SCRABBLE: A Fight For Survival

Posted: October 12, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“To be honest, I find going out pretty scary and intimidating. Got all those people checking you out, with only one purpose: hooking up. I’m quite the dork, I’d rather sit home and play Scrabble. But that doesn’t get you a girl, does it?”~Wentworth Miller

Okay fellow subscribers and readers: No hokey posts about love, emotion, desires, dreams or the brain today. I’m sure that plenty of you are tired of it all.

I also want to say thank you to all of those who read this blog. Yesterday I reached over 3,000 total views. It is what makes me want to keep this blog alive, instead of discarding it. Knowing that people are reading it.

With that said:

This afternoon, I went out on to the battlefield. Well actually, just the game board. But it was still heated. After having played a gruesome game of Scrabble today, I was reminded of the previous times I have played against the neighbors and I either came out of it victorious, or was put into immediate shame.

There was a time a few years ago, the apartment complex had a Game Day on Friday afternoons. Scrabble was one of the games offered and I stuck around to play the neighbors. Suddenly, it was a grueling foursome fight.

But then the guy who would always win, was caught cheating and so his wife simply bowed out of it after verbalizing her disgust in her husband’s cheating ways. Then the next person simply had lost her interest in playing the game.

It became a head-to-head challenge. My opponent with many degrees and certificates and knowledge of languages, and simple little ole me.

Eventually, I could see how the guy was cheating. He would put words on the board and claim 20-30 points for the word when it actually never was a word. When he was asked to use it in a sentence, he wouldn’t blink or shake and would make up something that sounded real that nobody ran for a dictionary. It was supposed to be fun, it was never for prizes or anything like that.

What would seem to could have been the final blow at the time was the argument over the word “CALVARY“. I was using it as a military term, but the old man defied all of that logic (even though he came out of the Army as a Lt. Col.), and said that it was a proper noun, i.e.~ the Cross of Calvary, and therefore it could not be played.

There were no dictionaries around and no computers available that were working to jump online to look it up. The end result was that this word, would have landed on a triple word score block and put me so far ahead of him in the lead that he’d have no chance to come back and beat me because all other triple word score blocks were already used. Plus it was nearing the end of the game, and I only had a few letters left. Using the word would have meant that I used ALL of my tiles that I had and that would have added even more to the lead for getting a 50 point bonus for using all of your tiles. I was looking at a word that would have gained me close to 80 points total. The guy wouldn’t have had a freakin’ chance.

So the final result was that I pulled my word off of the board, and he grabbed it to take his turn. He claimed that because I placed an improper word on the board, I forfeited a turn.

I think that actually are the rules, but this is supposed to be a low-key match on a Friday afternoon just passing the time away. No world-domination of supreme rule involved and the fate of the world was not in jeopardy from this game. Besides, nobody made him forfeit a turn when he got caught cheating and it was obvious, and then he went ahead and played another word. Nobody said anything about that!!!

He ended up using the triple word score block and had something like 50+ points from one word. Suddenly it was I, who was so far back that I could never catch up and he won the match by well over 30 points in the end.

To this day, nobody has ever figured out if I was actually right or not.

He and I have played a game or two here and there since then. But not as we used to, not after that scene over that one word. Probably a year went by before we went at it again.

His wife had refused to play. And I do not think that anyone blamed her because her husband would cheat so deliberately.

A two player game will mount points up of over 200 total and be pretty close to 300. A three or four player game is a little different. Once a player is getting up to 200 points, they are either cheating or its nearing the end of the game.

We no longer fear the dreaded J, Q, X, or Z. In fact, we invite it. Those are the letter tiles that gain you the most points, even if you are unsure of which words would contain them to spell out something correctly. I think that many people who play the game just for fun don’t really know a lot of words with those kinds of letters and they panic whenever its something that they draw.

Today’s “playground” was a bit different. It was myself, plus the husband and wife. A glorious effort by all who were involved because we were just so darned rusty in playing the game. But it got pretty heated and intense.

I could never maintain a lead. Sure, I would play a word and then capture the lead… but the person after me would always score something higher and pass me up to take the lead away.

At one point, I was so far behind that I did what I could to catch up. I had a “Q”, and I was able to form the word “QUEST“. But that “Q” was one space short of being in the triple word score block. A “Q” equals 10 points alone x 3 would’ve been 30 points on just ONE letter, then the rest of the word. But it was short one spot.

The wife saw the opportunity and started to trash talk and celebrate as she added on to the word and created the word, “REQUEST“. I think it was 54 points for that one word. She built herself a very solid lead.

She was very proud of herself for finding it. The husband already had warned me that’s what she would have played. So all the trash talk- we were prepared for. Nothing like the elderly pointing their fingers in your face and giving your the raspberries.

But it was my turn next, and I took up the other opportunity because I built the word “REQUESTED” and the “D” actually landed on the other triple word score block. (For those of you who play and know the board- the “D” was played at the very bottom right corner, which tripled the word in points.)

It gained me 57 points and only behind the leader by less than ten points at that time!!!

Suddenly, things weren’t looking to bad for me. The wife immediately was deflated and all I was really hoping for was to keep up with the wife, and only doing my best to try and keep the lead close from the husband. I felt there was no shame in earning second place. Epic war!

But then I was the player who went out. I added the total score and was still down by just a few points. The rules do state that if any player is left with any letters, and someone goes out, then they subtract the point value total from their score. The one who goes out first actually GAINS the point value of each letter left unplayed by other players. The wife had a total of five points, and the husband only one point. The gain of six points at the end was the trick that gave me the victory!!! I beat the husband by one point– HIS point that he had to surrender, otherwise he and I would have tied.

Clearly, he was a bit disgusted that he lost, and by so very little. He’s so used to decimating me. He wanted another game, but I was fortunate enough to announce that I had an appointment soon and I had to leave.

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat…. or something like that.

So if Wentworth Miller (of “Prison Break” fame) says he’s a dork for playing Scrabble, then every once in a while, I am in complete dorkness!! I say to him, “Come on over, I’ll kick your butt.”

What kinds of board games do you indulge once in a while? Trivia? Monopoly?? Let me know. I’d be curious to find out.

And for those of you who are wondering:

  • Wife- 194
  • Husband- 201
  • Me-202

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