Thursday, September 22, 2011

Scrabble: Howard Taylor & Dan Wells Style

I was manning the help desk at a writers conference last year when I saw two of my favorite writers, Howard Taylor and Dan Wells, playing a game. It looked like Scrabble, but they were having fun.

I'll admit, I don't like Scrabble. That may sound strange coming from someone who enjoys words and stories and writing, but it's true. I just can't get into it.

Curious, I walked over after my shift, and got my first introduction to Speed Scrabble. That may sound like an oxymoron, but it's actually a very descriptive name. I didn't get to play with them, but I did jot down some notes.

The game itself is small (it requires no board). Games last less than 10 minutes. It works with many age levels (you don't get prodigious advantages for comprehending erudite lexicon).

Here are the rules:

  • Put all the tiles in a bag or upside-down in a pile on the table.
  • Everyone draws seven tiles.
  • When the game begins everyone attempts to make word(s) with their letters. You can make as many or few words as you want as long as they all connect, crossword-style.
  • As soon as someone uses all their letters they call, "Draw."
  • When "Draw" is called, everyone must draw one tile. You draw a tile even if you haven't used up all your letters.
  • Play continues until there are no more letters left to draw.
  • We play that the person who calls Draw when the tiles run out is the winner. It's easy.
  • You can also tally up the score for each tile used and subtract your unused tiles. The winner also gets to add everyone's unused tiles to their score.
  • You can give bonus points for longer words.
And a couple quick notes:
  • The letter Q can be used as "Qu".
  • Blanks are wild (just like in Scrabble).
  • You can rearrange your tiles at any time. This means you can break up existing words and recombine them to form different ones.
  • Draw different amounts. Try a game where you draw two or three tiles at a time. I, personally, like drawing a single tile because it forces you to rearrange your words more often, but drawing more tiles will make the game go faster.
  • There are other sets of rules online. Just search for "Speed Scrabble."
If you're looking for a fun game that you probably already have in your home, then you might like Speed Scrabble. It's also portable, so you can take it to your next writers conference. If you see me there, I'll play a round with you.

* Oh, man! What I wouldn't give for all those vowels in the photo. It was taken by janetgalore and can be found on Flickr.


Andrea Mack said...

This sounds like the game Bananagrams. We often wondered if it would work with regular Scrabble tiles.

Canda said...

Sounds fun! I'm not into Scrabble either--moves way too slow, but it sounds like this is the remedy.

Peggy Eddleman said...

That sounds like so much fun! I think I might have to try it with my family today.

John Waverly said...

Andrea - I just watched a video about Banangrams and it is very similar.

Canda - It is a fast game and also has a teensy bit of strategy. In the beginning it is faster to come up with a bunch of small words, but as the game progresses you want to make longer words to spread out the crossword--otherwise you lock yourself in.

Peggy - Let me know how it goes.

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