Sunday, April 13, 2008

don't let your babies grow up to play scrabble...

Posted by jedijawa
Yesterday's Scrabble Club meeting held some interesting thoughts for me. First, I hit a new zenith in my Scrabble playing when I beat our fearless club director in a tough game that started with a bingo for me on my first play (I plan to blog the bloody details later). I said that it really didn't matter what happened from that point on ... and well ... I lost the next two games including my biggest loss to Lisa again (-65 pts. grr... guess I was feeing jinxy). Later that day my dad asked for another rematch from our last game and I slaughtered him by +91 and +74 pts. respectively. One of the things that I had done to make things more fair for Dad after our last meeting was to offer him free challenges ... meaning that he can challenge me without losing his turn and I can challenge him without him losing his turn (but not vice-versa). It seems to me that this is probably a great way to entice those who don't play competitive Scrabble with those of us who do.

This reminds me of playing Trivial Pursuit in college with my college roommate and some of our friends. We would all team up and force him to be on his own solitary team. As an additional hurdle, when he finished getting all of his pie pieces (which he always did before the rest of us), he would be required to answer every question on the card to win the game (where the rest of us would only have to answer one). Despite this, he usually still would win the game! Similarly, when I would want someone to play Star Wars Trivial Pursuit with me I would have to allow them to get a pie piece for every question that they answered correctly vs. me playing the normal way and I usually still won as well. It made it hard to find folks who wanted to play and I eventually gave up.

So how do we get those folks to Scrabble with us without making them feel like chumps? I haven't had anyone to play Scrabble with until getting into this club and now I have an even harder time - what with my press celebrity and all. When I play with K-girl I usually do it without keeping score which takes some of the sting away ... though she plays club games too. Dad wasn't sure that he wanted to take the free challenges till I laid down the bingo TUESDAY* in our first game and found out later that it is not a good bingo. I routinely tell him what two letter words will and won't play which I hope he doesn't find too frustrating but he seems to understand the OWL2 (and he doesn't lose his turn). How do you do that with someone who doesn't understand OWL and OSPD rules? How do you get folks to play you without worrying about being prone to losing? Is there some other handicap that you should consider taking or just keep asking till they play you to shut you up?

As a final note, I found it amusing that when our new member came to the club yesterday how she and her husband kept talking about their games. Her husband seemed glad to have someone else for his wife to beat up on as some of their comments seemed to suggest some real thrashings in their home. Interestingly, her husband seemed to want no part in our club ... except as a chance to get some relieve from the whips and chains of playing his wife ... who seemed to have a pretty good knowledge of the game from what I could see.

Check out all of my Scrabble posts here or from my blog's sidebar.


  1. man, I look like I'm about to pass out!

    And with regards to your question of how to get people who fear losing to play against you... I had that same problem in college when I played chess frequently.

    I don't play anymore, and have lost whatever skill I might have had... but the largest reason was my closest collegiate buddies wanted no part in the 'arduous task' of sitting across from raf and losing.

    Oh, and I was a party in one of your losses! and you know it!

  2. I'm trying to get my husband to play. I think he'd be great at it because he's a math guy. I mean, c'mon! I'm a psych major, for Pete's sake!! If I can do it, anyone can!

    But...I digress. I'm going to let him play his first several (or many) games using printouts of the 2's and 3's. First, this will help him memorize the 2's by using them rather than have to "study." Second, it will help him gain a general familiarity with the 3's.


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