For the last couple years, I’ve been playing a game of Scrabble most days. It’s often the most focused time of my day. Sam has refused to play Scrabble with me for years, so I’ve learned to play the game by myself and I quite enjoy my own version!
I usually set up the board at about 4:00 in the afternoon. I get very engaged with it, and sometimes delay fixing supper so I can finish the game.
I play against my own current high score, using only one tray of seven tiles. I generally follow the official rules, but do allow myself to throw back a total of seven tiles per game as needed, one at a time. I use The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (fifth edition) extensively as I play.
I’m cheered to find that a new edition has come out this fall, and I’ve already used at least two words deemed newly acceptable in it (“ew” and “zen”).
When I started playing sporadically five years ago, my scores tended to hover around the low 700s, with quite a few in the 600s. By now, I consider anything in the 600s quite low, and am finding most of my scores in the mid-700s, with the 800s showing up at least twice a week or so. My highest score so far is 858, from sometime this July.
The interesting thing for me is that I’m deliberately changing my strategy. I used to have a specific place for my Q words (as in the photo of the finished game). I could get 45 points or more for the Q using a double letter spot combined with a double word score for one word (such as “quay”). Then I put my other Q word on a spot ending in a triple word score (as in “quite”), for another 42 points or more. But this took quite a bit of pre-planning, and of holding as many as four letters, thus having only three to work with otherwise.
It’s so tempting to pre-plan, when I know that another player is not going to take the spots I’m considering!
But lately I find I’m doing less holding of letters, and less heading for the corners. Instead, I’m trying to put the Q and the Z, as well as the J and the X on triple letter spots, having them count in both directions where possible.
I’m using a Z more in the middle of words. I’m doing less intricate pre-planning, and finding that often good words which I have not thought about do show up when needed. I’m relaxing more as I play these games. And guess what. My scores are higher!
I play Scrabble for the joy of spelling and the joy of words. I’m learning some new words, and claiming a new trust that things really will work out just fine in the end. Sometimes I’ ll say to Sam “this one is a real mess…I don’t have any vowels!” Then suddenly I do, and I end up in the high 700s.
Scrabble for me is highly addictive and highly enjoyable. It’s also teaching me much about relaxing and going with the flow and believing that things will turn out OK whether or not I anticipate this or that. And…my last score in the 600s (693) was 27 days ago.
Of course, now that I’ve named this, I’m likely to score in the low 600s tomorrow….
Questions for Reflection:
- What games, if any, do you find enjoyable and perhaps even addictive? Who or what do you play against?
- How – if at all – has playing games taught you to “go with the flow”?
Next week: TBA
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