Views: Online Scrabble scrambles brain

I never thought I’d be writing about a video game.

And this probably doesn’t even remotely qualify as one. I’ll admit that up front.

Now I can see how such a thing could get you 28 days in a rehab center in Amsterdam.

I’m talking about online Scrabble here, people.

It’s crack for the verbally perspicacious.

I’d had enough of getting schooled by everybody at this game.

Me, a newspaper, uh, person. I’m supposed to have supernatural powers to tame the written word.
Trouble is, I’m not quick on the uptake. Nor am I particularly vocabu-licious. Staring at Q, A, I, E, F, X and V makes me break out in a sweat.

However, there are probably 97 words to make from that group of letters, many of which you would never utter.

Take for instance “qi,” an ancient word for “11 points.” (I’m kidding. Don’t tell people that.) And then there’s “ef,” which actually means “f.”

“Is that Frances with an ‘f’ or an ‘ef’?”

Put all these words together in a list and you’ve got yourself a playbook.

You can play against the computer, which has its advantages – i.e. it minds its own business.
But when you’re playing other humans, you’re bound to run into weird etiquette issues.

The computer and I were playing Monday night, and it threw out a medical term for a certain body part that I’m too prudish to write here. Ahem-hem-hem (uncomfortable throat-clearing).

When a human player wants in, the computer leaves the game. The human who entered had a screen name with “granny” in it.

So now I’ve got “granny” thinking I’ve put that word there. I nearly instant messaged her to clear my name. “Dear granny, it’s not me who put THAT there.”

Also, the other player can see (and laugh at) your every move, including when you try to make up words by forcing tiles into the wrong spaces, then sheepishly take them off the board.

And could you make your tiles spell out nasty messages when your opponent gets to the high-scoring letters first?

“U STNK”

“I HV THE Q”

“TK THT”

“ILL GT U”

There is a lot of low-key hostility involved. If your opponent runs out of time, you have the option to allow him another two minutes. Or not.

If you don’t, watch how they react. And you can’t even see them. You’ll never get a reprieve again.

Well, even if it’s not always efair, it’s efun.
 

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