Scrabble By Our Rules

I read an article in the paper the other day that quoted the BBC as saying that Mattel was going to be changing the rules of Scrabble for the first time in the history of the game.  Scrabble players around the country were all stirred up.  But as I read further, it said that the rule changes were apparently not going to apply to play here in the States.  I guess in Great Britain you will be allowed to spell out proper nouns. 

Growing up in my family, my brother and I learned early on that we had to be Scrabble players or we wouldn’t have a lot of other options.  My mother loved to play Scrabble!  In fact, she played Scrabble up into her early 90’s when we realized that she could no longer see the board.   She also developed her own set of unique rules.

Oh, we followed the usual rules such as if someone challenges you on a word’s spelling and you look it up and the spelling is correct, the other person loses a turn.  Or, if you wish to look up a word in the dictionary,  you can do so but you will lose a turn.   We also followed the rules about not using proper nouns or foreign language words.  After that, however, my mom came up with her own set of rules.  For example, –

1.  If someone played a blank, you could replace it with the letter it was representing if you had that letter and then you could use the blank to represent another letter AND you didn’t have to play the blank on that particular turn.  You could save it to use later.

2.  If you had more than 3 of the same letter, you could put one back into the bag and draw another tile without losing a turn.

3.  You could consult a list of 2-letter words AND “Q” words that Mom had, at any time, without incurring a penalty such as losing a turn.

3.  And finally, Mom liked to have us all play with 9 tiles instead of 7.  She said the game went faster that way.  Well, it was true.  The game does move along faster AND it opens up more possibilities for words you can spell.

My own children grew up playing Scrabble by “Grandma’s Rules.”  It was quite a rude awakening for them and for me when we first encountered opposition from players outside of our family who didn’t want to play by her rules.  Why in the world wouldn’t you? It certainly livens up the game.  Without those extra options, I’ve been known to doze off in the middle of a game with deadly serious competitors.  My goodness, in my family, playing games was a time for laughing, gossiping, joking, even pouting, but NOT serious thinking.  Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of the meaning of “play?”

So I give you fair warning….if you ever play Scrabble with me, I’ll be the one who is trying to exchange the blank tiles or trying to pull 9 tiles out of the bag.  If thwarted, I’ll probably be the one snoring softly in my chair as I await my turn to play.

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Hot Flashed Funk


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