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When mom and dad were alive we often used to play Scrabble. I had Junior Scrabble as a child and then adult Scrabble and Travel Scrabble when I was older.
The version that I am talking about today is Scrabble Original which is the standard adult version.
I have just taken a look on the Internet and found that it is currently available at Tesco Direct at a cost of £14.77.
What do you get for your money?
In the box you will find the game board, which folds double to fit in the box, 100 cream coloured tiles each with a black letter on it, four racks on which to stand the letters and a draw string bag made from green cloth in which to keep the tiles. The box also contains a full list of instructions for play.
The idea of the game
The game can be played by 2, 3 or 4 people or could even be played as a solitaire game if you like.
The game board is made up of 225 squares onto which the letter tiles are placed in the form of a crossword.
98 of the tiles have a black letter and a small black number ranging from just one for the vowels and more popular consonants through to 10 for the Q and Z which are potentially the most difficult letters to play. The remaining two tiles are completely blank and can be used as any letter but they have no numeric value and as such do not add to the score.
Each player draws one tile and the person having the letter nearest to the beginning of the alphabet will begin the game. These tiles are then put back into the bag.
Each player draws 7 letter tiles from the bag, without looking at them of course, and places them on a letter rack so that they can be seen by the player who has drawn them but not by the other players.
The first person makes a word using some or all of their letters and puts it on the game board either horizontally or vertically making sure that the centre square is one of the squares covered by a letter. The word must be in the Oxford English Dictionary and must not be a proper noun (start with a capital letter),
The player then takes the number of tiles from the bag that they have just played so that the total of their tiles is 7 again.
Each player plays in turn in the same way but each time the new word must fit onto a word or words already on the game board. For example if the first player had put down the word ‘table’ the next player could possibly put ‘brain’ using the ‘b’ in the word table to make a crossword formation – maybe the next person could put ‘easy’ by putting the ‘s’ of ‘easy’ at the end of ‘brain’ or ‘table’ to make the plural. Hopefully you get the idea!
This continues until all the tiles have been played or until the remaining ones are unplayable.
Well as each tile has a letter with a numeric value on it you may correctly assume that each word played would score the total of all the letters used, but this is only part of the score.
The squares on the game board are not all blank – there are some light blue squares which are double letter squares, dark blue squares are triple letter squares, pale pink squares are double word and the eight red squares are the best of all as they are triple word squares.
The triple word squares are at situated at the four corners of the game board and also exactly in the centre of each side of the board which of course makes them the most difficult to cover since every game must begin with a word which covers the centre square – itself a double word square incidentally.
The scoring is simple – when a word is played the numeric value of the letters is totalled up taking account of any bonus squares which have been covered. If, as in my example above, a word containing an ‘s’ is played making an existing word into a plural then both new words are scored but the bonus squares are only counted if they are under the letters actually played.
If you manage to use all 7 letters in one round to make your word then you receive a bonus of 50 points.
At the end of the game any letters which are unplayable are deducted at face value from the score of the player holding them.
We always kept a notepad and pen in the box with the playing equipment so we could use it to make a note of the scores.
It does say in the rules that if you are challenged as to the existence of any word that you play you will need to define the word and have it verified using a dictionary in order for it to count. The way we played was slightly different – we used to look at our letters and then say I wonder if such and such is a word? This was especially true at the end of the game when we were struggling to use the last few, sometimes unusual, letters.
We then kept a list of all the really weird words that we discovered in the box with the rest of the Scrabble kit. There included such words as qua, qi, jo, zee, etc so that we would have a chance of getting rid of the unusual letters even when the situation looked hopeless!
This is a great game to play at whatever level you wish to play – you could stick to simpler words if children were playing or go for a serious, strategic game using the cleverest words you can think of or indeed anything in between!
You could also make certain words taboo or even maybe play the game only using certain types of words - proper nouns for example.
How many of you are old enough to remember the episode of Butterflies where the two sons are playing Scrabble when mom, alias Wendy Craig, walks in and asks what they are doing. They confess that they are playing Scrabble only using ‘naughty’ words and, instead of being cross, she leans over and plays a word herself and the boys just look SO shocked as they exclaim ‘Mom!’ – sadly we never got to see what the word was! LOL!
So, all in all, it is a great game to play seriously or just for fun and it helps to expand and develop your vocabulary as you play.
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