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[Comments] (5) Scrabble Rule: I was thinking about the point at which Scrabble stops being fun for me: the point at which I reach the edges of my vocabulary and start gambling on things I think are words, because I can't play anything else. Why don't I trade in some tiles? Because that costs a turn, which is BORING.

So here's an idea for an additional rule that should keep Scrabble play in the realm of actual words. On your turn, you can trade in n tiles and then play up to 7-n tiles. If you play, your play has to incorporate at least one of the new tiles. (That's so you can't trade in tiles and then play the small word you were going to play anyway.) It's worth a test run.

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Posted by Brendan at Fri Feb 27 2009 12:41

I'd play that, with the addition of another house rule: when you play a word, it only has to work in ONE DIRECTION. That would circumvent the two-letter-word-memorization hack that breaks the game for me.

Posted by Leonard at Fri Feb 27 2009 13:25

I also don't like the two-letter hack, but it seems better to just ban uncommon two-letter words. Creating multiple words at once is one of my favorite parts of Scrabble.

Posted by Ben Heaton at Wed Mar 04 2009 18:08

Banning uncommon two-letter words has the issue that people will have varying expectations of what shouldn't count. Is AB uncommon? Greek letters? Musical notes? You'd effectively be making a new word list, and knowing exactly which two-letter words are contained in it would still be a big advantage.

Personally, I didn't have much trouble learning the twos — only about a hundred of them, most of which I already knew as words. Much easier than the threes. But on the other hand, I don't mind playing with people who'd rather use a reference sheet for them.

I also actually like it when I start gambling on strings that might be words. Having an element of bluffing in the game is fun, and it's a great thrill when I play something not knowing whether it's good, someone challenges, and it turns out to be a word after all.


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