Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scrabble, Encore Une Fois

Our friend Miss Jane has just returned from a two month cat fondling tour of Europe. So far we've been able to find out that she went to England where she saw cats, Paris where she saw cats, and Rome where there were entire ancient temples full of cats. Or something like that. However Miss Jane also brought back for me a French Scrabble set (chacun a son mot à dire!), so we played on Friday night.

We weren't very well prepared, as I didn't take along a French dictionary. I don't have a really good French Scrabble dictionary. Consider the requirements - it would need a really good range of words, particularly acceptable foreign words which are the ones you need to play the odd letters - and it would need verb conjugations so that we can determine whether DEVRAI is indeed the second person singular future tense of DEVOIR as we expected. I have a Petit Robert which weighs a couple of kilos, but it has way too many pages to be convenient to use.

In the end we played with the Larousse dictionary on my iPod, which worked out OKish. I'll be acquiring a proper French Scrabble dictionary as a matter of urgency though, as we found it quite hard to play foreign words. AÏ is still acceptable, by the way (still a three-toed sloth) and so is WOK, which saved me.

You might recall that I previously posted that Miss Jane and I played Scarabeo, the Italian word game. Yes, despite her mild-mannered crazy cat lady demeanour, Miss Jane is a polylinguist as well. We found the Italian game to be easier than French, for some reason. Maybe because Miss Jane spent a lot of the French game with absolutely atrocious letters. The French letter selection has more vowels, and still Jane couldn't find any.

A highlight of the game for me was my luck in finding the right letters for a bingo, so I was able to play SIGNALE for 72 points. However otherwise the game was fairly uninspiring, with letters like the K, W and Z even harder to play in a language we don't know so well. K, W,X and Z are worth 10 points, J and Q are worth 8, and QI is not acceptable. Luckily there are 6 Us instead of 4.

I can't find the score sheet, but I can say that although the scores weren't spectacular we didn't disgrace ourselves. We'd probably have a good game against a native speaker who didn't play Scrabble much. Sadly, for the moment I've run out of new languages in which I feel capable of playing. In any case, thank you ever so much Miss Jane for indulging me this far!