General information

INFO: A word to play is in CAPITALS. Letters already on the board are shown as the S here: WORM(S). Premium Score squares: DL = Double letter: TL = Triple letter: DW = Double Word: TW = Triple Word. The blanks have no score letter on the Top right! A bingo (using all 7 of your letters) gets +35.
Useful word lists are in the first post "ALL MY TIPS. This is the post to read first" and on some other posts. I welcome comments and suggestions.
Had a great play, score or a move you think should have been allowed? Take a screen shot and post it somewhere (Picasa?). Send me the link.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The difference betwwen Scrabble and Words With Friends

In reply to a comment about the difference betwwen the two games I said: Scrabble and WWF are indeed not the same. I'd not go so far as to say WWF is a poor copy. Each has it's place and indeed WWF might not have existed if the makers of Scrabble had realized the potential of the iPhone/iPad earlier. Early versions of computer based Scrabble were cumbersome. They tried to import the game to the computer without considering the user. WWF wrote the app looking at the problem from the other end. Having also been a software programmer I can see why one worked and the other one didn't. They might have got it right now but like many people I like WWF and see no reason to change.

Over the years, as Scrabble became more and more popular, several groups of players started competitions and now there are, if you like, 2 levels of Scrabble: Competition and not competition. Of course Scrabble is the only one of these two games that can be played in tournaments, face to face, no wordlists, strict rules and timed.

Ask yourself why WWF has been so successful. Perhaps it appealed because it was free, because the rules were more relaxed, you could test words without penalty and you could take your time. Having said that and having played Scrabble for 50 years, out of competition, I have played with word lists and a dictionary, without time restrictions and with a relaxed view on wrong words, all with consent from my opponents. Competition Scrabble has it's rules, playing with family and friends is usually and should be far more relaxed. To give you an analogy: I ride horses and when I practice jumping if my horse refuses to jump I try again and again. That is the correct way to train a horse. In competition a refusal is an elimination!

As to the playing of the game itself, BOTH games have seven letters. Any word formed using either those letters or including some that are already on the board score points. Each game uses a different dictionary, which considering the level of 99% of players is no big deal, the premium squares are not in the same place, the letter distribution not quite the same and their value sometimes different (all to avoid copyright problems I guess) In all and in my opinion these differences are minor BUT the science of the formation of words does not change. The technique of making a BINGO from 7 letters is no different in either game. Playing offensively or defensively is the same in both games. The only big differences, which you correctly point out, are the use of WWFs « try again » check and the permitted use of word lists.

I said in one of my previous posts, use the first rule to your advantage and the second in moderation. We are allowed to drink alcohol but it’s stupid to binge drink !

The only area that I feel needs clarification but could never be enforced is the use of wordlists. If you want to win, win, win then leave it to the computer to do the job. Two things happen there. You cheat yourself and the opponents will soon spot that they are playing a cheat. Of course it's not much fun either! I cant stop anyone playing like that. I do however encourage players, especially beginners to have 2 & 3-letter word lists etc handy. They will soon learn that XI QI and QAT are legal ! There are wordlists, word checkers and word finders in abundance on the Internet. Some are downright cheats and some are good aids. The rest fall in between. If in doubt then ask your opponent at the beginning how you should play. A good way is …Q « Hi, I use the word Finder nnnnn when I play. Do you play with one or would you rather play without one ? Either way is good for me » The wrong way is… « Hi, you are cheating ! »

And last but not least "Scrabble games are timed. ...sleeping on it will bore you to death" Actually I often find my self playing 20 games at the same time (no way boring) which I could not do if there was a time limit. Furthermore as I live in France, playing games with people from the East and West coast of the USA, Canada, Australia and Tasmania (which I do!), would be impossible as the time difference and short window of time would spoil most games. I can go travelling, pause a game and come back to it. I can play the USA at 1 am French time (late afternoon over there) and go to sleep when tiredness overtakes me. I can reflect on a difficult play when Australians are snoring away gently. I always tell my opponent if I am pausing a game or going to sleep. They say "Good night see you tomorrow" or "Have a nice trip" Not boring at all.

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