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Old 10-18-2019, 03:41 PM
Sangahyando is offline
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 2,478

Novel variant of Scrabble? Probably not.

Things panned out in an interesting way, at the start of a recent game of Scrabble between myself and my regular opponent. His-and-my way with the game is not highly competitive -- a big part of the fun for us, is discovering new and often strange words in the English language. We allow, pre-putting-down of a word on the board, unlimited dictionary-consulting to find whether a dreamt-up word in fact exists (we are always finding ourselves amazed by how often it does !). It just so came about that in this game, with me to start: the best I could do was the word OBEY, with the E on the central "starting star". This scored me 18. My opponent -- also not gifted with a wonderful selection of letters -- found his best tack to take, in putting directly under my OBEY: RARE, scoring 21. (Among the words thus made: BA [eternal spirit in Egyptian mythology], and ER [expression of hesitation].)

To my surprise and pleasure, I found possible, yet another four-letter effort directly above OBEY -- FAJE (colloquial, from Spanish, a hug / to hug) -- scoring 45, and making the configuration of letters, as follows.


(ABA = a sleeveless Arab garment; JER is the English designation of a [quasi]-letter in the Cyrillic alphabet.) Although from there on, our game went in more ordinary directions; we couldn't resist whimsically speculating on whether there might be a viable variant of Scrabble, in which one was required perpetually to put words of four letters, on the top or bottom of the "pile" of same -- every word thus created having, of course, to be a real one. It seems pretty clear to us, that nothing placed above the twelve-letter grid shown above, would work -- reckon it can be said that there's no known word *FOR. However -- with an admittedly considerable amount of pushing the envelope -- a case can be made for the possibility of adding below, a fourth and then a fifth tier. Things end up thus:

SEYR (two Y's in the set -- a blank needed, for this third Y)

ESKY [total score 51] = Australian word for a cool-box for drinks etc. ABAS - sleeveless Arab garments in the plural; EYEY -- a possibly coinable word meaning "noteworthily characterised by eyes": spiders, with their several pairs of eyes, might be described as eyey. SEYR [total score 44]: uncommon word, thought possibly borrowed from the Manx language -- can mean free of cost; or, a carpenter or other craftsman. FORES -- multiple forward parts of something, or golf warnings. With "eyey" being already an eccentric word; perhaps its comparative form might be an irregular one, EYEYR?)

Collapse comes, on any attempt at a sixth tier underneath. We concluded that in the English language -- with the distribution of letters which it has -- this envisaged variant of the game would seem to have a strictly limited range and future; might it possibly work better with Scrabble sets in some other language(s)?

Last edited by Sangahyando; 10-18-2019 at 03:42 PM. Reason: Spelling (ordinary everyday)
Old 10-18-2019, 04:45 PM
Skywatcher's Avatar
Skywatcher is offline
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Somewhere in the Potomac
Posts: 35,418
Rather than requiring each word to be directly above or below, why not allow them to be offset by, say, no more than two letters?

Last edited by Skywatcher; 10-18-2019 at 04:46 PM.
Old 10-19-2019, 07:45 AM
Sangahyando is offline
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 2,478
I feel: too much like the ordinary regular game -- our (impossible) way, or not at all !
Old 10-20-2019, 03:27 PM
alfonzos is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Hawthorne, CA
Posts: 125
The documentary Word Wars mentions a Scrabble variant called Clabbers. Players play tiles which can be anagrams of words. It's easier to play than it looks. An CD-ROM version of the game allows the variant. Scores can be higher because it's easier to play the higher scoring tiles on the premium squares.

The book New Rules for Classic Games suggests having all tiles face up in a line. Players draw tiles from either, but not both, ends when each draws tiles.

In two players games, I suggest giving each player a blank at the beginning of the game to eliminate the chance of one player getting both of them.


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