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Scrabble II For Word Lovers

The wonders of the 8th tile!

Introduction and comparison with Championship Scrabble

 

*** Introduction ***

 
Scrabble II For Word Lovers is the third step in the Scrabble For Word Lovers suite. Scrabble II builds on the lower level games, so, if you haven't already, please visit the Scrabble For Word Lovers intro page to quickly familiarize yourself with Scrabble O and Scrabble I.

Scrabble II goes beyond Scrabble I in just these ways:

1. 8-tile rack.

2. Big Play and Stretch Bonuses adjusted for the 8th tile.

3. Small Word Point Cap rule.

I am certain studies would confirm that 8 tiles is optimal for Scrabble. Now you have something to sink your teeth into. Seven tiles was just too skimpy; 9 is an overload.

With an 8th tile on the rack, the Big Plays are now 6, 7, and 8 tiles, and their respective bonuses are 20, 50, and 80 points. Notice the balance around the classic, 50-point bingo bonus. Likewise, the Stretch Bonuses have been adjusted to blend with the new Big Play Bonuses.

The whole idea behind Scrabble For Word Lovers is bigger, healthier words. We already have the 3-letter minimum and the Big Word and Stretch Bonuses to push and pull us in that direction, and an extended board to give us space. But while you can't rack up monster points with a mindless play like AX/OX on triple letter score (because of the 3-letter minimum), you can still strike it rich with TAX/OX, say.

With an 8th tile now in our arsenal, small, mindless plays like TAX/OX will be seen to be even further beneath our dignity and contrary to where we're going.

Thus was born the simple, elegant Small Word Point Cap rule: "In words of up to 4 letters, the value of a letter is capped by the length of the word." So in our TAX/OX example, the X would be worth 3 points in TAX, and 2 points in OX. Now you'll surely do better coming up with a big, healthy X word.

For more detail and discussion, please visit the Scrabble II rules page, but this handy Scrabble II on a Slip about says it all:

     SCRABBLE II     
                      Two-Letter Words    
      MAIN WORD                           
  3-letter minimum   AB  DO  ID  OF  TA   
                     AD      IF  OH  TI   
   BIG PLAY Bonus    AG  ED  IN  ON  TO   
     Tiles  Pts      AH  EF  IS  OR       
       6     20      AI  EH  IT  OS  UH   
       7     50      AM  EL      OW  UM   
       8     80      AN  EM  LA  OX  UP   
                     AR  EN  LI      US   
    STRETCH Bonus    AS  ER  LO  PA  UT   
  (on fives and up)  AT  EX      PI       
     Ltrs   Pts      AW      MA      WE   
       1      0      AX  FA  ME  RE  WO   
       2     30      AY      MI           
       3     50          GO  MU  SH  XI   
       4     70      BE      MY  SI       
       5     90      BI  HA      SO  YE   
       6    120 *    BY  HE  NO      YO   
       7    150 *        HI  NU           
       8    180 *        HO               
                                          
  Regular dictionary; all words checked.  
  Random scoop from nice 300-tile set.    
  Extended board; 8-tile rack.            
  SWAP for the blank.                     
  Small Word Point Cap.  
  *Bonus incorporates BIG PLAY bonus.     

 

*** Sample Scrabble II Boards ***

Here are 5 real Scrabble II games played by regular people. As you scroll down, consider that your own Scrabble boards average upwards of 40 words, and that your Scrabble words average little more than 3 letters.

Game 1: "FEIGNING FARRIERS"
Sample Scrabble II game board.

  Game 1 Statistics

   9: INNOVATED TRAIPSING REMANDING
   8: MATCHING WEARIEST HABITUAL ALKALINE FOISTING FARRIERS 
      FEIGNING ANTIQUED
   7: VOLLEYS OPERANT BLUSHES
   6: WAIVED
   4: DOVE
   2: IT
  
  Tiles: 109 total; 108 played; unplayed O 
  Tile oddities:  1C  13I  11N
  Power tiles: 11  Q _ _ _ _ _ S S S S S 
  Percent expected vowels: 94% (slightly consonant heavy)
  Words on board: 17 total; 15.4 normalized.
  Average word length: 7.29 letters. 

 
Game 2: "JONGLEUR DEVOURS DERVISHES"
Sample Scrabble II game board.

  Game 2 Statistics

  10: PURPORTING
   9: BANDAGERS VENERATES DERVISHES
   8: HALATION REPEATER JONGLEUR
   7: DEVOURS FAIRIES NATTERS
   6: CAJOLE COVETS MUTING
   5: FAZED
   4: WORD
   3: CUE
   2: EF
  
  Tiles: 100 total; 97 played; unplayed A E A 
  Tile oddities:  2J  no K  4V  no Y
  Power tiles: 11  J J Z _ _ _ S S S S S 
  Percent expected vowels: 103%
  Words on board: 17 total; 17.2 normalized. 
  Average word length: 6.50 letters.

 
Game 3: "CHINTZY PAJAMAS"
Sample Scrabble II game board.

  Game 3 Statistics

   9: BLINKERED TROLLEYED
   7: PANNING PAJAMAS OUTRAGE CHINTZY RATLINE
   6: PATINA ZOOMED RELATE VOTING DEVOTE RATTED LODGED MILKED
   5: HATED
   4: WRIT TOOT
   3: CAB OAK
  
  Tiles: 103 total; 101 played; unplayed I I 
  Tile oddities:  12A  no F  1S  11T  1U
  Power tiles: 4  J Z _ S 
  Percent expected vowels: 109% (somewhat vowel heavy)
  Words on board: 20 total; 19.4 normalized.
  Average word length: 6.00 letters. 

 
Game 4: "TZARIST GOVERNOR"
Sample Scrabble II game board.

  Game 4 Statistics

   9: SIMILARLY OUTBEGGED
   8: ADJUSTED ORDERING ENTERING GOVERNOR
   7: QUIETLY CORDIAL TZARIST ZESTING PARBOIL
   6: HOWLER
   5: BLAZE NIXED
   2: AS LI GO HO OR YO
  
  Tiles: 96 total; 92 played; unplayed V V W L 
  Tile oddities:  no F  6G  no K  7L  2Z
  Power tiles: 12  J Q X Z Z _ _ _ S S S S 
  Percent expected vowels: 94% (slightly consonant heavy)
  Words on board: 20 total; 21.3 normalized. 
  Average word length: 5.65 letters. 

 
Game 5: "ATOMISED GECKOES"
Sample Scrabble II game board.

  Game 5 Statistics

  10: UNCANCELED
   9: REQUESTER
   8: ATOMISED TUITIONS
   7: GECKOES COOLING REPLACE OILIEST
   6: RIGORS KIDNAP BROGUE BOVINE ZEPHYR
   5: JAMBS FUNKY
   3: RIM MOC
   2: US ER RE IS PA
  
  Tiles: 97 total; 96 played; unplayed I 
  Tile oddities:  4C  10I  3K  no W
  Power tiles: 11  J Q Z _ _ S S S S S S 
  Percent expected vowels: 106% (slightly vowel heavy)
  Words on board 22 total; 22.5 normalized. 
  Average word length: 5.41 letters. 

 
I hope you'll scroll back up taking a look at the "tile oddities" which arise from the random scoop, such as a game with 4V.

Did you see the difference with your own Scrabble boards in regards to bigger, more respectable words? If not, read on...

 

*** Comparison of Scrabble II with Championship Scrabble ***

Let's see how those five games stack up against "regular" Scrabble played at the very, very highest level; specifically, the five-game championship play-off at the 2015 National Scrabble Tournament. (You can view the games here: Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5.)

 
Here are all 199 words on the five Championship Play-off boards, and the 96 words on the five Scrabble II boards above. (Words in red would be disallowed in Scrabble For Word Lovers, which uses a regular dictionary.)

Champions: (199 words) ELATERITE RETINULAE BANTENGS ENACTORY EPINASTY IMPINGED LEAGUING LEUCOMAS LIGNEOUS NONELITE OUTFOUND SATURANT VESTIGES ALEWIFE AUDILES BIGHEAD CAUTION EMBRUTE PRALINE SAILING SIMPLER THERIAN AERUGO AVENGE BANDIT CENSER CITERS HUIPIL JEWING JOCUND MATZAH PAEONS PANTED REECHO WEIRDO WHINEY WHINNY ZOOIER ARROW BARFI COMPS DOLOR DONEE DREAM DRYER FIERY GLOBE HORAL INDOW INLET JESTS KIVAS MEALY OAKED QUERN REUSE ROOTY SEGNO SLEEK SOJUS TRIOS VARVE VOLTI XENON ALIT BALE BRIO CLIT CLUE DEFI DOAT DOOB DORK DUST FAVA GOAD HOED IRID JIGS LOAF MAKI ORCA RELY SOCK SYLI TYRE WEPT YUZU ADO ANA ARF AWA AWL CON DUG ERE ERG FAG FED FOB HAG JOE KIS MAN MOI MOO PAY PIU POL POW QUA RAI RIB SAE SUQ TOY VAC VOX WUD ZEK AA AB AB AG AG AH AI AL BE BE DA DA DE EF EF EH EM ES EX EX FA FE HA ID IF IF IN IN IN IN IS IT JO KA LA LI MI MU NA NE NO NU OD OE OH OH OI ON OP OW OW OW OX OY PA PE PE QI QI RE SO SO TA TA TE TE TI UM UN UP US WE XI XI XI XI YO ZA ZA

Scrabble II: (96 words) PURPORTING UNCANCELED BANDAGERS BLINKERED DERVISHES INNOVATED OUTBEGGED REMANDING REQUESTER SIMILARLY TRAIPSING TROLLEYED VENERATES ADJUSTED ALKALINE ANTIQUED ATOMISED ENTERING FARRIERS FEIGNING FOISTING GOVERNOR HABITUAL HALATION JONGLEUR MATCHING ORDERING REPEATER TUITIONS WEARIEST BLUSHES CHINTZY COOLING CORDIAL DEVOURS FAIRIES GECKOES NATTERS OILIEST OPERANT OUTRAGE PAJAMAS PANNING PARBOIL QUIETLY RATLINE REPLACE TZARIST VOLLEYS ZESTING BOVINE BROGUE CAJOLE COVETS DEVOTE HOWLER KIDNAP LODGED MILKED MUTING PATINA RATTED RELATE RIGORS VOTING WAIVED ZEPHYR ZOOMED BLAZE FAZED FUNKY HATED JAMBS NIXED DOVE TOOT WORD WRIT CAB CUE MOC OAK RIM AS EF ER GO HO IS IT LI OR PA RE US YO

 
Here are some statistics distilled from the above. The Average Word Length for Scrabble II is about 6.1 letters, or 63% bigger than in the Championship Play-off games.


                               Championship Play-off   Scrabble O     Scrabble I      Scrabble II
                               ---------------------   ----------     ----------      -----------
                                                                                      
    Total Words (5 boards)     199 words               120 words      104 words       96 words
                                                                                      
    Average Words on Board     40                      24             20.8            19.2 
                                                                                      
    Average Word Length        3.7 letters             5.1 letters    5.8 letters     6.1 letters
                                                       (36% longer!)  (54% longer!)   (63% longer!)
                               
    Weird Werdz                53 (27% of total)       none           none            none (ok, maybe MOC)

 
Now look at the vast gulf in JQXZ usage:

Champions: JEWING JOCUND MATZAH ZOOIER JESTS QUERN SOJUS XENON JIGS YUZU JOE QUA SUQ VOX ZEK EX EX JO OX QI QI XI XI XI XI ZA ZA

Scrabble II: REQUESTER ADJUSTED ANTIQUED JONGLEUR CHINTZY PAJAMAS QUIETLY TZARIST ZESTING CAJOLE ZEPHYR ZOOMED BLAZE FAZED JAMBS NIXED

 

*** Summary of differences with "regular" Scrabble ***

Here, at a glance, are the differences between modern, "regular" Scrabble and Scrabble II For Word Lovers.

  "Regular" Scrabble               Scrabble O                      Scrabble I              Scrabble II              
  ------------------               ----------                      ----------              -----------              
  Word list memorization           Vocabulary-based                (ditto)                 (ditto)                 
                                                                                                                   
  Overloaded OSPD                  Regular dictionary              (ditto)                 (ditto)                 
                                                                                                                   
  Weird two-letter words           Refined 2-letter word list      (ditto)                 (ditto)                 
                                                                                                                   
  Invalid words allowed            Points for good words only      (ditto)                 (ditto)                 
                                                                                                                   
  Bluffing                         No bluff element                (ditto)                 (ditto)                 
                                                                                                                   
  2-letter minimum                 3-letter minimum                (ditto)                 (ditto)                 

  Big points for tiny plays        (ditto, but main word must      (ditto)                 Small Word Point Cap    
                                   be at least 3 letters)

  Cheap JQXZ points                Tougher JQXZ (regular           (ditto)                 (ditto)
                                   dictionary, 3-letter min)       
                                                                
  Classic 7 tile rack              (ditto)                         (ditto)                 8 tile rack
                                                                                                                   
  Single bonus for playing         Stepped bonuses for Big Plays   (ditto)                 Bonuses for Big Plays
  all 7 tiles                      of 5, 6, or 7 tiles                                     of 6, 7, or 8 tiles     
                                                                                                                   
  No reason to stretch words       Stretch bonus                   (ditto)                 (ditto, adjusted 
                                                                                           for 8 tiles)                 
                                                                                                                   
  Classic 100-tile set with        100-tile set with               Nice 300-tile letter    (ditto)
  "I" overload (9 I's)             one "I" removed (8 I's)         distribution            
                                                                                                                   
  Same 100 tiles every game        (ditto)                         Fresh 100-tile scoop    (ditto)
                                                                   for each game           
                                                                                                                   
  2 blanks                         3 blanks                        Average 3 blanks/game   (ditto)
                                                                                                                   
  Single use blanks                Reusable blanks                 (ditto)                 (ditto)                 
                                                                                                                   
  Classic 15x15 board              (ditto)                         Extended board (3       (ditto) 
                                                                   extra rows each side)   
                                                                                                                   
  A few thousand players           Tens of millions of players?    (ditto)                 (ditto)                 

  Top players wallow in obscurity  Top players rich $uper$tars!    (ditto)                 (ditto)

 

*** Play Scrabble II on-line with a friend! ***

Find me a programmer first.

 

*** Legal statement and a plea ***

I retain the rights to these additions, adjustments, and modifications giving rise to Scrabble II, singly or in combination, insofar as I may be allowed.

But I will give Scrabble O, Scrabble I, and Scrabble II in their entirety to Hasbro for free if that's what it takes to make the Scrabble world safe again for word lovers. Anyone out there with the connections to talk to them?

 


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