Game on

As a small girl, I remember my parents playing Scrabble on a Sunday afternoon. When Husband and I first met, one of the things that we discovered we had in common was a shared love of words and that we too enjoyed Scrabble. To really get maximum enjoyment it’s essential to play an opponent who performs at a similar level. I can well recall the frustration of playing it with my young children. The unwritten rule was that I could only use words that they had a reasonable chance of knowing.  I didn’t much like Snakes & Ladders but it was less tedious!

Scrabble

 

The forerunner of the game we know as Scrabble today was invented in 1931 by New York architect, Alfred Butts. He first called it Lexico, and later Criss Cross. James Brunot later redesigned it and remarketed it as Scrabble and in 1954 it was first sold in the UK.

 

 

According to the World English Language Scrabble Players Association, the world’s top ranking player is Ganesh Asirvatham whose highest score was 709. Husband and I have kept a record (written inside the box lid) of our best scores. As you might expect, we’re not quite at world class level but we do generally achieve respectable scores.

Of course, the aim is not only get a high score but to stop your opponent getting a half-decent one! To this end, we often play a very tight game full of short words each of us making it difficult for the other to ‘go’, but other times we concentrate on 7 letter words. There’s no pre-agreed format – it just happens at some point early in the game. The rules say that the players each draw a scrabble tile and the nearest to ‘A’ goes first. Sometimes we change this rule and the person who gets nearest to ‘Z’ starts.  Radical, I know!

It’s been quite some years since we played more than very occasionally (perhaps a single game when on holiday) but the enforced lockdown has revived our enthusiasm. Inside the box lid we’ve recorded our best achievements:

Highest score (me): 502 (16th October 1995)

Highest score (Husband): 514 (29th February 2004)

Highest joint score: 874 (7th June 2000)

Do you Scrabble?

 

12 comments

  1. I love Scrabble and I think this would be the perfect opportunity to play. When I lived in France, I used to play French scrabble; that would really stretch the brain cells now! I believe there is an on-line version which can be played by people who are on their own but I haven’t investigated it yet. When I first met my husband, he taught me how to play Backgammon which I love, another game for us to resurrect!

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    • Never played backgammon. We are playing Scrabble most days. French Scrabble….now that would be fun and I’d definitely lose since my French is poorly-remembered schoolgirl standard !

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  2. We did have a Scrabble set when our children were young, but they soon got bored with it, and also I have to say my husband who isn’t a word person at all, but a numbers person (the only area in which we differ – numbers mean nothing to me, words mean everything) so I haven’t played Scrabble in years. I think it’s about the only game I could bear to play, as games usually bore me witless.
    Margaret P

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    • I’m not a great fan of board games, only word type ones, and even then rarely play nowadays. The enforced lack of outings has engendered a renewed enthusiasm, however. My husband is also a numbers person (I’m definitely not) but fortunately likes words too.

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  3. I have both a Scrabble set and the Upwords mentioned, earlier, and I bought a Junior Scrabble game for my daughter when she was a child. I like playing scrabble, although I am not very good at it, but, it’s not fun playing by myself.

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    • No, I can see that it;s not a solitary game, Bless! You will have to get your daughter to play when she is next home

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  4. Yes, we are Scrabble fans too, right through my daughter to the eldest grand-daughter, I’m pleased to say. Our board is getting a bit scruffy and I would love one that my Mum had as it had something on the bottom which made it possible to swivel it round and each square was indented so that the tiles sat in the square. We also have a Travel Scrabble which we took on holiday with us. It’s a good timeless game

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    • Not heard of that, Katherine. I’ve just looked it up and it’s like a 3D version of Scrabble. The concept seems a little like another game game called Jarnac in the past which involves changing words e.g ARE could become CARE, then it could become CARED. Husband wasn’t so keen on that though. Thanks for your interest

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  5. I haven’t played scrabble in years and don’t actually own a set. I did have a special children’s edition when I was young but, if I remember rightly, the words were already printed on the board, so it wasn’t very challenging. I’ve sometimes played it on holiday, as it’s one of those games you might find provided in self catering accommodation. X

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    • My set is at least 25 years old, but I had one before that too. My children were bought ‘Junior Scrabble’ several times by various relatives. It never worked – they liked to play the grown up version

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