I have tried to enjoy playing Scrabble with family and friends who are much better spellers and remembers than I. It has so far– almost 60 years off and on of trying —not become fun. I don’t enjoy feeling dumb, nor do I find it fun to put others ( whose spelling may be even worse than mine) in that same position.
So… knowing that I love words in many languages, do not spell all that well, and now find myself to be in a place where sitting down to play a game with others is something that I am able to do, and some times enjoy. It is in this context that I have, somewhat in desperation, arrived at this way of playing Scrabble. (Or, if the company wants to sue me, then it isn’t Scrabble but rather ZKRAB2le.)
I could see that… “reluctant but pretty well hidden….I don’t want to do this at all. But I know it is now one of the things she can do. I love her and so even though I don’t want to do this, I will…” look in my engineer husband’s face. I’m not so sure that he actually enjoys it, yet. But it was much better than the other way and came closer to being something we as a couple or small group could do together and laugh, a lot!
OUR House Rules for “New Scrabble” aka…ZKRAB2le
1. Throw away the old rules, or if you know them, try to forget them. Should you need them later on, they must be on the Internet.
2. Play with the goal of collaboration, being creative, imaginative, and helping each other to use all of the letters with as much fun, laughter, and creative energy as possible. Don’t take it soooooooooooooooo seriously! This really is a game. Playing is okay. In the long run you will actually come up with much better words, learn new words in both English and other languages, etc.
3. Do not keep score! It saves time. You will all know, without keeping score who did what. But the joy will be more likely to be shared among all of you, rather than one person feeling great… and the rest, not so much
4. Use any combination of words, in any language, proper/ improper, abbreviations, initials, anagrams, brand names, call letters, titles, etc.
If English is not your first language, try to select words that will do something to share the treasures of your language with those who do not know it. And if that language happens to be Japanese, Hebrew, Arabic, Cambodian, etc….using other alphabets, just use these letters for transliteration. And it doesn’t need to be perfect.
5. When necessary, make up interesting, useful new words with excellent definitions. Give this some thought and it is really a lot of fun and a very interesting as well as entertaining thing to do. You might actually come up with a word that world needs.
6. Have fun… and forget about either “winning or loosing”. Enjoy it for the first time in about 50 -60 years! (I am still trying to figure out why it took me so long to figure this out.)
7. When it helps, and eventually every game arrives at this point, give each other the letters you have, and receive them from other. Also, if it helps, switch around your turns in order to open up useful board space so that all of you can keep playing rather than ending the game because you have not place to move to.
A story that is not apocryphal..
My grandpa Roy I Ganfield, my father’s father, was for many many years an eager and vibrant Scrabble player with my grandmother, Hazel Mace Ganfield. They were trained as teachers in a Normal School in Michigan, but did not have the careers as teaches they had prepared for because of various State teacher certification laws and the confines of “economic opportunity.” Yet, they knew words, could spell and spell they did for many years.
When they came to visit in Seattle from Medford we got to play together. At some point in these visits, it some how came out that for many years Grandpa Roy had been making up words and their definitions and using them with great success to do rather well at Scrabble. We were all party to this… winning and losing. Eventually someone began to check his words. He was exposed. And we brought an end to a many years long, creative practice. Yes, it was “dishonest” not to tell us. Yet I can see why . The rest of us lacked the creative, imaginative, courageous vision to play our way through life.
May we learn from Grandpa Roy.