How the Data Phone Fixed a Broken Classic
All throughout my childhood, we played board games. One of the most common choices, especially if left up to my Mom, was Scrabble. Despite the wonderful memories of spending time with my family… Scrabble could be a seriously frustrating game to play. After a lifetime of playing and designing board games, I can look back and ask “Did you guys even play test this piece of crap?!” And to you die-hard fans of the classics out there sipping away at your PBR tallboys… Sorry about it.
World’s Longest, Most Boring Rulebook
Think about it. You play a word that gets challenged and you have to consult the reference – in this case the dictionary. Since the entire contents of the dictionary are required to define validity, the dictionary is the rulebook.
Are You Seriously Still Thinking This Through, Tommy!?
Every play group has a “Tommy the Deliberator.” This destroys the play time estimate, which if you think about it, is a COMMITMENT. I take play time estimates deadly serious. Not being able to finish a game you spent a significant amount of time playing can feel worse than having never played it at all! In this classic, you’ll be going full “INDY FILM,” watching Tommy think.
I “Challenge” You, to Watch Me Read This
What is everyone else doing during the challenge? Sitting around in silence, literally watching someone read. That apparently passed engagement standards during play testing, but I haven’t the foggiest how!
I Attack the Darkness – I Play “AGS, XI, and ECU!”
It is absolutely inconceivable that anyone would use some of these words for any other purpose, other than in Scrabble. This always frustrated me and certainly increased the number of challenges, which as previously discussed, are the single worst mechanic of the entire game.
But, worry not… enter the savior of our beloved broken classic, riding atop a touchscreen stead to save the day!
There should be an update to all future copies of Scrabble produced in the world. It would read…
Scrabble – Watch People Think, Watch People Read
Words with Friends – to the Rescue!
The single most elegant platform change for a classic family game EVER; absolutely hands down. This automagical union systematically fixed every engagement and gameplay problem while adding superhuman response to something else. Think about it, why don’t we play as many board games as other cultures?
The challenge mechanic is GONE – replaced by automatic lookup. No more literally watching some jerk read through the dictionary! Now, the use of silly words isn’t fixed, but automatic lookup helps cut through this desperation much more quickly.
Best of all, Words with Friends satisfied our US American ADHD, while simultaneously fixing the “Tommy the Deliberator” problem. You can play 50 games at once and play at your own pace. “Oh WWF, my HERO!” – Scrabble