Declined matches

Written by Don

I propose to change the rules for declined matches because I believe that currently they do not properly address several situations. For example suppose Player1 opens with DI. Player2 accidentally declines. Claiming an automatic victory here seems excessively punitive. Now suppose Player1 opens with a 70 point bingo. Player2 declines. Even in this case I believe an automatic victory is not quite the optimal solution. Player2 should have played at a disadvantage but certainly would not lose 100% of the time, which is what the rule implies.

What about option (b) of observing a handicap equal to the lead? Again justice is not quite served because Player2 would have had right of response which means that Player1 should have gone into move 3 with a lead of somewhat less than 70 points. Option (c) of restarting with no handicap suffers similarly in that it completely erodes the big advantage that should have accrued to Player1 from opening with a bingo. My solution is to institute a mandatory rematch such that Player1 gets a handicap equal to the opening move less an adjustment to account for what Player2 would have scored. Determining the adjustment is difficult but in the face of uncertainty my preference is to choose a number that slightly favors Player1. I certainly do not want to introduce any incentives to deliberately decline. The number I am choosing is 20.

So my full proposal for the rule is as follows:

DECLINED GAMES – If a player declines the opening move, the procedure is as follows:

a) Mutually agreed upon solution – this is the preferred option. If the players can come to mutually agreeable terms then that agreement supersedes all of the following rules
b) Mandatory rematch – If the players cannot agree then this triggers a mandatory rematch subject to the following conditions:
i) A normal daily challenge match is played. The person who opened the match in dispute also opens the rematch
ii) At the end of the match the player who opened the match has an upward score adjustment equal to the opening move in the declined match less 20 points. Regardless of the opening score, players never have points deducted. Some examples follow:

- Opened with 6 point move: 0 adjustment
- Opened with 20 point move: 0 adjustment
- Opened with 29 point move: +9 point adjustment
- Opened with 70 point move: +50 point adjustment

I would like some time to hear feedback and then plan to have the rule in place by round 20.

Categories: Tournament Rules

55 Responses to “Declined matches”

  1. Irene kidd says:

    If someone declines game why do I not recieve a win ? Have rules changed ?

  2. Diane says:

    Please, somehow create a way to reinstate a game that was accidently! Declined. (thought I was being asked to accept a challenge on yet ANOTHER game besides the new screen I had already seen.)
    It’s frustrating and disheartening to the other player, besides unfairly counted as a “loss” as others have complained about. But overall thanks for a great pastime

  3. Malcolm McKay says:

    Great game.

    My main gripe is sometimes words aren’t accepted which are in the Oxford Dictionary. Go figure.

    Keep up the great work WWF.

    Beats the hell out of stupid, mindless slot machine games which only encourage idiots to gamble. I can’t work these people out.

  4. Sue says:

    WWF should take a lesson from the the makers of UPWORDS! They have the challenge rules the way they should be! Whoever sends a challenge can not begin a game. They can not play a word until that challenge is accepted. If the challenge is accepted then the game continues on normally. If the challenge is declined then the game is canceled. No winner, No loser. You should have a choice of who you want to play or who you don’t want to play … without being penalized!

    • Malcolm McKay says:

      Totally agree. If I decline, there shouldn’t be a penalty. If I choose to compete, then the initiator should begin.

      Although I think the initiator of the game is at a distinct disadvantage in every game I’ve played.

      I have an average game score of 35. Higher than I have seen. Love the game, but find it difficult to get someone to challenge me.

      All the best, Mal

  5. Angelo Logrippo says:

    You shouldn’t have to have a loss for declining a challenge. Especially because I’m playing 4 games with them now. How many do you want me to play with the same person.

    • Jacqueline Harris says:

      You do NOT receive a loss for declining a challenge, whether it’s from an existing opponent or a new one. I have been playing WWF since 2012 and routinely decline challenges. Never have I or my opponent been assessed a loss or win. All stats remain unchanged, and it has always been this way.

  6. personinahouse says:

    So I was in the middle of a game with a friend and later that day it said that the player had declined in the. Idle of a game. How do you do this?

  7. Shanon says:

    When wwf asks you yoncreate a game with someone that you’ve played in te past is this the person requesting a game or just wwf trying to get us to play each other again?

  8. Emma says:

    I hate it when player leave it nearly a week when you’ve randomly selected them to play and they haven’t even started if it’s their turn first to place their letters. There should be a time period button to press – if a player is lacking in a speedy response to your game request.

    • nan says:

      Why can’t it be that no one plays until the challenge is accepted? If someone declines, then there’s no game, no winner or loser.

      • Luke says:

        I completely agree with “nan”. No one should be able to even make a move until both parties have accepted. Further more, if you decline a game someone has started (without consulting you first) than declining should not count as a loss.

      • Dave says:

        I agree too. It bothers me that my record reflects losses because I declined to play. And I decline before I have seen anything. Just don’t want to play the person.

        • Jacqueline Harris says:

          I’m sorry but you are incorrect. I have been playing WWF since 2014 and routinely am challenged by an existing opponent or a new one. Yes, of course the challenger plays his/her word and THEN the challenge is presented to you. You WILL see a score showing you at 0 since you have not yet taken your turn.

          However, it is at this point, even if the challenger has swapped or passed on his initial play, that you THEN decide whether to accept or decline the invitation to play. If you decline, the game immediately ceases and NEITHER player is charged with a loss or a win. All stats remain unchanged. It has ALWAYS been this way from the first day I played.

      • Carol Gosse says:

        I totally agree, I resent having to play a game with no chance to accept or decline.

      • Karen says:

        I have the same question. This just happened to me when someone who had initiated another game was playing against me and then declined when it was clear he’d lose that one (but has stayed in.the one where he’s up). But the declined game is not marked as a win for me– and now I can’t do the same on the other match without resigning. How can this be ok? Is this a glitch? It would be one thing to decline up front but how can someone pull out after playing for days without consequence, due to being a sore loser?

    • Malcolm McKay says:

      I agree with Nan too.

      You find it funny some of us here can’t spell? lol

  9. Claudia says:

    I just don’t want unsolicited challengers. How can I stop them?

  10. Bob says:

    I like the Scrabble system. If you haven’t made any moves, then you can decline a game without penalty. If you make even one move, to quit is to lose.

    • Malcolm McKay says:

      Totally agree with you Bob.

    • Karen says:

      Agree. I am new and recently had someone decline mid-game– and noticed this same player stayed in another match in which he’s ahead. The declined match isn’t counted as a win for me, even though we were nearly done. But Now I only see an option to “resign” the other game- which would mean taking the loss. Don’t really want to play against someone who will only stay in matches if they are ahead, so I will not play this player again. But can’t get Zynga to tell me how the player was able to do this.

  11. Kevin says:

    Someone wants to rematch me, I click “No” and it says they beat me.

    Makes no damn sense.

    If a salesperson offers to sell you something and you decline it, do you steal have to pay for it – of course not.

    Where’s the logic in that ?

    • Sonya says:

      I started declining games because I knew I would not have time to play. I didn’t realize they all would count as losses. Odd! I was playing a ton of games due to being on vacation and just didn’t want to accept more additional games than I could finish. When you start one game are you committing to play forever? Is there another way to control how many games you will play? (Should I have “resigned”, or ???) There has got to be an option other than losing just because –after playing nonstop for several days–you need to pause your gameplaying for a bit, right?

  12. Beth says:

    What happens if you decline by mistake. It won’t let me redo it. .Hmmmph

  13. Bill says:

    I think it’s dumb that the declined game counts at all. The scenario I’m usually in is when I pick a random opponent for which I give a thorough beatdown (e.g. 548 to 135). Clearly this person was a weak player so I have no interest in playing him/her aynmore. But he/she decides to rematch me. So I decline it, but now it counts as a loss for me and a victory to that ‘weaker’ player. How bout count only those games that both parties accept and agree to play? It’s not hard to change the ‘rematch’ rules.

    • Ed says:

      This just happened to me, I played a random opponent and beat them badly, rematch and beat them even worse. I don’t wish to play them again and decline another match and it says they beat me. Ridiculous !!!!

  14. Will says:

    Help! I just started playing and just learned about how completely idiotic the decline/beat process is. I just beat a player and was last to play. When it popped up, I clicked on decline instead of rematch, then clicked on dismiss. A few minutes later a game started with the other player so I declined again. It now says the other player beat me. Can someone explain to me how the heck that happened?

  15. Orceles says:

    Currently standing, from the time i began playing this game to my retirement, I’ve played around 36 games, of which the first 31 i won in a row against anyone that challenged me, lost once and then won 4 more. In due time, i realized that when i wanted to retire, so that i can play only with certain friends, that i did not have the authority to decline a match within causing a loss. This hardly sounds fair and is extremely non practical simply because i cannot choose who i want to play. Unless i make a choice whether to decline or accept, i cannot move on to play anyone else (facebook). This seems ridiculous to me, as a champion who does not want a loss on his record for something like declining a game and choosing who and when to play.

    • Smilingeyes@you says:

      Yeah I hate that about the game! I should not lose just because I don’t want to play certain people!

  16. Christine says:

    I am always accidentally declining games when I asked to create a game in the first place. I hate that there isn’t a way to undo an accidental decline. I don’t know why I have to accept or decline anyway when I asked to create a game.

  17. Inga says:

    I’ve just declined a game by mistake, and would have liked to change my decline to accept. I think the problem would be solved if WWF had a button which cancelled the decline and reactivated the game. That way there could be no dispute and those of us who had accidentally decline (in al honesty) would be able to continue the game.

  18. bluefirelight says:

    My view is that rules for games should be kept simple.
    What you suggested makes sense from pedantic perspective, but it just adds complication.

    Even if a person plunks down a 70 point word on his first move, it is part skill, part luck. He definitely had no idea he would be get this set of letters when he picked you as his opponent, right?
    In any case, if you are seriously better than him/her, you will still have a good chance of beating him over the next 100 letters…

    Like many games in life, winning is always part skill and part luck.
    Keep the old rule.

    My 2 cts worth

    • Jason says:

      I agree about the complication but still one should have freedom to turn down an opponent without repercussion. They’re reasons for doing so are myriad, from avoiding non-competition to simply wanting to put the game down for a while.

  19. Alicia says:

    Declining a game simply means that, a player did not wish to engage in the match. Even though declining a game could have been done in error, I think the current rules should remain in place and it is at the sole discretion of the player that did not resign from the game to call ot a win or agree to initiate a new game.

  20. Zeke says:

    I agree with the general consensus here. The proposal, while obviously carefully generated, would be too confusing. I suppose it’s possible to accidentally resign a game because you’re multi-tasking. To that I’d say, serves you right. If I had to resign because of stupidity on my part, I can almost guarantee you it wouldn’t happen again. That’s life. And as far as people who resign on move 2 after move 1 was a bingo, no sympathy there at all! After all, what’s the difference if someone plays a 70-point word on move 1 or on move 21? It’s still something that has to be overcome. And anyone who wants to win anything better be willing to overcome a lot. So, again, I say, either way…if you resign, you resign. Slow your life down just enough to where you control your phone, not the other way around.

  21. Justine says:

    I have both accidentally declined and resigned. It happens when you are running around multi-tasking and you don’t close the app before you shove it in your pocket.

    When I did this out of my own clumsiness, my oops were gracious about starting new games. But if they decided not too, I think it would have been right for me to accept the defeat.

    You have to ‘ve careful about this. I’m glad I ended ip losing the game I resigned from because if I had won, I would have felt undeserved, esp since the opp was leading.

    I think the opponent should make the call, and the decliner should accept it

  22. mike b says:

    I think things should remain as they are. The new rule seems to convoluted and it appears that it will only add on more confusion. I find almost impossible to accidentally decline a game and if one does so then the player should lose that game. Unless of course the other player agrees for a restart of the game.

    • cb says:

      How is it “almost impossible to accidentally decline a game”? There are 2 buttons, yes and no, right next to each other and if you hit the decline option it doesn’t stop and ask “are you sure?” It asks if you are sure only when you click to RESIGN the game.

      Putting in a way to un-decline a game would not undermine simplicity, and if you don’t want to use it, then don’t.

  23. Nate says:

    Why doesn’t the app allow random starts? On any physical board we’d draw to see who gets to make or decline the first move. If enough users requested a setting that randomized the opening move regardless of who “invites” the game, the developers would likely accommodate the request. In the meantime, once the game is afoot, deal with it. There are too many variables and points to be had to quit based on an opening move, even if it’s a bingo. Declining should equal forefeiture.

    • Don says:

      I could get the system to assign random starts. For example I could change the emails to say


      It’s just a matter of whether this will introduce excessive confusion, disputes and compliance issues

  24. tracybal says:

    Seems awfully complicated to me. If you decline (accidentally or otherwise) you lose the game, everyone knows the rule and it takes the onus off of deciding whether it was accidental or not. (I’ve played hundreds of games and only ever declined once by accident, very early on – it can’t be a common problem surely?)

    I mean it’s unfortunate if you do it accidentally but you’ll probably only make that mistake once:)

  25. Debby says:

    I have another scenario for you. What if Player 1 has a bingo in his hand and passes the first play to allow himself an even greater play with the bingo by working off Player 2′s opening play? Does Player 2 have any recourse? Or is that just considered strategic playing on the part of Player 1?

    • Don says:

      I don’t see any problems with a player using that strategy. However if enough people think that is an issue than I am happy to open up another channel of discussion.

      • Bloggermark says:

        In my view, the only effective deterrent against resigning on purpose is the threat of game loss. If the opponent chooses to be gracious, it should be up to him/her and no one else.

        • Opus61 says:

          I am in FULL agreement with Bloggermark. I have played perhaps thousands of games and I have never “accidentally declined” a game! This is a tournament, it should be fun…and it almost always is. But, I have very little patience with unethical players who “accidentally decline” games. In any real tournament, whether it be chess, sports, or high school competition, teams and players simply cannot “take back” a mistake.

          We want to keep the community spirit alive……and, it is. However, the larger the population, the greater the variation & extremes (standard deviation). We should have a rule in place that we are not afraid to enforce. Rules and laws are generally created to protect the masses from the extreme variants (am I getting carried away…..?!?)

          I know you want to continue to forge a solid foundation of inclusiveness. I’m not sure if you have been a player in these tournaments. For me, I was more than forgiving of these declines in the beginning. That forgiveness has been tempered by an increased number of “accidental declines”. Maybe not all, but most of these “declines” are intentional from players looking to get an edge. Personally, I don’t care who starts the game (being in the pacific time zone, it usually isn’t me), I’m just looking for an honest, fun, and challenging game. I hope this doesn’t come under the heading of “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”.

          There is another issue which I would like to address. There are many, many players whose WWF UN is different than the one they are registered under. This might be due to problems with the WWF application requiring them to re-register, or maybe they like emoticons next to their name. In any case, if we try to start a game with these players, we simply cannot get through. Given time, these players will initiate the game on their own, making the first move. This, of course, is somewhat equivalent to “declining” the game and gaining the resultant advantage.

          If a player cannot be contacted due to a different UN, then, again, they need to be accountable for their registration and entrance into the tournament. If their user name does not match, I believe they should either be disqualified from the tournament or re-register with their new user name with the website. Unfortunately, not everyone has emoticons on their iPhone, so this creates a problem (if the person re-registers with emoticons). While I have emoticons on my iPhone, it still is not always that easy to make the connection. I recently played a person that had emoticons attached to her name…which was different than the registered website name. When the WWF app crashed for both of us, losing the game, I tried to contact her….to no avail. The connection could not be made with the emoticons. I contacted her via email and she graciously started the game. I don’t know if this is an ongoing problem for all users.

          I know this text won’t be popular with a lot of players. I believe most of us are looking for a sense of continuity, accountability, and players looking to have good competitive fun. :)

          • Don says:

            I’m amending my prior comment because under rule 7 of the daily challenge, players do have the right to demand first move. Not sure if there have been any real world issues in exercising this right.

          • Opus61 says:

            I just read Debby’s comment more carefully.
            My comments were for “Declined games”.

          • Malcolm McKay says:

            Opus 61, I agree with all of your points.

            I accept a game with ABCXyZ and find it someone I know called Ralph. I should be given the opportunity to know who ABCXyZ is before accepting the challenge.

            It’s absurd someone can use what essentially is two identities, or as Opus61 says, UNs.

            All my UNs are just Mal and that’s how it should be for everyone.

            ALSO, does the first to more always plays with a disadvantage. It appears to me we do. So the incentive to play first is kinda lost (for me, at least)

            For instance, a gf of mine always texts and says, wanna start a game? I’ve started to decline and she get the poohies, lol

  26. Laura says:

    Hi Don,
    I don’t decline matches and if I had to leave a game or couldn’t play for some reason, I would take a loss. So, I don’t think I have a personal opinion on your proposal. I know the other players and some of the more experienced and long term players will give you the answers that you need better than me. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to chime in, Laura

    • Don says:

      If a player is happy to take a loss then case closed. However in some cases both players have a legitimate case to present in which case we need an impartial and agreed upon set of guidelines to determine what course of action to take