Our family has recently discovered online Scrabble (the name Scrabble is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc. in the United States and Canada and of Mattel elsewhere) through Facebook. We've been a Scrabble playing family for many decades; we all love the game, but we are seldom all together to play and even when we are, we usually have other things to do.
Internet Scrabble changes all that. You can make one move per day or even less. More importantly, you can play more than one game at once: I have one game going with my wife, one with each of our daughters, and one with the four of us. I also have more games going with friends and a few with strangers. I can spend as much or as little time playing as I like - and so can all my opponents.
Playing Scrabble on-line is different in other ways. There's no arguing about words: the game enforces acceptable words. On the other hand, words our family never would have allowed in home games can be used; in one of my first games with a stranger, I was shocked to see "NGWEE" appear. That word is the Nigerian unit of currency, but I'm sure you knew that. I'm sure you also know that "AA" is a dry from of lava and that "DUIT" is a Dutch coin - and that all of them are acceptable words in Facebook Scrabble.
Another issue, especially when playing with strangers, is the easy availability of on-line anagram solvers. In our family games, we allow checking the dictionary for spelling and minor word-hunting, but using an anagram program is a bit much. On the other hand, there is a fair amount of strategy and plain old luck to Scrabble, so the cheaters aren't guaranteed a win. Finally, if you really feel someone must be using an anagram program, you can fight back by doing the same yourself.
Speaking of anagram solvers, there are Scrabble robots at other sites. I haven't tried playing against one, so I can't say how good they are at strategy - I'm sure they are pretty good at finding the best scores, but that's not always the best play, so a human may still have a fighting chance.
So, if you are wondering what I'm doing in between working, eating,
sleeping, breathing, and all that, well, I'm probably playing Scrabble. Maybe I'll see some of you on the other side of the board!
Another popular Scrabble site is Internet Scrabble Club. They have timed play there, but when I tried it out they were having server problems and that made playing very difficult. I don't know if that's usual or unusual.
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© 2012-07-16 Anthony Lawrence