scrabble board game full 100 tile set

scrabble board game full 100 tile set (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How Many Games of Online Scrabble Do You Have Going?

Several years ago, I tried to develop a Scrabble-like game using phonetic spelling.

I wrote a 300-page dictionary of phonetically-spelled one-syllable words, knowing there would need to be a dictionary to settle disputes and that normal dictionaries only spell phonetically with special characters.

I learned that English does not need a “Q,” an “X,” or a “C.”

We have other letters that can be used to spell those sounds. They are historical anomalies.

I read Mark Twain’s spoof, “A Plan for the Improvement of Spelling.”

I met a nine-year-old boy who had already figured out that English does not need a “C.” I gave him a copy of Mark Twain’s article.

I tested my game and revised the board and rules over a year or so, working with 75 focus groups.

But, in the end, aside from the fact that it was clearly a Scrabble derivative, it just wasn’t fun to play all the way to the end.

In regular Scrabble, when you are memorizing words, at least they are words you could use in real-life. There is no such advantage to phonetic spelling.

Also, with phonetic spelling, and the substitution of numbers like one, nine and eight for whole syllables, words were shorter than their normal equivalents.

So, play got bunched in the middle of the board.

The effort has been shelved until I have time to look at it again fresh, but, along the way, I got back into Scrabble and found out which of my friends are Scrabble fanatics.

And, I found that really good Scrabble players were also really good at my game.

Language skills transfer. Teachers knew this.

My focus groups in English classes capitalized on the fact that all language play is educational, especially when it is fun.

What Does It Take to Be a Good Scrabble Player?

There is something fascinating about someone who can recall a list of 2- and 3-letter words, or words that use “Q” without a “U.”

Apparently, this skill is one of the keys to being a top Scrabble player.

And, then, a friend told me about online Scrabble. He had five games active, including one with his Mom.

Since then, I’ve run into many friends who casually mention how many Scrabble games they are involved in at the time.

Half a dozen seems to be the average.

What Does the Internet Have to Do with Scrabble?

This is how the Internet has changed the way we play Board games.

It is not just that you don’t have to be in the same place, at the same time.

It is not just that we risk losing how to interact with people in person, real-time, as when my husband and I saw recently, when we saw a young couple waiting for a meal at an outdoor café, both busy texting.

No talking.

It is that the nature of interaction has changed.

Instead of the occasional letters from his Mom, which she probably still writes, my friend gets to advance a play in Scrabble, in those previously lost moments of waiting.

And, then, check in to see if his Mom has played.

Like the articles a Mom sends, a Scrabble play is Mom and son saying to each other, “Hi, I miss you. I love you.

“I can still beat you at Scrabble.”

Do you play any online games?

Do you play friends, alone or with someone the site matches you up with?

Do you play with your grandchildren?

To you and the many ways to keep up connections across the generations.


Click here to order the old-fashioned Scrabble game to play with your grandchildren.

Click here to play with them online.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers

Click here to order this blog on your Kindle.


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