Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Never Need To Play Scrabble Again.

Was I bragging about scoring a 92-point word in Scrabble a while back? Bah! That is nothing! Check this out: a 158-point word. Pics or it didn't happen? Gladly! I have even scrolled back to the relevant score and highlighted it in red, because that is just how gosh-darned proud I am. Especially since this was a timed game, and I had only 25 seconds per turn.

(I feel I should apologize for "gook," which sounds horribly racist, but the Scrabble dictionary insists it also means "goo." And it was worth 18 points.)


  1. Yo?

    I'd have challenged you to show me any of these in a dictionary.
    I don't think any of them are valid under the rules.

    I'm guessing the scrabble dictionary accepts them.

    1. All valid Scrabble words, according to the latest version of the official dictionary.

    2. Serious Scrabble players will tell you that a very large part of the strategy involves memorizing which two- and three-letter words are legal. I don't know all of even the two-letter words, but the more I play, the more of them I learn, if only by watching what the computer plays.

    3. I grew up playing scrabble, and family scrabble games were deadly serious. well, almost.
      Our family rules required that a dictionary be nominated, and held as the arbiter in any dispute. If a player is challenged, then, and only then, is the dictionary consulted. If the challenge is upheld, the challenged player takes back the tiles and forfeits that turn. If the word IS found to be valid, then the challenger has to forfeit a turn.....

      Now this of course leads to a tremendous game of bluff and psychological warfare. I pot down, say, obe. My fellow players frown, look at me, and say obe? I shrug. I know its not the same as obi, a sash worn around the waist in some japanese costumes. So I say obe? It's a form of writing that predates cuneiform. Found on clay fragments in the euphrates valley.
      They frown more. "I've never heard of it...." so that's my cue to say, "Go on then, challenge, but I think you'll find that Sliemann described it when he wrote of the discovery of the lost temples of senufi."
      My sister, uneasy, says "I think I saw a BBC documentary about that". They all back down. Two turns later, I challenge my brother for using obe.
      Warfare erupts.
      But the beauty of the game lies in its encouragement for us to know the hidden backwaters of our language.

      I was horrified to be given a scrabble dictionary. Just lists of 'acceptable' words. 2, 3, 4 letter. Learn them by rote. No definitions, no etymologies. No fun.
      Like cheating against yourself at chess.

      If ever I become a burner of books, I'll start with the scrabble dictionary.
      The Concise Oxford's my choice. The full Oxford, all 28 volumes, oh how I want that book. (and NOT the two volume version with shrunken pages and a magnifier).

      I've never tried playing against a computer. How do you tell if it's bluffing? Or hiding a blank up its sleeve?

    4. The interesting thing about Scrabble is that it can be a couple of different kinds of game depending on how you play it, either one that involves playing with your own vocabulary (and a little bit of psychological warfare), or one that has a lot more to do with using memory and strategy skills. I think both aspects are fun in different ways, so I enjoy both friendly family games and cutthroat tournament-style play against the computer opponent.

      And the computer doesn't bluff at all. It's also not fooled by bluffing, since it has access to the entire Scrabble dictionary. That gives it a definite advantage, so for normal games, it doesn't use challenge rules at all, but just won't let you play an invalid word. In tournament mode, it will challenge you and make you lose a turn if you make something that's not in the dictionary.