Scrabble Poker

posted by : Jon Kroupa on 04/20/2011
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A couple of Christmases ago we got a little deck of Scrabble Poker cards. Being fans of regular Scrabble we decided to give it a chance.

Let me say now that this is a poorly conceived game, trying to trade on the popularity of Texas Hold'em Poker and Scrabble. The rules are completely unbalanced and confusing. Don't be too surprised if one person ends up with 800 points and everyone else has only 50.

The rules that came with the game were roughly the following:

  1. Everyone is dealt two cards face down, and three cards are placed face up in the middle.
  2. Eveyone has an opporunity to play a word, if you play both of your cards you are finished for that round.
  3. If any players are left in the round a fourth card is added to the middle.
  4. Eveyone has an opporunity to play a word, if you have played both of your cards you are finished for that round.
  5. If any players are left in the round a final card is added to the middle.
  6. Everyone has their last opporunity to play and the round is over.

There is absolutely no incentive to play early. It is in everyone's interest to wait until all five cards to showing, thus giving them the best options for a high scoring play. It also means that people who were unlucky enough not to have the ridiculously high modifier cards have no opporunity to get better cards. Some cards have "9x" modifiers, which means they get to have at least nine times as many points as other players.

After two rounds of this nonsense we had to throw out the suggested rules and come up with our own. They were as follows:

  1. Everyone is dealt 2 cards face down, and three cards face up in the middle.
  2. Each player has an opporunity to play a word using the three middle cards and / or their two personal cards. A player doesn't have to play if they don't want to. The same word cannot be played twice.
  3. Anyone who used one or two of their personal cards get new cards issued to them for a total of two cards. A fourth card is added to the middle.
  4. The play repeats with players attempting to play their highest scoring play.
  5. Anyone who used one or two of their personal cards get new cards issued to them for a total of two cards. A final card is added to the middle.
  6. Players each play their final words, a seven letter word gives a 50 point "bingo" bonus.
  7. The round is ended, and the cycle is repeated.

This created a balanced game, in which strategy could be used to try and get better cards, people could continute to play even if they formed a word on the first set to cards, and the scores were much closer to each other.

The new rules reward intelligence and craftiness. The old rules were much too close to the luck of the draw, like real poker. It is possible that at Hasbro no longer desires to reward intelligence.

Thank you comic, we will call you Mr. Segway.

I think a think a Battleship movie is a bad idea. Hasbro is also talking about remaking Clue, which I also think is a bad idea. My disapproval mostly has to do with my enjoying the original Clue, and I feel there is no need to try to remake something that is already good. Would the studio be willing to be bold and screen different endings in different theatres? I doubt it.

A Scrabble movie could potentially work. Searching For Bobby Fischer was essentially the Chess movie, but it was able to make an interesting story around the game. Word Freak is the closest thing I can think of that exists today as a potential Scrabble movie. Yet I can't see how this movie would be anything other than a documentary. That means they will have to come up with an original story around Scrabble that will excite people to want to play Scrabble, just like people played more chess after Searching For Bobby Fischer.

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