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Scrabble II in Action!


Scrabble News vs. The Dover Scrabble Club, 2009

or,

What Scrabble is vs. What Scrabble could be...

 
North American tournament Scrabble players play, naturally enough, a form of Scrabble which I call "modern American tournament-style Scrabble", or "modern Scrabble", for short.

The Dover Scrabble Club (Delaware), on the other hand, plays Scrabble II, which is pure Scrabble with the straitjacket removed. A few small adjustments move the game out of the morass 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.

***

Scrabble News is the newsletter of the National Scrabble Association. It comes out 8 times a year. Every issue contains an Annotated Game, presumably a noteworthy (not too redundant!) game played in a recent tournament. Joe Edley supplies the always interesting play by play commentary.

What I've done here is gather up a year's worth of these annotated games for comparison with Scrabble II games played in the Dover Scrabble Club. The eight Scrabble News issues essentially covered 2009, ending with the February 2010 issue.

Accordingly, I chose 8 good games from the 63 games played in our first season of 2010, spanning January through March. (I didn't reuse the good game that I presented at the bottom of my "Open letter to a Scrabble Champion" page.)

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 "Mini-plays of just Two-letter Words", where you see the actual plays. Scrabble II has high standards and does not allow these exceptionally mindless mini-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 eight Annotated Games from Scrabble News vs. eight good games played in the Dover Scrabble Club in early 2010. Keep in mind that none of us in the Dover club spends a minute of his life studying word lists.

Take a look and then tell me: who looks like they're having the most exciting and rewarding Scrabble experience? the experts with their gobs and gobs of funny little words? or us regular folk pulling nice, long words from out of our own vocabularies?

 

*** 10-letter Words ***

Scrabble News: (none)

Dover Club: (1) PLURALIZED

 

*** 9-letter Words ***

Scrabble News: (none)

Dover Club: (5) CONFLATES ENTRANCED RERAISING SQUATTEST UPRIGHTED

 

*** 8-Letter Words ***

Scrabble News: (16) ADHESION BARRANCO BIOPLASM BLOUSING DISROOTS DRUMLINS INCREATE LITMUSES MOISTURE NEUTRALS SCOTTIES STALLING TENTIEST THURIFER TROPHIED VETERANS

Dover Club: (23) DORMANCY EIGHTIES FEISTIER FRAILEST FUNNIEST HAIRIEST HANGOUTS HORMONES INFINITE MUNITION REASONER REQUITED SADDENED SEAPLANE SEEMLIER SQUIRTER STINGIER UNCOMMON UNFLAWED UNSOLVED UNTAGGED VAUNTING WEBBINGS

 

*** 7-Letter Words ***

Scrabble News: (13) ATAXIES BURIALS DILATES FLANGED GUITARS GUSTOES HALVING INVADES JOGGLED SHRINES VEILING WARISON WHINGED

Dover Club: (35) AWFULLY BUDDIES CHORALE DOUSING ENVIOUS EVACUEE EVADING FAINTER FIANCEE FLEXORS FLOATER GADGETS GETAWAY GLUMMER GURNEYS HANGOUT HOGGING INDEXER LEATHER LECTURE LOUNGER METERED NARTHEX OBEYING OPINION RANCHER REASONS REBOOTS RECOILS REEDIER RITUALS SEQUOIA SORRIER TISSUES WAXIEST

 

*** 6-Letter Words ***

Scrabble News: (22) AVAUNT AVENUE BAGGIE CHAWER CODIFY DROVES FINDER FLOOIE FRIGID FRIGID GILDER MUNCHY NEWBIE PAWNEE PLAINT PORTED RIALTO TIPTOE VULVAR WADMAL WITHIN WOOLER

Dover Club: (32) ALLELE ANYONE BAITED BARING BRAVED BROOCH DEEPER ELOPER ENTITY FROSTY GINGER GOOGOL HEALER HOOFER JAILER LADDER LAVING METEOR MOMENT OBLIGE OXYGEN PRINCE QUOTED RECOIL SAVORY SPURNS THORNY TWENTY UNCLAD UPBEAT VACUUM WOMBAT

 

*** 5-Letter Words ***

Scrabble News: (45) AGAVE AZOIC BEADY BEEPS BEMIX BENNY BRITS COOED COZIE CREDO DUADS DUPED DYING EXINE FEIST GLEEK GOOFY GURUS LUNTS MILKS MOTTE NAEVI NIFTY NIFTY PHONE PREED PROLE QANAT QANAT QUEAN RADIX RAVED SCRAP SCURF THEME TODDY TOLES TONGS TOTER TUMID VEERY VIGOR VIRLS WAXER ZERKS

Dover Club: (32) AGATE ALTAR AROMA AUDIO BIDDY BLOOM CIVIL CLOWN DINGY DITCH DODGY EXTRA FAVOR GOOFY GOUGE INLAY ITEMS JAILS JUMPY MAVEN METAL NACHO NOISE OFTEN PATCH PIECE SPINE TWICE VERGE VOTED WAVED WOULD

 

*** 4-Letter Words ***

Scrabble News: (51) AGER ATOM AWEE BAAS BIDI CAMP DAIS DAME DJIN DOIT DOWN DUCE ERGO FETA FOHN FUZE GETA GONE IZAR JEER JEFE JIAO JINK JUBE KANE KIST KOHL KYAR LORN NAOI NEIF NEWT OATH OBIA ODEA OLIO OVUM PLOT QUID REAL ROVE SCOT SUNK TIRL UNTO VARA VIGA VINA WAIL WOGS ZAGS

Dover Club: (36) ADIT AQUA BALM BEAR CUPS DINT DRAW FEAT FIVE FLEX FOIN FUME GURU HAZE HOLY JAVA JOIN JOIN JURY JUST LAWN OOZE PAVE PELT QUAY QUID QUIT QUIZ ROTS SEEN SLOW VIVA VOLT WAND WEAL ZITS

 

*** 3-Letter Words ***

Scrabble News: (81) AAH ABO ADD AIM AIS AIT AMP ANE AWA BUR BYE CAN CRY DEY DOE DUB EFT EME ERE ERE ERN ESS ETH EWE FAG FAG FAG FEZ FOP FOR FOU FOU GEM GOT HES HIN HOB HOS INN JEU JOE JOY KUE LAB MEL MID NAY NOR OBI OPE PEA PEC PEH PER PIG PUB QAT QIS QIS QUA RAJ RAN REM REX RHO SEE SIT TAD TAE TOY VIM VOX WAX WHA WHO WHY WIG WIN WOW ZIN ZIT

Dover Club: (21) AGA CUP ERR FOX FRY GAG HEW HUE JET JIG JOE OFF OIL ORT PIP QUA RED REP TAB TOW ZIT

 

*** 2-Letter Words ***

Scrabble News: (94) AA AB AE AH AL AR AR AT AX BA BA BI DO ED ED EF EF EL EL EL EN ET EX EX EX EX FE HE ID ID IF IN IS IT JO KI KI KI LI LI LI LI LO MA ME MO MU NA NA NA NE NO OD OE OE OE OF OI OM ON OP OP OR OX OY OY PA PI PI QI QI QI QI RE RE SI TA TA TA TI TI TI TI TI TO UH UM UN UN UT WE WO XU YE

Dover Club: (36) AD AH AN AR AS AS AS AT BE BE ED EF EN EN HE HE HO IF LA ME MI MU OH ON OS OS OS OX PA RE TA TO US UT UT YO

 

*** Foreign, Proper, Obsolete, Offensive and/or Weird Words ***

Scrabble News: (85) BIOPLASM DISROOTS LITMUSES SCOTTIES TENTIEST WARISON BAGGIE FLOOIE MUNCHY PAWNEE WADMAL WOOLER BEMIX COZIE GLEEK LUNTS NAEVI PREED QANAT QANAT TOLES VIRLS AWEE DJIN DOIT JEFE JUBE KANE KYAR NEIF OBIA TIRL WOGS ZAGS ABO AWA EME FOU FOU JEU KUE MEL OPE PEH QAT QIS QIS REX TAE VOX WHA ZIN AA AE BA BA ET FE JO KI KI KI MO NA NA NA NE OD OE OE OE OI OM OP OP OY OY QI QI QI QI UN UN WO XU

Dover Club: (none)

 

*** Mini-plays of just Two-letter Words ***

Scrabble News: (13)   OX/JO/EX   LI/TI   LO   OF/HO/EF   QI   AX/PA/OX   OM/HO/UM   EX/OE/EX   EN   OI   GO   QI   NO/OI/DO  

Dover Club: (never happens)

Stepping through the games play by play and counting up the turns in which the experts played an invalid word or made a mini-play, we find that 46.4% of their plays (98 out of 211) would not even be allowed in the Dover Scrabble Club.

 

*** Use of the Q ***

Scrabble News:

QANAT
QANAT
QUEAN
QUID
QAT
QIS
QIS
QUA
QI
QI
QI
QI

Dover Club:

SQUATTEST
REQUITED
SQUIRTER
SEQUOIA
QUOTED
AQUA
QUAY
QUID
QUIT
QUIZ
QUA

 

*** Percentage of SHORTIES on Final Board ***

Scrabble News: 94 Twos + 81 Threes → 175 Shorties/322 words = 54.3% Shorties

Dover Club: 36 Twos + 21 Threes → 57 Shorties/221 words = 25.8% Shorties

 

*** Percentage of LONG WORDS on Final Board ***

Scrabble News: 22 Sixes + 13 Sevens + 16 Eights → 51 Long Words/322 words = 15.9% Long Words

Dover Club: 32 Sixes + 35 Sevens + 23 Eights + 5 Nines + 1 Ten → 96 Long Words/221 words = 43.4% Long Words

 

*** Average LENGTH of Words on Final Board ***

Scrabble News: 1211 letters/322 words = 3.76 letters/word

Dover Club: 1115 letters/221 words = 5.05 letters/word

 
Or, you may find it more striking to consider the average number of words on the final board:

Scrabble News: 40.6 measly, flea-bitten words on final board.

Dover: 24.9 good, honest words on final board!

 
So the Dover Scrabble Club plays words about 1.3 letters longer, on the average, than the serious tournament players. Put another way, our words average about 34% longer! The mind boggles at what the experts could do if they kissed the funny little stuff goodbye, and stepped up to . . . Scrabble II!

 

*** Conclusion ***

Scrabble II: half the shorties, twice the long words, and none of the artificiality of modern tournament-style Scrabble!

 


Appendix 1: Scrabble II

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 opened up, but, otherwise, 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.

You can find all the Scrabble II games used in this study on my page of highlights from the Dover Scrabble Club Season 8. Specifically, the games used were: 021, 030, 036, 041, 045, 049, 052, and 063. The annotated tournament games can be found in issues 226 through 233 of Scrabble News.

 


Appendix 2: All I'm Asking For . . .

. . . 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!)

 


Appendix 3: Disallowed American Heritage Words

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

QOPH

May they rest in peace.

 


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