Friday, June 02, 2006

UNUSUAL ORIENTED PANTHERS

As part of a general plan to get involved with new things and new people (whilst keeping the old people!), and also to work on my list of games that I want to play this year, I went along to the local Scrabble club last night. I'd checked with the organiser and knew to expect retired ladies, but it was still a bit of a surprise. After all, I don't hang out with retired ladies very much. I felt out of place not having a hearing aid, but I was made to feel very welcome and was pretty comfortable with the situation. The club runs two streams of games - tournament players with proper rules, and social players who are allowed to look in the dictionary. I hadn't played for 15 years so the social players were the right group for me. Although almost all games played at clubs are two player, we had an odd number so I was allocated to play with D & L (not their real names).

The first game was hard work - I started and had crap letters, so the best word I could make was AUK. D made BUG across that, leaving us with very little opportunity to expand. We struggled to get out to the sides of the board - after all, it is as much a game about blocking as making words, so there is no incentive to loosen up a constrained game. It became obvious that L was the strongest player in the game, and she ran away with the win. I did watch and learn again how the game works. We started another game, but just as I had UNUSUAL on my rack the organiser came along and told us it was time for a cup of tea.

I had a good chat to the organiser who told me how despite the game being female dominated, the champion players are men about my age. Presumably with more experience than me. And some kids are are just geniuses. But she was also impressed that I had found UNUSUAL, saying that 7 letter anagrams was not typical of a social player. So maybe when I'm into it more I will move up into the tournament group. When we got back after tea the organiser told me that there was nowhere on the board to play UNUSUAL, so to keep the social players synchronised with the tournament players we'd dump that game and I could play mano a mano against D.

That was a much freer game, and I was desperate to be able to played ORIENTED and PANTHERS in subsequent turns. Couldn't do it, and couldn't find an alternative either. Aargh. But I pulled away from D and kept my lead even when she played MOGGIES for 84 points. The final score was 400 to me and 287 or so to D, which she described as a thrashing.

Overall, a very good experience. I like Scrabble, and it's nice to find people who take it seriously. They might look like little old ladies, but they play a hard game. Now, if only I could teach them Gipf.

9 comments:

Ozvortex said...

Nah, ditch the Scrabble girls, Friendless. Join your local Mah-Jong club - that's where the real hotties are...

Friendless said...

The Go club meets at the Pancake Manor on Tuesday nights. That's a very appealing thought, but Tuesday is one of few nights I have with Harley. I just can't do everything, is the problem. I don't remember Mah Jongg being a very exciting game, but maybe it's one of those that gets better when you count cards.

Iain said...

Is there any chance you could put the full contents of your posts in your Atom newsfeed? I know it's a setting in Blogger. It's a pain having to navigate to your site every time you post something.

Melissa said...

Old ladies are surprisingly good company (says the ex bridge player). I remember reading, though, that the champion bowls players are all in their 20s and 30s - so I guess scrabble is the same. And in another thirty years, we will be bitching about the young whippersnappers who beat us at Caylus, too.

gerrod said...

I wrote a program that runs on a pocket pc (or was it a website that's pocket pc friendly??), to help in scrabble. Basically you tell it what letter you have to work with, and what pattern you need to match (e.g find me a word that starts with a W, has an E for the 3rd letter, and can only use RSFUIPH). I can send you the source, if you want it!

Friendless said...

Iain, the point of the ATOM feed is to attract visitors to my site... why would I let you read it by not visiting? The answer is because you asked nicely. I believe it is set to full content now.

Melissa, in 30 years I will be bitching that this game takes too long, I have to go to the toilet 12 times each game, and my back hurts and I've lost one of my contact lenses. Actually, all that would be better than not playing games, I suppose.

Gerrod, thanks but I don't think it would be fair. Certainly tournament players can't even use a dictionary. The social players get a few word lists to work with, but to play in tournaments you mostly need to have learned that stuff off by heart.

mikey said...

about 5 years ago I read an article about recent additions allowed by the scrabble governing body. Quite handily they included QI and XU, which you can use to offload these letter without opening the board.

I play scrabble to make the most impressive word, whilst my wife plays a defensive game, as you describe. She wins.

Friendless said...

When my first ex-wife took my Scrabble books 14 years ago, QI and XU were in them. It's really amazing what pathetic words they allow... ER, UM, OH, OI, which are all interjections.

Iain said...

Thanks for changing the setting.

:)

Keep up the good work. Not many gaming bloggers make me laugh (except for DW, obviously).