Wednesday, October 10, 2007



Prompted by, of all things, a colleague, I have resumed playing 5-minutes-per-side Scrabble with random strangers over the Internet (user jfreese on ISC). No offense, but you probably don't want any part of me at 5-minutes-per-side Scrabble. I'm much better at it than the regular 25-minutes-per-side Scrabble, or, more accurately, I'm less worse at 5-minutes vs. 25-minutes than most players are. Equivalently, having five times as much time to think about one's moves doesn't benefit me nearly as much as it benefits other people. I cannot shake the sense that this fact bespeaks something more general, but I'm not sure exactly what it is. I suspect it's not flattering.

BTW, as far as I can tell, three things separate intermediate from novice players from Scrabble:

1. The mental default is to try to score in two directions (if a triple word score square is not involved). For this, obviously, it helps the more 2- and 3-letter words you know.

2. The mental default is to look for a bingo whenever an S- or blank- is on one's rack, keeping them on the rack otherwise unless one has a quite good play. (With 5 minute, where one has no time to ponder, I don't even contemplate using a blank tile for anything other than a bingo until it's the end of the game.)

3. The player very much takes into account the tiles left on one's rack when making a play. I might overthink this in longer games, actually, which may be part of the reason I don't improve as much if given more time.


kristina b said...

you are way too good as scrabble, freese. but, i like that about you.

carly said...

#1 and #2 I'm ok with. #3 I have serious issues with. I've never been very good at planning ahead with anything. This is why I'm awful at Chess. And Risk for that matter.

Captain Crab said...

You need to play scrabble with PJ and her friend Cheryl when you are near the homefront sometime. They WILL give you a run for your money.