Scrabble: do you think the letter values should change, or should we keep it classic?

A researcher has introduced new guidelines for point scoring

Share
Related Topics

Some love it, some don't get the appeal, but we all know it. Scrabble: the greatest word board game there ever was.

During the Great Depression, unemployed architect Alfred Butts decided to invent a board game. 75 years later, and his wordy creation has become one of the most treasured games in history.

He based the point value and the distribution of letters in Scrabble based on his analysis of the front page of the New York Times.

Researcher and player Joshua Lewis has now created a new system called Valett (based on probability) which would potentially completely change the game.

He feels that the recent inclusion in Scrabble’s official dictionary of modern and dialect words like 'Quaazy', 'Zowpig', and 'Splawder' has rendered the board game’s scoring system dramatically out of date.

In the new system, C would be worth only 2 points, G worth 3, Q would remain at a hefty 10 (highest-scoring letter) but those seemingly pesky Alphabet-tailing X and Z would both drop - the former down to 5, and latter to 6.

X always did seem rather generous.

It's interesting, and kudos to Lewis for initiating the discussion (yes, yes, there are more important things. But times are tough, and board games are fun - and cheap). It's definitely worthwhile considering creating a new and modern version with a greater emphasis on probability, but is there a need?

Monopoly has been rolling with the times and now has modern credit card versions with hefty inflation - a train station costs millions. I played this at Christmas (click on image above to see the results of our three and a half hour game), and it's far too easy for the less serious players (children) to cheat with the electronic card machine. Plus holding a wad of cash was fun, even if it wasn't real - but naturally having your very own snazzy credit card will appeal to youngsters.

Scrabble, however, has kept it classic. The game relies on chance - and anyone could find that lucky X (8). It's what you then do with it that counts, and therein lies the skill.

It's tactical; you can screw other players over by creating words alongside their own, thus closing the board, and instead of opening up that illusive treble-word score tile for them you could play somewhere else. Do you risk saving the Z until you can use it on at least a double-letter score?

The World Scrabble Championships started in 1991 and take place every two years (UK players have taken the title home three out of 11 times, not bad.) John Chew, co-president of the North American Scrabble Players Association says there would be “catastrophic outrage“ if the scoring system were to change. There are die-hard fans who've spent years perfecting their knowledge of useful words and the full two-letter list. Last year a Scrabble player was even thrown out of the US national championship tournament after being caught hiding blank letter tiles. It's a serious business.

In my opinion, it's already the perfect combination of chance and skill, and wild-card blank tiles add a hint of extra luck. We should keep it classic. You can always accustom yourself to the new, quirkier words, if you really want to win.

But do you think it's time for a Scrabble rule overhaul?

Vote below, and see the extra tips to win underneath.

 


Here are some extra tips to win:

 

  • Familiarise yourself with the two-letter words. QI is particularly useful if you have the Q but no U. None of them contain a V, so don't bother looking. ZA, however, is acceptable. As in "I want some PIZ-ZA".
  • Know the rules: Here are the NSA Official Tournament Rules
  • Practice. Zyzzyva is a computer program used by Scrabble fans for learning words
  • Set your own specific rules out before you play. i.e. do you need to be able to quote the meaning of the word? Do you get to wedgie your brother if he loses?
  • Here are some more tips from the real experts
  •  

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul falls: Talk of Iraq retaking the town, held by IS since June, is unconvincing  

Isis on the run? The US portrayal is very far from the truth

Patrick Cockburn
 

General Election 2015: You’re welcome to join us on the campaign's final straight

Lisa Markwell
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk