever else they want?  Is it okay to call a “do-over”?

Maybe we’ve been playing games on our phones and computers for so long, hitting the reset button when we get tiles we don’t like, that we’ve forgotten that there’s someone playing against us out there in the ether.  In this digital age we can easily hide behind our avatars ignoring those lessons of being good winners and losers that we learned in pre-school.  So I ask, is the respect we showed to our opponents in the past coming to an end because of digital gaming?  Are we all out for the win when it comes to playing board games turned apps online?  Well, not me.  And while I’ve yet to complete a Words with Friends game without my opponent resigning, I am playing a real life friend who promises she’ll play to the end.


38 thoughts

  1. How can you get Zynga to address wins with the computer that have been posted up as losses on your score board

  2. Glad to know others feel the same about resigning early just because you are losing, poor sportsmanship. Another problem I have is those who only want to play so they can flirt and if you’re not agreeable to that they quit on you. It’s not a dating sight, they have sites for that if that’s what you’re looking for.

  3. What I don’t understand is that I keep RESIGNING my games.
    I’ve NEVER resigned any of my games… But WORD says that I did… I was playing a game against my wife and we were only 3 words into the game… She had played 2 word to my one and was 8 points ahead. I had great letters
    (V, Z & F along with 4 vowels). Why would I resign? Well I didn’t… This is not the first time this has happened… Is there a time limit? (I’m a slow player.)

  4. I admitted that I do resign the game as courtesy when opponent has outscored me by 100+ because it not possible to catch up or the opponent. Scoring high scoring or outscore is also considering as unsportsmanship. It is just waste of time.

  5. I resign on WWF when the opponent has not played in 5 days. I know this counts as a loss for me but I do not waste space on people that don’t play daily

  6. I have resigned when I’m certain that the other player is using a “cheat”. There’s no point and I hope they are frustrated at not being able to claim a “victory”. Nothing like a good (fair) word game!!!

  7. Kim,
    This is a long thread, but I thought to respond to it. I play Words With Friends and I play it like I used to play chess. In chess you lose either by being checkmated or you lose by resigning. So some games I play to the bitter end, but others I might resign with a few tiles outstanding. I play well enough that I know I could score 100+ points in one move PROVIDED certain tiles are still in play. I think in order not to be rude a player should play most of the game out, but the resign button is there for a reason. What if something really serious has come up in your life and you have to give up game playing. I have resigned games I was winning simply because I had to attend to something really important – I did send apology notes to the other players, but I could see there’d be situations where you might not have enough time to do that.

  8. I only resign when a player hasn’t taken their turn in 3 days. I feel that’s plenty of time to make a move, and if they haven’t after three days, they probably have no intention of finishing the game. Very frustrating. If you don’t want to play, don’t accept the game in the first place!

  9. I am a huge Words With Friends player – have always loved scrabble. I am very selective of who I play with because of that reason and also people cheating – which you can always tell when they cheat. I just don’t accept their game requests. Who really wins when someone is cheating?

  10. Anyone know of a way to block players who have ever resigned a game? I don’t care the reason, if you ever resign a game don’t waste my time.

  11. I pay a lot of attention to my average score, checking it after a win or loss. My understanding is that if someone resigns, they lose. My question is even if I show a win, how does it affect my score? Thank you.

  12. Hello. I’m new to online word games.I’ve been playing since April. I play FB scrabble. I never knew there were stats and this force forfeit thing. Some of my current opponents haven’t played in 1 day so I’ve NUDGED them. How long need I wait before clicking the force forfeit button and what does force forfeit false mean? I’ve never resigned and never would. I agree that you play from beginning to finish for thr love of the game and gamesmanship.I love word games but don’t want to become an obsessive ‘jugular’ (now there’S a word!)manic player just out to win. Also are there any rules about whether it’s OK to use the search word feature in the sidebar thing above the 2 word list? Thanks!

  13. Can I just say, I don’t understand when words with friends says I resigned from games, and they disappear from my game board, and appear a lot later saying I resigned, and not only that I was in the lead, what happens there. I know I have never resigned from a game ????

  14. The WWF app resigns me even when my opponent is in agreement when my work loads are heavy. I had great letters (Zs,Js,Bs,Ys & blanks) + I NEVER Resign. WWF resigned me from 2 games in the last 2 days (strangers had invited me) & I was AHEAD! I have seen others who report the WWF resigning players in 36 hours. I travel off grid & had major work deadlines where it’s hard to keep up with more than my 86 year old father’s games. Maybe these other opponents were victims of auto-resign. I hate it.
    It once was 22 days without a move but half that now & I as I reported earlier, even 36 hours for some. I hate that Zynga changed. I cannot work, tend family & keep plays going when traveling or work is crazy. Plus this past week I had computer issues & won’t play on my phone. If my opponents don’t mind-they have multiple games going–why should Zynga? I sent a Customer Service complaint/request for how to stop auto resign or reinstate games. Not holding my breath. So those other of you who posted about this Auto-Resign. It’s likely called for time. Idiotic. Never had it happen in Scrabble!

  15. Here’s another scenario. I was introduced to the game by a friend. Now, I play when I’m in the mood but that’s not every day or every several days. I can go for a while without logging on. I’ve actually “lost” games where I was way ahead just because I had pushed it to the side for a week+. I come back ready to play but I’ve “lost” because of the asinine time constraints built into the game. That really soured me.

  16. Another annoying thing about having an opponent resign the game early on: yes, you get the win, but a score of say 167 trashes your average game score.

  17. All of my Words with Friends games say I resigned when I did not…anyone else have this happen?

  18. I’m in the camp that agrees ya play the game to the end. It’s good sportsmanship to allow the winner his high score against you. Ya gotta take your lumps! I wouldn’t think of resigning and in so doing cut someone’s points for their victory! How petty! Now, someone resigned, disallowing a natural finish to our game and affectively knocking down my game score, and I go to ask him in a message,” how come you resigned?”, but as the game is over I actually hit “rematch”! What do I do to get out of this? I don’t want to lose, I want to disengage! Can I not form a word and it will time out? Help!

  19. So I want to know, if someone resigns while playing WWF do they get the lost and you receive the win?

  20. I’ve played a certain opponent many times before and enjoyed the game but then they developed the habit of resigning early, or declining. Whether they’re ahead of me or behind in score makes no difference. They are listed at the top of my score board to so what is going on? Do they do this tonothers too, as a way of getting ahead? I don’t understand. It is common courtesy and for me, I enjoy the game and don’t spoil it for others by this behavior. I haven’t found this to happen with anyone else. I agree it is just common courtesy to play to the end. I play a game to enjoy and learn, whether I win or lose.

  21. I’m with you Cindy — it really takes the pleasure away from the win when someone resigns after they know they’re going to lose. It’s sad there are so many people who do that sort of thing just to improve their stats.

  22. I just played a random game where the opponent resigned in a very close game where I was going to win. I had two tiles left. The opponent resigned and I checked our head to head stats and saw that I did not get the win, so I have a feeling they did not get the loss. I have also noticed that the people who resign in this fashion tend to have very high win stats. I consider this cheating and it’s difficult to be impressed with their wins when they manipulate their scores.

  23. When I’m winning, I have an opponent who has begun to resign toward the end of the game if it’s obvious to him that he is losing. (He would have won one of these times, but he got upset and just resigned because the THOUGHT he couldn’t win.) Now He resigns every time he is losing.
    Does this take away my win?

  24. I play to play. The game is over when you are out of tiles or out of moves. Yea if I win or Shoot I lost, but I play the game to play not just to win! I hate when someone resigns. Not out to just collect wins but to play a game I love and learn new words and get better by watching how others play. Wanna play? 😀

  25. What I cannot find online is whether the player who resigns manages to avoid a “loss” against his or her career record (and, coincidentally, deprives the opponent of a “win”). Do you know?

  26. One more pitch for forgiving those of us who forfeit/resign in Games with Strangers….
    You could also think of it like you’re in a poker game, and one player just ‘knows when to hold ’em, knows when to fold ’em…knows when to walk away, knows when to run…’ in the immortal words of Kenny Rogers…
    And on another note, it’s sorta like one of those marathon Monopoly games when your brother, sister or cousin had Boardwalk, Park Place and all the utilities and railroads, and the game lasted a week…
    Now I’m sure I’ve ‘beaten the horse to death’, in the immortal words of Peggy Brown.
    Time to sleep….zzzz

  27. I just posted your column to all my opponents on Words with Friends. Fortunately, I know them all and none of them quit.

  28. That is an interesting perspective Colleen, thanks for sharing!
    Like I said in the article above I’m okay with the resignation if it’s towards the end of the game and there’s no hope (and I love that you send a note saying good game!) BUT I do wonder about the people who start off on the wrong foot and resign after only a couple turns. There is a catch up factor in these word games and just because you start off a little slow isn’t a sure-fire indictor that you’re going to lose. I understand that it’s frustrating to drag out a losing game for a couple days but it’s impossible for everyone to win! Still, maybe it’s just my competitive nature that gives me joy in a great comeback (even if I get close and still lose!)

  29. Okay, for another perspective, so many players in these online word games (I play FB Scrabble) just abandon the game for hours or days on end, and if I am losing and have no hope of getting anything going (i.e. I KNOW what letters are left and what is possible score-wise) I end the game by forfeiting, because, the agony might be drawn out for ‘the days’ as my 21 year old son might say. I will often in the chat say ‘good game, got nothing to work with’ but I’ve played about 500 of these games in the past few years, and it’s just not worth sticking it out to the bitter end, which might be agony for days, if I’m 100 points behind with no prospects…that being said, I did not forfeit on you in any game, Ms. Vandenbrouke, and would never forfeit on a friend. Hope this allows some perspective…your random players who’ve played a lot of games, know the odds and are only minimizing a long and torturous defeat they know is inevitable. On another subject, don’t EVEN get me started on the cheat sites….;-)

  30. Kim – For what it’s worth, I’ll happily take you on at Words With Friends or Scramble With Friends (which has quickly become my new favorite also). And I promise, I don’t EVER resign a game. Like you, I feel cheated out of a victory when the opponent just resigns. That’s like winning a baseball game because the other team left while losing in the 6th inning.

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