Lessons from e-scrabble

15 10 2011

As a form of procrastination from study, I have become addicted to e-scrabble.

Now I have always loved scrabble, but e-scrabble (I play the version attached to facebook) is even better because I can play many games at once.

I play the one week version, which means you have one week to make each move. This has an advantage to me because I can then stop playing at any moment to get on with “real life” (or occasionally, study) and come back to the game days later without having forfeited.

So if someone isn’t playing fast enough, I can open another game and play that at the same time. At one stage I had about 30 games going at once – then as I was going overseas on holiday and didn’t want to have to find data connections to keep my scrabble games going, I had to finish the games. I am now back up to 15.

So as someone who started her scrabble life on the board game and now is e-hooked, here is what e-scrabble has taught me:

1. It is always worth trying any letter combination – even foreign words. E-scrabble has the advantage of letting you try anything – and rejecting whatever doesn’t work.

2. The hard letters are worth the effort. After you achieve a certain level of proficiency, it becomes impossible to win scrabble without getting some of the difficult letters – and preferably not at the end of the game. While my children will exchange X, Z, K, Q and J, I avidly collect them. A high-scoring letter on a triple letter score, particularly when the word is going both ways so the letter scores 6x – well, that is a winning play! Moral of the story: Doing the hard stuff is worthwhile.

4. Zol is a South African word for cigarette. It is also a very useful word to remember. Euoi is also a useful word to remember when you have nothing but vowels.

5. Children are very adept at find cheat programs on the internet. And have no shame in using them. They appear to consider it to be an “aid” and a valid competitive strategy.

6. Anyone who gets more than one seven letter word is probably cheating. If they get 3 or 4 they are undoubtedly cheating. If you are going to cheat, please be subtle about it!

7. While the seven letter word will get you a BINGO! and bonus points, clever placement of other letters can see even a two or three letter words reap points in the 50s.

8. Sometimes it is best to throw some letters – even all of them – back in the bag and get new letters. While I prefer to trade my way out of a bad hand rather than miss a turn, some letters are unrecoverable and it is best to cut your losses early.

9. If you have a dodgy computer connection, it is best not to start a two minute or five minute game. If your computer goes down, your stress levels will go up! Be realistic about what you are actually going to be able to maintain for the entire game.

10. Scrabble is a much more satisfying form of procrastination than housework.

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