With an estimated 55 million matches being played around the world at any given moment, tournaments and friendly social rivalries are common occurrences in Words With Friends.
However, every now and then we see players take competition in Words With Friends to a whole new level…or in this case, a whole new fairway.
In 2011, Steve Hulka of the Professional Tour Caddies Association began a small Words With Friends tournament among 32 PGA TOUR players, caddies, and family to fill the time between tee off. He organizes the tournament with meticulously managed brackets that advance the winner of the best two out of three matches. Scott Verplank won the Words With Friends tournament title that first year as the inaugural champion.
Now in its third year, Steve’s homegrown tournament has expanded to 64 participants including more PGA TOUR players, friends and family as well as a few other pro athletes. Each year, competition gets tougher as tournament players spell their way towards the annual championship title, bragging rights, and a venerable spot on Steve’s Words With Friends PGA TOUR tournament plaque. Their most played golf word? Tee.
As the 2013 tournament comes to an end, we want to recognize Steve and all the players of the Words With Friends PGA TOUR tournament by honoring this year’s winner with a special donation. In partnership with Words With Friends, Zynga.org will donate $10,000 to The First Tee in the name of the 2013 tournament winner, Brian Sullivan.
The First Tee is an international youth development organization that uses golf as a vehicle to build character in young people ages 7-18. The PGA TOUR partners with The First Tee, supporting its local chapters by hosting fund-raising events, donating auction items and occasionally serving as a venue for local programs. Zynga.org’s donation will be used to implement The First Tee DRIVE (Develops Rewarding Inspiring Values for Everyone) in four locations in San Francisco.
“We’re always inspired by the way players find ways to connect and compete in Words With Friends,” said Abhinav Agrawal, General Manager of Words With Friends at Zynga. “Words With Friends is a game defined by smart, social, and competition, and tournaments certainly embody all three of those qualities. We congratulate Brian Sullivan on his second consecutive championship, and wish Steve and all PGA TOUR participants the best of luck during their next tournament in 2014.”
Words With Friends is a word-building game by Zynga that challenges players to create the highest-scoring words while playing against friends, family, or random opponents. Launched in July 2009, and recently named by Apple as the #1 free game of all time, Words With Friends remains one of the most popular games in the App Store. Words With Friends is available to download for free from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, as well as Google Play, Facebook, Amazon Kindle Fire, and Barnes and Noble NOOK.
For the second year in a row, Zynga is spreading goodwill and holiday cheer with its Oh, What Fun! in-game charitable campaign. This year, Zynga is joining forces with Heifer International, a global nonprofit organization working to empower millions of people to raise themselves up from poverty to prosperity by providing multiplying sources of food and income such as livestock, seeds, trees and training in sustainable farming.
From December 2 to December 31, players can contribute directly through in-game purchases within participating games — with 100 percent of Zynga’s share of the purchase price going directly to Heifer International. For as little as $1, players can purchase holiday goods, power packs and participate in themed quests, all in support of two Heifer International initiatives: the Seeds of Change project in Arkansas and the Smallholder Dairy Development Project in Malawi. In an exciting twist, this year the first $400,000 in player contributions will be matched $1 for $1 by a generous donor – meaning a players in-game giving will be doubled this holiday season.
The 2013 Oh, What Fun! campaign will roll out over the next four weeks in eight Zynga games: CityVille, CastleVille, Pioneer Trail, Bubble Safari, Ayakashi, Hidden Shadows, Zynga Poker and ChefVille, enabling millions of Zynga players to be “good gamers” and contribute directly to the cause when playing their favorite Zynga games on their computer, tablet or mobile.
Zynga’s mission is to connect the world through games and through Zynga.org it’s demonstrating that games can be a force for social good. To-date, Zynga players have raised nearly $20 million dollars through more than 150 in-game social impact campaigns benefiting a range of results-driven nonprofit organizations around the world.
Following are details on how Zynga games are participating in Oh, What Fun! this year and how players can get in on the giving fun.
- From December 2 to December 9, 2013, Ayakashi players can go on the hunt for special, discounted Gold packs benefitting Heifer International. The three packs are available for $1 for 160 Gold, $4 for 525 Gold and $7 for 900 Gold.
- From December 7 to December 13, 2013, sleuths can seek out new clues and 10 limited edition energy packs, ranging from 30 Silver to 300 Silver.
- From December 12 to December 26, 2013, Zynga Poker players can ante up and opt in to Poker’s Helping Hands program, contributing up to 15 percent of their winnings to a group pot with a goal of reaching 2 trillion chips. If the goal is reached, Heifer International will get $100,000!
- Deck the halls from December 10 to December 24, 2013, with animal decorations celebrating Heifer International’s work. Players can get a pink goat (5 City Cash), a soft alpaca (10 City Cash) and a heart cow (15 City Cash).
- Enrich your castle and medieval landscape with three Heifer International animals: goat (20 Crowns), buffalo (100 Crowns) and llama (200 Crowns) from December 11 to December 16, 2013.
- Help Bubbles the monkey pop his way through the holidays from December 2 to December 16, 2013, and save the limited edition Heifer International animals by purchasing four packages of power-ups, energy and currency. Prices range from 20 Safari Cash to 100 Safari Cash.
- Bring the holidays to your homestead from December 5 to December 31, 2013, with a holiday gift crate (120 Horseshoes), giving tree (360 Horseshoes) and a Heifer helper (600 Horseshoes).
- Get cookin’ by purchasing early access to ChefVille’s Winter Wonderland expansion from December 2 through December 5, 2013, and receive bonus items such as a penguin snow globe to help harvest torches, a decorative piece for Chef Bello and 10 candy canes crops, all for 140 Chef Cash.
For more information on Heifer International and the Oh, What Fun! campaign visit: http://www.heifer.org/campaign/zynga.html
You’ve dodged barrels, leaped across canals, run billions of meters, and kept the bulls charging to compete against opponents in the adrenaline-filled Running With Friends. Starting today, you can now hit the cobblestone streets of Pamplona, Spain solo as Running With Friends refreshes to offer single player mode with a new name: Stampede Run.
Since launching on the App Store in May, we’ve heard your bull horns loud and clear as you requested solo-play as the top feature you’d like to see added. We made it a priority along with other new features including offline mode, new permanent boosts, and exciting achievements. Stampede Run is a refreshed, fast-paced, 3D runner mobile game that will give players a rush of fun as they outrun and outscore to climb the leaderboards.
Enjoy fun, new features in Stampede Run:
Play Solo: While players can still challenge their friends, they can now also play in single player mode so they can run when they want, as often as they want without having to wait for their friends to play catch-up.
Single Player Leaderboard: More ways to brag and showcase your skills! Players now have the opportunity to be on two leaderboards – one for challenge mode and one for single player mode. Challenge yourself to outrun your other solo running friends to reach the weekly champions podium!
Run In-Flight: Play in offline mode and sync your game-play later – you can even skip connecting through Facebook if you choose.
Achievements: Complete the achievement tasks and get a score multiplier, showcasing your progression and skill in the game.
Permanent Boosts: Exciting new boosts are now available for purchase within the game. Worried you’ve only got one chance to use them? Don’t worry, these will stick around to give your scores an extra boost.
Stampede Run will continue to offer all of the features that players love about Running With Friends including the ability to challenge your friends, chat in-game, and compete for a spot on the challenge mode leaderboards.
Stampede Run is available today for free on the App Store on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch or at www.AppStore.com.