The first thing to do in most Word War III scenarios is to build some interconnecting words that will form the backbone of your settlement. For instance, "SACKS" is a good first word to build. It creates the industrial complex to produce machine parts with the A-K letters and it generates some of the electricity needed for that with the S letters. It also has a lone (C)hemicals lab, that needs to be paired with a (P)lastics plant to make much-needed plastics. Therefore, "PASS" or "PASSES" would be a very good second word to build intersecting with "SACKS".
Oh! By the way, don't forget to flip the power switches of the new letters to the ON position... otherwise your buildings will not do you any good. If you do not have enough power generation capacity, turn on only those letters that you really need.
There are at least two ways to make your first two words interconnect in this example:
Both crossings are valid but not equal... The crossing on the left re-uses the (A) and creates a total of four (S). At the beginning of the game, you will find that one (A) is enough to supply you with parts, but electricity is in short supply and the fourth (S) is handy. The crossing on the right is not as good, and it wastes precious materials to build an unneeded extra (A).
Of course, in other game situations, the right crossing could be the better one. One of the keys to winning your island is have the right mix of letters as the game evolves. For instance, a (J) is not very useful in the beginning of the game, but can make the difference between winning and losing once combat starts.
It is also important to optimize the placement of letters. For instance, the closer an (A) and (K) are together, the more efficient will they be at making badly needed parts. Making interconnecting words in a way that optimizes the mix and placement of letters is one of the distinctive gameplay challenges of Word War III, and a very rewarding one when you learn to do it well.
Depending on the scenario, your initial stocks will be sufficient for about two dozen buildings. Clearly, you need to build wisely and get to the point of being self-sufficient by exploiting the natural resources of the island. Here is a very quick primer of the most essential things you will need:
The full economy in Word War III is more complex and rich than that, but for now, lets just stay focused on getting started. Later, the overviews of operating your settlement, and of how the economy works, will fill the picture for you. The quick reference cards on buildings, materials, and industry are there to help remind you of how the individual pieces fit together.
Besides building the right words, there are several other basic gameplay elements that are needed on the path to success. These are:
Once you get familiar with the gameplay, the strategy hints, building rules, and metrics pages would be useful reads. Finally, pressing "F1" from within the game will bring up a condensed summary of the Word War III user guide.