Discovery is part of the fun in every strategy game. We do not want to spoil it for you. If you want to find things out for yourself, do not read further. If you want to get some basic advice on how to win, without spoiling all the surprises, this page is for you.
Word War III provides you with many shiny knobs to tweak. However, the most important decisions in the game are (a) what words to build when and where, and (b) which letters to power up. Your should do just fine if you get these two items right, and leave the rest of operations on their automatic setting. Once you get experienced, you can try fine-tuning priorities and other advanced settings.
The two key risks in the game are (a) economic stall and (b) combat. Economic stall occurs when your industry cannot generate enough vital materials to meet its growth and maintenance needs. The main causes of stall are chronic low maintenance, unbalanced letter mix, insufficient power, and high inflation.
Inflation becomes increasingly important as your settlement grows. A 100-letter settlement has much more than five times the consumption of a 20-letter settlement. Its factories run slower and more wastefully. Grow carefully, and learn how to use the multitude of viewing tools to track stats and identify problems.
Combat is the key to winning in most scenarios. Do not start a fight until you are strong enough to win, or will get a rude surprise. Your opponents will have varying levels of aggression across games. Most opponents will not attack first unless they get much stronger than you. Keep an eye on their letter mix for signs of trouble...
Best Practices and Common Mistakes
Here are some simple Do's and Dont's that will help you win the game more often than not.
Don't build too many unnecessary letters, especially early on (e.g. SACKS is a good starting word, FUZZY is not).
Do build enough power sources (e.g. S) to back up growth. Build a lot of (S) in the early game.
Do place letters on the same industrial supply chain (e.g. Mine->K->A->T) as close to each other as possible.
Don't use all your supplies for building, only to find out that you have run out of them for maintenance.
Do build storage and key factories before you run out of your starting stocks.
Do use trade to accelerate building in the beginning, and to fix occasional shortfalls.
Don't use trade to remedy poor industrial design. Too much trading will sink your economy, especially late in the game.
Don't build too many worker robots and more military assets than you can support.
Do build enough utilities (U,V,Y) to combat inflation and give you an edge in the late game. But don't do it too early.
Don't build military assets too early. But don't wait for your opponent to become overwhelmingly strong either.
Do make sure you have enough fuel and other supplies before declaring war.
Don't let yourself be cornered territorially, or be cut off from vital resources.
Don't rely on fixed recipes for winning. What works in one scenario may backfire in another...
Good luck! Please share your discoveries about unique strategies and stories of winning hard scenarios on the forums.