Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Scrabble Rant

Allow me a moment for a slight rant. I love Scrabble. It's my favorite board game. I don't get to play against people very often. Sadly, nobody in my family will play with me. My nephew claims it's humiliating to always get his ass kicked. I'm a little surprised at that 'tude. I've tried to teach them defensive strategies and share other tips. It's not like I did a Scrabble end zone dance that time that I cleared my rack over a Triple Word space, made three new words and scored 90 points in a single turn.

Nobody seems to believe me when I say that success all depends on the letters you happen to have in your rack.

The Scrabble App was the first one I bought for my iPhone. It's a great way to wake up my brain or kill time in a doctor's waiting room or any other place where time needs killin'. I play against the computer in the game. I've noticed something strange in the words that the game accepts. I'm old school Scrabble where you don't use proper names or any word that begins with a capital letter. Imagine my surprise when the computer put down Zaire. I did a quick Google search online and found out that in April of this year one of the game's licensors changed the rules to allow some proper names. (Hasbro has the rights in some countries; Mattel has the rights in others. The App version is by Hasbro.)

Fooey on that, I say, particularly if I can place the F on a Triple Letter space and the Y on a Double Word, thus scoring 38 points. I'd never do that if playing against people on an actual board. However, if the computer can do it, then I am forced to play by its rules.

So, last night I logged on for a quick game. We progressed and I spotted the opportunity to build on the computer's word GRAM to make MONDAY and earn a Triple Word. This message popped up: This word is not in the dictionary. Please try again.

What the hell? It's a day of the week. How can Monday not be in the Scrabble dictionary?? On the off chance that alien parasites had invaded my brain and destroyed the spelling sector, I called a friend.

"Spell Monday for me," I said. Dead silence ensued while she tried to reason out whether this was a trick question or the set-up for a joke.


"How do you spell Monday?"

More silence, then a tentative, "As in the Monday that's the day of the week?"

"Yes. THAT Monday."

She complied. Assured that my spelling acumen had not vanished I told her why I wanted confirmation. We agreed that the game was screwed up.

I then checked the minimal rules included with the App. They say that some "offensive or obscure words have been eliminated from the game". Granted, a lot of people don't cartwheel with glee when Monday rolls around, but it's hardly an offensive word.

Obscure? This game allows za (slang for pizza), qi (variant of chi) and qat (variant of khat, an Arabic shrub), but not Monday??

I'm not sure whether to write to Hasbro or EA, but someone needs to fix this problem. It's more than a Scrabble fan and confirmed logophile can stand!


Hope said...

OMG! It's a Brave New World! They've eliminated Monday from the dictionary! Next thing you know, they'll eliminate the weekend, and we'll go right from Friday to Tuesday with no days off. And then it will be Tuesday everyday.

At least Glee will be on!

lora96 said...

That is so wrong. But allowing any capitals in Scrabble is against God's plan.

I <3 Scrabble. My fave word's "xenial"--freaks my husband out.

Betty Fokker said...

As a fellow scrabble addict, I agree that it is unholy to change the RULES. Although qi has gotten my ass out of a tight spot a time or two!

BTW -- this is Betty Fokker

Mary Stella said...

I knew it was you, Betty, by the way that it said "Betty Fokker" said at the top of your comment. Trust me. I have no problem using Qi or qat when needed.

Hope - I am such a Gleek!

Lora - Xenial? I need to remember that one. It looks like a "captcha" word meaning A Warrior Princess who refuses to accept reality.

Speaking of which, my word verification choice right now is "porchie" as in a slightly overweight veranda looks a little porchie around the middle.

Sierra said...

They're allowing proper names?! But that's part of the challenge (also known as "fun") of Scrabble. I'm aghast.

My mom and I played Lexulous on Facebook for months, often yelling at each other from room to room. She's one of those players that will block a triple word score for everyone rather than let you have it. And she kicks my ass regularly. We're both frustrated that it is temperamental in allowing slang, but "da" as slang for dad not being allowed really steams my beans. Her response was that I need to stop thinking in British English and man up...that's my mom. :)

Mary Stella said...

She's one of those players that will block a triple word score for everyone rather than let you have it.

Sierra, your mother sounds like a woman after my own defensive playing heart.

My iPhone app won't recognize "da" either, although Ma and Pa are okay. Hate the inconsistency!

scrabble words with 2 letters said...

I grew up around Scrabble – my mom would play it when she got around friends and family, and they let me play when i grow up and travel, i would bring along my travel scrabble with me..