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and dialect words like 'Quaazy', 'Zowpig', and 'Splawder' has rendered the board game’s scoring system dramatically out of date.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

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

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Separate lives: Boston’s streets illustrate the divide between the town’s communities  

Migrants have far more to offer than hard work and wealth creation, yet too many exist in isolation from the rest of society

Emily Dugan
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has sold 40 million copies  

Go Set a Watchman: Harper Lee’s new novel is more than just a literary event

Joseph Charlton
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'