Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A winning Scrabble team

Why are all these Scrabble players so happy?
To explain, I first need to give you some background because we play Scrabble differently in Monteverde. (Hang on to your hats, Scrabble fanatics and please remember that it's only a game.) There have been regular Scrabble sessions here for many years—about 50. Some currently active players have been playing weekly for almost that long. Not surprisingly, over the years, some local variations of the rules have evolved.
   Several years ago Mr. Rududu and I started attending the Friday afternoon sessions and were introduced to Monteverde Scrabble culture. If you play competitive Scrabble or even just follow the rules on the box, you may be shocked to hear we play with eight tiles (not seven) and reuse blanks. For example, if a blank is on the board represents an N, and you have an N, you can swap it for the blank. You must, however, use the blank on that turn. While Monteverdean players are an exceptionally tolerant lot, a sure way to annoy people is to let them know you have a blank and then hold it in your rack for a long time.
   There is also a list of two and three letter words that are not legal Scrabble words anywhere else. They were found in the Oxford English Dictionary by a local Scrabble player who apparently felt there just weren't enough short words in the regular dictionary that almost no one knows the meaning of.  I think the list predates the use of the official Scrabble dictionary here. These special "Monteverde words" are listed in two little black books available during play. Speaking of that, the games are completely open book. There are numerous dictionaries and "cheat-sheets" available and fishing for words by reading a dictionary is common practice.
  To me, the most notable thing about Monteverde Scrabble games is how cooperative people are, perhaps because most of them are Quakers. Of course everyone likes to win and some people care about it more than others. Yet everyone seems to care a lot about the score you get when you add everyone's score together. The minimum goal of 600 is usually reached. Every once in a while we get up to 700. Last week the group pictured above got 814 on a single game! That involved two "Scrabbles" where someone played all eight of his or her letters and got 50 bonus points. As the game went on and it was evident they were going to get a big group score, there was more and more cooperation and brainstorming for what word each person should play.
   Here's a picture of the board. (Qri is a officially sanctioned Monteverde word, in case you're wondering. I have no idea what it means.) Here's part of their score sheet. Congratulations to the 814 team.


Evelien said...

Who completed the word preboiled must have been sorry he/she didn't have a P to get the 3 times value. Or do you make an exception for that one too? We play scrabble a lot on holidays. In our family we also developed our own set of rules. We swap the blanks like you do. Sometimes we argue about whether a rule was agreed on the last time or not. These 2 and 3 letter words must be very useful. Nice to see the finished game on the board.

lindsay said...

Man, I wish the people I played scrabble with let me use some of those words!!

Carolina said...

Evelien: The way it went was reboiled as a word and then keep with the blank as p. I figure that player got 54 points, so she was happy. I forgot to mention the rule of if you have 3 of the same letter you can toss it back in the bag and pick a new one. I love that rule.
Lindsay, if you are in SL, you are in the Monteverde zone, so just tell them about the Monteverde words. :-)

2 letter scrabble words said...

I have always enjoyed a great game of Scrabble, especially when I frequently beat the likes of my parents and friends (i.e. Jeric, Donald).