No, I WON’T play you at Scrabble online

No, I WON'T play you at Scrabble online

No, I WON'T play you at Scrabble online

On Saturday via Twitter and Facebook, many of you asked to play me at Scrabble (or a renamed version thereof) online (6 points). I don’t want to be rude but may I just say, NO, NO WAY, NEVER, IT’S A BASTARDISATION (17 POINTS) OF THE GAME.

This rant all came about as I posted the following message on Saturday…

Hurrah. Just got my 4th highest ever Scrabble score – 582 to Mrs MSE’s 307. "Nineties" across the 2x treble words, scoring 131 on the last go helped."

Note: Having checked my Scrabble graph since (yes, I have a spreadsheet of all 838 games Mrs MSE and I have ever played (barring the first 17)), this is actually my 3rd highest ever score, but I’ve had many bigger single goes. I’m currently averaging 425 a game on a rolling average of the last 25 games for anyone interested.

One of my great joys in life is finding the time to pop out for food with Mrs MSE, with a travel (or mini) Scrabble board and playing. Normally in life we’re both very supportive (17 points) of each other, but in Scrabble, it’s true no-holds barred competition.

My aversion to online Scrabble isn’t just a snobbery for the real board, and an ability to manually (13 points) manipulate tiles to find a word (though there is a good deal of that in there), but part of the game play of real Scrabble is word knowledge and challenges. If you’re not sure of a word, you can choose to play it safe or take the risk placing it down. In computer Scrabble, if the word’s not right (as far as I’ve been told) you get another couple of chances for another option, or in some versions unlimited chances.  

Where’s the skill in that? It’s just about trying random (9 points) letter combinations. It’s cheating, it falsely pushes scores up, and it simply shouldn’t count.

Part of the subtlety (13 points) of real Scrabble is laying down a word you’re not 100% about, but with bullishness or bluff you hope the opponent won’t challenge it. Of course, Mrs MSE and I both have the Sowpods Scrabble dictionary app on our phone to be looked at in case of dispute (only after challenging obviously, never before putting tiles down).

Now don’t think me lazy – while I of course know all my two letter words, and some power tile combinations, sometimes there are risks. For example, can you add a "re" to the front of "averted" to make "reaverted"? Should you go for it, there’s the risk of the opponent challenging it. Yet where’s the skill if you try it online? The computer says no, and you do something else instead.

Now I do hope you read this rant, knowing there’s a twinkle (14 points) in my eye as I write it. Of course if you want to play online Scrablle, then enjoy it, its not a bad thing, its just not the game I like. And frankly, even if I did want to play online, Mrs MSE would get very upset with me. Her comment is that it’d be tantamount to infidelity.

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