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YMMV / Scrabble

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For the Board Game:

  • Broken Base / "Stop Having Fun" Guys / Scrub: A case where everyone, with few to no exceptions, is either a Stop Having Fun Guy or a Scrub. There are essentially two types of Scrabble players; those who play competitively, and those who don't. Learning to play competitively makes it all but socially impossible to play with those who don't, as you won't even be able to agree as to what dictionary to use; a non-competitive player would want to use a general-purpose dictionary, because they view the competitive player bringing in a wordlist they've never heard of, with words obscure enough to not even appear in some "unabridged" dictionaries, to be unfair, while a competitive player would strongly prefer the official tournament wordlist/dictionary and would resent having to "guess" which of the words they learned is in that general-purpose dictionary and which aren't. The "double challenge" rule doesn't help, as one with a significantly better vocabulary (or better knowledge of the dictionary used) can bully the other by making words up and mixing them with real-but-obscure words, daring them to challenge; considered a legitimate tactic in tournament play, but would all but ruin a casual game that already has a significant skill difference. The gap can be somewhat bridged by allowing use of a two-letter-word list, and softening or removing the double challenge rule.
    • Electronic players versus tabletop players. Many traditional players hate the electronic versions, particularly the current app (available cross-platforms on desktop, Facebook, and various smart phones and tablets). While mostly similar, several changes to traditional play exist:
      • Players have the option of a computer "teacher" to show you a better play you could have made. While most likely that play will be unusable next turn, it can be seen as a "cheat" for the player.
      • The auto tile shuffler. While you can shuffle your tiles by hand in the tabletop game, the ease you can constantly do this is frowned on by traditionalists. To a lesser extent, the built in dictionary, again, totally legal in both, but easier to look up words with this vice a paper dictionary.
      • It's impossible to know if you're opponent is cheating unless they are in the same room. There are many word descramblers and even virtual boards online a person can use to get the best play.
      • Scrabble has a built in dictionary to let you test words to see if they qualify in the game before playing them. This is equal to playing the table version and speaking out a list of words one by one to see if your opponent will accept them.
      • The biggest though is the lack of challenges. You can't play a word not in the dictionary (so this aspect of the game is completely absent), which leads into the other half of this issue: there's nothing stopping you from continually trying to play various combinations of your hand until you get something usable.
      • While still generally the same game, being good at the electronic version will probably not get you any respect from a lot of "real" players due to this. Though it should be noted many of the top players in the world do play it and love it for these reasons and like it as a training tool for tabletop play.
      • Averted in that what the electronic version does help with is with slow players. Some Scrabble players are slower than molasses with their turns, so to be able to take turns whenever they come up lets people with different play speeds take their time.
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    • Words described as "slurs", where players for many years argue whether or not they should be allowed to play them. But as of July 9, 2020, both the North American Scrabble Players' Association and Hasbro banned slurs (or words that primarily are slurs) outright from all official play. While many agree that there is no place for racist, sexist, or otherwise profane words in a family-friendly game, some say that it is OK to play such words as long as it is solely for scoring, letter dumps, or setting up for a better position. Furthermore, some argue that banning certain words is too inexact or arbitrary. For example, words that are more often used as slurs than not (e.g. "chink"note  or "retarded"note ) are still legal, while words like "badass"note  or "poofy"note  are considered slurs and banned outright.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Q and Z, each worth 10 points, can become this if either is placed on a bonus tile. There's even a simple word that everyone knows which uses both of them and two common vowels - you won't have to "quiz" us to figure out what word it is.
      • Merely placing one of these on a Triple Letter tile guarantees more than 30 points from that tile alone.
      • Triple Word score spaces placed not far from Double Letter spaces along the perimeter of the board. If properly played, these two letters alone can be worth 90 points — or possibly 270 points under even more unlikely circumstances.
    • To a lesser extent, the J and X tiles, which are both worth 8 points.
    • The high-scoring letters vary from language to language: for example, the French version has K, W, X, Y and Z as the 10 points tiles and J and Q as the 8 point tiles, while the German version has Q and Y as the 10 points tiles and Ö and X as the 8 points tiles.
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  • Genius Bonus: It helps to have a wide vocabulary, but here's the kicker - be able to spell as well as your opponent. Two people with like grasps of spelling will be fine, but if you don't spell very well and you play against someone who does it can be frustrating.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The game is very popular in Senegal.
  • The Scrappy:
    • The letter Q is entirely useless most of the time because of how few words are acceptable without a U following it. Unless foreign words are allowed. Some versions of scrabble solved this by making a Qu tile instead.
    • The letter V, especially late in the game, can become The Millstone due to its inability to form any two-letter words and knocking four points off your score if your opponent plays off his letters first.
    • Getting a hand of nothing but vowels or consonants. While there are many words that can be made off just one or the other (and of course using the letters on the board), it's generally frustrating to get a decent play out of hands like these.
    • In french, the letter W is this. Being by far the rarest letter in french, the only two letter word containing it is "Wu", and it is present in far less 3-letter words than the other big letters. As a result it competes with the Q, which also needs a U (rare words such as "cinq", "qat" and "coq" notwithstanding, but at least the latter allows for a variety of longer words in french, while the W will almost certainly force you to do a small word.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Unless you have the ability to read upside down or have a board with a turnstyle below, turning the board to face each player is this.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The rule change permitting proper names ruffled a few feathers in the United Kingdom, except it was widely misreported by the media and only appears in a newly launched variant of the game. The rules of the original game haven't been changed, so words beginning with capital letters are still invalid.

For the Game Show:

  • Accidental Innuendo: A female contestant selected two "P" tiles and said, "Chuck, I guess I'll have to take a 'P'." Cue uproarious laughter from Woolery and the audience, and a quick trip to Dick Clark's Bloopers specials.
    • There was also this gem of a clue: "Sometimes men have short ones." For a seven-letter word. The actual answer was TEMPERS, but well... you know.
  • Broken Base: The "Spelling" modification to the Crossword game for about four months in 1985, where the players had to "spell in" any remaining letters when solving. While some fans like this for making it closer to the board game, others thought it dragged the game down. The "Mosquitos" incident is the best exemplification of the latter.
  • Growing the Beard: When the show switched from straddling to self-contained shows on September 29, 1986, at the start of "The $100,000 All-American Scrabble Tournament", followed by the addition of the Bonus Sprint round on December 29 of that year.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Steve Edwards, who hosted the 1990 pilot.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Many fans' opinion of the 1993 revival, which had a smaller set and much lower budget, among other things. A rather bad change was that the Bonus Sprint's Progressive Jackpot started at $1,000 and increased only if players solved words on pink or blue squares. This somewhat reduced the desire to solve on those squares, much to Woolery's dismay.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • On August 1, 1984, John set the record for most time spent in the Sprint round, 62.9 seconds...and won thanks to current champ Lysa blowing it. note  You have to see it to believe it.
    • The "Mosquitos" incident, which took place during the Spelling format in 1985 (a modified version of the Crossword game's original "Pot" format, in this case adding money for each letter correctly placed verbally). A bit of an explanation:
      • Originally, if a player made a spelling mistake, any correctly-added letters were left in but the Pot was reset to $0. Their opponent was given one chance to correctly "spell in" any remaining letters, with a mistake causing the word to be thrown out. Later, presumably due to too many words being thrown out this way, the rule was slightly altered so that a mistake removed any correctly "spelled in" letters and words were no longer thrown out.
      • That rule change led to this: neither contestant knew how to spell "Mosquitos", constantly adding incorrect letters and almost never trying to draw any tiles. One player nearly solved the word, but said "E" instead of "O". This is believed to have been the catalyst for the Spelling format's removal, with the traditional Crossword rules returning on September 2, 1985. The moment was preserved and aired for many years on various blooper specials (including those hosted by Dick Clark).
      Chuck Woolery: I'm going home; I don't know about you!
    • Sang, the record holder for most time spent in the Sprint round, about 87 seconds, in part due to overeager buzzing in and blowing one word with only one letter missing. His opponent bombed on at least two of the same words.


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