Back to index of Scrabble pages by Donald Sauter.
Scrabble For Word Lovers suite - main page.
Scrabble II introduction.
Scrabble II rules.
It was created before the Nice Letter Distribution and Stretch Bonuses were implemented. Back then, Scrabble II words averaged about 5 letters; now they average about 6 letters. So, no matter how impressively Scrabble II stacked up against "regular" Scrabble in this old page, it would go a quantum leap beyond that now.
School Scrabble is played according to modern tournament Scrabble rules - silly little words and bluffing and all. Yes, this was the year when the cat was let out of the bag that the National School Scrabble Championship is really a sort of combined National Misspelling Bee and PokerFest for Kids. How heartwarming . . .
Thankfully, the Canadians won.
The Dover Scrabble Club (Delaware) plays Scrabble II, which is pure Scrabble with the straitjacket removed. A few small adjustments move the game out of the quagmire of the twos and threes and up into the realm of the sixes through nines. And we do it using a conventional dictionary and with no one ever scoring a point for an invalid word. No bluffing!
To help get the show on the road, I've moved the Scrabble II overview to an appendix at the bottom. You can easily find further discussion on other web pages of mine.
The National School Scrabble Championship was held in Orlando, Florida, in April 2011. The play-by-play for the featured game of each of the seven rounds plus the final playoff game was posted on the National Scrabble Association web site.
Accordingly, I chose 8 games recently played in the Dover Scrabble Club for comparison. Keep in mind that none of us spends a minute of his life studying word lists.
Even though Scrabble players compete against each other in a game, I view the final Scrabble board as the product of a team effort of all the players. (In the Dover club, we prefer threesomes and foursomes.) What you see below are the words on the final boards, not the individual plays. An exception is in the category I call "Baby Plays of just Two-letter Words", where you see the actual plays. Scrabble II has high standards and does not allow these exceptionally mindless baby plays.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Words in red would not be acceptable in the Dover Scrabble Club. Generally, this means that the word is not recognized by the American Heritage 4th Edition. There is also a small handful of words now included in the American Heritage which I have specifically banished as Scrabble junk. See the appendix at the bottom.
Here, then, in a very easy-to-digest format, is a comparison of the 8 featured National School Scrabble Championship 2011 games vs. 8 games in the Dover Scrabble Club from the same time frame.
You tell me, which variety looks like it would be most exciting - and beneficial - for school kids?
Dover: (2) ADRENALINE MENAGERIES
Dover: (8) DICTATORS ENTOURAGE INSTATING METABOLIC PREACHING SEDIMENTS SLUMBERED THORNIEST
School: (10) BESEIGES DECAYING ENTOLLED GLISTENS INGESTER LAUNCHED NOTATERS OUTGAENS TUBBIEST VISITING
Dover: (20) ATTAINED BANQUETS BATTERED BLEACHED CAVORTED CONQUEST CONVENTS DIVIDING DREDGING EXAMINER EXTERIOR GRANDEST HUMILITY QUIBBLER SLEEPING SNEAKING TETHERED TROOPERS YEARLING YEARLING
School: (14) AGEISTS ARISTAE AURIATE CARNATE DECIDER DEMOTER DIALERS GRIEFED MARINER NASTIER OLESTRA REASONS RELINES SEAFOOD
Dover: (28) BADDEST BATHERS BEARING BERATED BLURRED CODEINE EMULATE FUTURES GASKETS GRUNTED JOLLIER MILTING NUPTIAL PLAITED QUELLED QUIVERY REFRIED SHOOING STATINS THANKER TOENAIL TONNAGE TRAGEDY TREMBLE VERIEST WAGONED WORSTED ZESTIER
School: (11) ABOUTS ATTIRE BEAUTY BISTRO DESIRE GALORE GRUNTS HINTER HOMIES PITIED STONER
Dover: (31) BLOATS BONNET BUDGIE COBALT DEEJAY DEVICE ENDING EXUDED FACETS FADING FAMILY FROZEN GUIDED HAZIER HICCUP INTAKE JOULES LEDGER LOOFAH PALLET PLAQUE POETRY QUALMS QUIFFS RADIOS SAVING SQUIRT TOFFEE WAITER ZEALOT ZONING
School: (35) ADIEU BIRON CEASE DJINS DONOR EXONS FALLS FOCUS FOUND GAZER GRIME HILTS IRKED JOLTY LIEGE MORNS NAVAL NERVE OIDIA OURIE PRONE RAIDS RAXER RIALS RUNTS SCANT VIBES VICES VIEWS VITAE WADED WADES WORKS YEARN ZONED
Dover: (33) ALOOF BATTY BOMBS CRAZY DAISY DEVIL DITTO FILMY FILTH GRIND HIKED IDIOT OOZED PARKA PARRY PIANO PIANO QUART ROQUE ROVER SMOCK SQUAD STANK TAKER TASTE TAXED VAUNT VIVID WANDS WARTS WHALE YOUTH ZESTY
School: (71) ACHE AGES AWAY AXED BAPS BEEN BICE CLAP CORN DARN DAYS DRUG EWES FACT FANS FATE FEND FLAX FUNK FUSE GITS GLEE GORE HARD HEFT ICON IRON JUGS LARK LIVE LOUR LULU LUNA LUST MORE NABE NOON OHIA ONES PAIL PALE PIER PINT PLOT QADI RIDE ROAM SCOW SINK SKEG SNOB SOFT TENT TOES TORN TREK TRIG TUBE VASE VATU VEND VEST VIEW VOTE WAND WARN WEIR WINE WOKE WOLD ZORI
Dover: (15) CAKE CRUX CRUX GANG GUNK JAPE LINT MOAN NARY QUIT RAGE ROAR RUBY WAIL WAND
School: (110) ABA ABA ADO ADO AHA AIL ALA BAG BAH BAM BOD BOP BOT BOX CEP CHI CIG COD CUD CUT DEL DEW DIG DOG DOX DUI EME EME EMU FAD FAY FEN FIX FOG FOR GAM GIP GOD HAE HAT HER HID JAY JIB JIG JOG JUT KIF KIP LAX LEX LOT LYE MAD MAY MEM MEN MEW MIB MIX MUG NAY NEW NOM NON OBE ODE OFT OHA OHO ONE OPE ORA ORE PAH PED PEN PIG PLY QAT QAT QAT QIS QUA REC ROW RUG TAE TED THE TIC TIE TOE TOE TOR ULU VAC VAR VAU VIG VOW WED WET WIZ WOO WUD YEA ZEP ZIG ZOA
Dover: (20) ALE BYE CAY DEW HAH IRE IVY JAY NEB OAR PEW ROE TAX TUX VAT VIE VOW VUM WIZ WOW
School: (110) AA AB AB AE AE AE AI AL AN AN AN AN AN AR AT BA BA BE BY DE ED EH EH EL EL EM EM EM EN ER ER ER ER FA GO GO HI HI ID IF IN IN IN IT IT IT IT JO JO KA KA KI LI LO LO MI MO MU NA NA NE NO NU NU OE OE OH OH OI OM OM OP OR OY OY PA PE PI QI QI QI QI RE SI SI SO SO TA TA TI TI TI TO TO UH UP US UT WO WO XI XI XI YA YE YE YE YO YO ZA
Dover: (41) AG AG AM AT AW BE BE DO DO ED ED EF EL EM EN ER FA FA HE HE IT LA LI ME ME MU NU OH OH OH ON OW PI PI TO UP WE WE WE YE YE
School: (82) BESEIGES ENTOLLED INGESTER NOTATERS OUTGAENS AURIATE CARNATE DEMOTER GRIEFED ABOUTS HOMIES BIRON DJINS OURIE RAXER BAPS BICE LUNA NABE OHIA QADI BAM CIG DEL DOX EME EME MEM MIB NOM NON OBE OHA OPE PED QAT QAT QAT QIS TAE ULU VAR VAU VIG WUD ZEP ZIG ZOA AA AE AE AE AL BA BA DE JO JO KA KA KI MO NA NA NE OE OE OI OM OM OP OY OY PE QI QI QI QI WO WO YA ZA
School: (27) EH/ER/HI EX/OE/OX HA/HO/AR OY/OH/YE UH/US/HI YO/OY/LO AI/AA LI/EL LO/WO OE/PE OH/OR OM/NO PI/QI XI/KI YE/EM YO/OM AL BE EL HI JO KA QI QI TO UT XI
Dover: (never happens)
Stepping through the games play by play and counting up the turns in which the school champs played a bogus word or made a baby play, we find that 40.6% of their plays (99 out of 244) would not even be allowed in the Dover Scrabble Club.
School: 110 Twos + 110 Threes → 220 Shorties/361 words = 60.9% Shorties
Dover: 41 Twos + 20 Threes → 61 Shorties/198 words = 30.8% Shorties
So nearly two thirds of the words School Scrabble players form are just two or three letters. While that's pretty pathetic compared to Scrabble II, it's really not so bad compared to what the adult Scrabble champions do.
School: 11 Sixes + 14 Sevens + 10 Eights + 0 Nines + 0 Tens → 35 Long Words/361 words = 9.7% Long Words
Dover: 31 Sixes + 28 Sevens + 20 Eights + 8 Nines + 2 Tens → 89 Long Words/198 words = 44.9% Long Words
School: 1253 letters/361 words = 3.47 letters/word
Dover: 1001 letters/198 words = 5.06 letters/word
Or, you may find it more striking to consider the average number of words on the final board:
School: 45.5 measly, flea-bitten words on final board.
Dover: 24.8 good, honest words on final board!
Think about it:
School kids could be playing words almost 50% longer - and digging them out of their own natural vocabularies rather than off of lists of weird, little Scrabble words.
The Dover Scrabble Club (Delaware) plays Scrabble II, which is pure Scrabble with a few very small, very natural, long overdue fixes which rescue the game from the army of outlandish midget words which have taken over Scrabble in the decades since the game was invented. The game has been broken wide open, but, otherwise, all the strategies remain the same. In a nutshell, Scrabble II is . . .
Moreover, we use a conventional dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary 4th Edition, to further keep our boards from looking like Greek or Martian. The American Heritage is probably about 75% as inclusive as the Official Scrabble Players' Dictionary (OSPD), but it has more words than you'll ever use, in life or in Scrabble. You've seen in this study that, by not having some weird little word to get you out of each and every jam, you are nudged into playing longer, more respectable words. I urge you to consider a conventional dictionary. A smaller, more refined word set in Scrabble has just the opposite effect to what you would think.
. . . is any of the following:
1. Give it a try!
2. Give it a try and report back!
3. A quality Scrabble II program placed prominently on the internet. I'll pay reasonable programming costs!
4. A dear, old benefactor to bankroll a Scrabble II tournament with the largest ever cash prizes for a Scrabble tournament (which would still only amount to chicken change!)
In moving up from the second to the fourth edition of the American Heritage a few years ago, I found a few words were added which I couldn't bear fouling up my Scrabble boards. While I was rejecting those words, I took the opportunity to "retire" all the Hebrew letters (letters aren't words; Hebrew is foreign) and a few old-timers, including AZO and ZOA, which never pop up in real life and which have long since worn out their welcome on the Scrabble board. See my Dover Scrabble Club rules page for a list of charges against the condemned:
AA AE JO PE QI ZA
AZO DEX DIS HOS IGG JEE MEM SUQ TAV VAU VAV WAW ZAG ZIG ZEP ZOA
May they rest in peace.
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