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Subject: 20X Reviews #83 - Scrabble After 20 Plays rss

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Peter Barringer
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Check out a Geeklist containing all my other reviews here: 20X Reviews - A Geeklist



Time to 20 Plays: ??? (You probably don’t care, but I did something I’ve never done before: I added 20 plays of this game to a date in 2014 when I know I last played it. I logged these plays because I played this game hundreds of times before I started logging my plays online, and I don’t plan to play the game too often in the future. It’s silly for me not to review a game I know I’ve played nearly 700 times.)

How to Play: Come on. Everyone knows how to play Scrabble. You place letter tiles on a board to create words and score points for them.



I've played it so much because:
1. I am fascinated with words. I play loads of modern word games like Paperback because of my background with Scrabble and my interest in manipulating the English language. I’m a high school English teacher who loves puns and witty turns of phrase. I credit part of my love of language to Scrabble, along with countless hours of crosswords and word jumbles.
2. It has stood the test of time. Scrabble is one of only 10 or so vintage board games in my collection. I think it’s still a really good game, and I’d be happy to play it any time. Many older games such as Life and Monopoly rely on outdated mechanics that haven’t aged well, but Scrabble is timeless. Modern games like Qwirkle still utilize similar concepts.
3. Experienced players can play really tight games. An experienced Scrabble player will often demolish a beginner by knowing words like “za,” “qi,” and “xi.” At the same time, though, most people can at least be competitive, and evenly-matched players should trade wins and losses. For example, my best friend and I kept track of our 650ish plays. When we stopped playing in 2014, the tally was something like 334-318 (I was winning, if you must know).



I'd play it more if:
1. I hadn’t already played so much. To be honest, one reason I never play Scrabble is because I like to make sure each of my games get played, and Scrabble has already gotten its fair share. 700 plays is enough of almost any game.
2. There weren’t so much downtime. Scrabble’s official playtime is 90 minutes. Good players should spend more like 30 on a 2-player game, but even in that time range you often spend lots of time waiting for the other person--especially at higher player counts. You can sort of map your next move or at least come up with some options, but the board can change significantly before your next turn. And the best spots are usually taken by then.
3. It were more accessible. To pair with what I said above about experienced players, I would NEVER play this with my wife. She’s a scientifically-minded person in the medical field, and I’m an English teacher who has been doing word puzzles since elementary school. I’ve played her once before. It was ugly.

Rating: (6.75/10)



Overall: There’s not much I can say about Scrabble that hasn’t already been said. As an English teacher who loves wordplay, it’s only natural I find Scrabble enjoyable. At almost 700 plays, Scrabble is my #2 game of all time by play count, with #1 being Euchre (by several thousand plays). Scrabble is a timeless game that can turn into a serious battle among other wordsmiths. The cons are pretty clear, too. Playing with someone who hasn’t played before or doesn’t enjoy language is a recipe for a bloodbath. And playing with more than two players can turn lengthy due to the downtime between turns. Overall, Scrabble is one of the few classic board games worth keeping in my collection.
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Ben Bateson
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So, I don't like to hit on reviewers, but let me take issue with the following points:

1 20 plays is a meaningless number in the context of learning to play Scrabble. 20 plays will not make you a better player in the same way that it will with most Eurogames.

2
Quote:
You can sort of map your next move or at least come up with some options, but the board can change significantly before your next turn. And the best spots are usually taken by then.


So, this is a big ol' part of Scrabble great, not bad. Board positioning, blocking the other player (Scrabble is fundamentally a 2P game in the same way that Dominion is fundamentally a 2P game), and anticipating your opponent's probable selection of plays are all key parts of good Scrabble strategy.


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Good players should spend more like 30 on a 2-player game, but even in that time range you often spend lots of time waiting for the other person--especially at higher player counts.


Er....

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I would NEVER play this with my wife. She’s a scientifically-minded person in the medical field, and I’m an English teacher who has been doing word puzzles since elementary school. I’ve played her once before. It was ugly


Er...who won? Going in blind with no other information, I'd back your wife to win this, purely because she is more likely to have a bigger functional vocabulary. No offence to you as a smart guy, but scientific vocabulary is specialised, huge, and often really key to a good Scrabble game. A scientifically-minded person would see really important 'hooks' like (m)(e)thane and (a)mine, not to mention a bunch of short 2s and 3s like xi and phs, much quicker than people who don't use those words on a day-to-day basis.
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Peter Barringer
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ousgg wrote:
So, I don't like to hit on reviewers, but let me take issue with the following points:

1 20 plays is a meaningless number in the context of learning to play Scrabble. 20 plays will not make you a better player in the same way that it will with most Eurogames.

2
Quote:
You can sort of map your next move or at least come up with some options, but the board can change significantly before your next turn. And the best spots are usually taken by then.


So, this is a big ol' part of Scrabble great, not bad. Board positioning, blocking the other player (Scrabble is fundamentally a 2P game in the same way that Dominion is fundamentally a 2P game), and anticipating your opponent's probable selection of plays are all key parts of good Scrabble strategy.


3
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Good players should spend more like 30 on a 2-player game, but even in that time range you often spend lots of time waiting for the other person--especially at higher player counts.


Er....

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I would NEVER play this with my wife. She’s a scientifically-minded person in the medical field, and I’m an English teacher who has been doing word puzzles since elementary school. I’ve played her once before. It was ugly


Er...who won? Going in blind with no other information, I'd back your wife to win this, purely because she is more likely to have a bigger functional vocabulary. No offence to you as a smart guy, but scientific vocabulary is specialised, huge, and often really key to a good Scrabble game. A scientifically-minded person would see really important 'hooks' like (m)(e)thane and (a)mine, not to mention a bunch of short 2s and 3s like xi and phs, much quicker than people who don't use those words on a day-to-day basis.


In response to D1, 20 is the number of plays at which I review each game. There's no significance to Scrabble in particular. There's a Geeklist linked with 80+ other reviews I've done at this number of plays; you'll also note the title of the review series.

For D2, that's accurate.

D3: I'm unsure what point you're trying to make.

D4: I twice mentioned having played the game nearly 700 times before I started logging plays on BGG. I also mentioned my love of English (I'm an English teacher). Through context, I'm suggesting that she didn't stand much of a chance.
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Bill Cook
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Random note...

- My wife is much better at finding words out of letters than I am.
- I'm a much better "gamer" than my wife
- Our Scrabble games are almost always competitive and are lifetime victory rate is close to 50/50

Hand management, set collection, area control etc. skills can make up for a ton of word deficiency. Of course, if someone is both a word and board game geek, that's hard to beat.

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Peter Barringer
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EMBison wrote:
Random note...

- My wife is much better at finding words out of letters than I am.
- I'm a much better "gamer" than my wife
- Our Scrabble games are almost always competitive and are lifetime victory rate is close to 50/50

Hand management, set collection, area control etc. skills can make up for a ton of word deficiency. Of course, if someone is both a word and board game geek, that's hard to beat.



Really good thoughts, Bill! I don't know why, but I tend to separate the gamer elements from the word elements in this game. I think it's because I played Scrabble so much before jumping into hobby games. You're right, though.

I mentioned this in a side comment in the review (forgive me if you already read it), but my best friend and I were almost exactly even after ~700 games, too.
 
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Always good to have more reviews on the site, whether it's well known games or not, thank you.

I've played a lot too, well over a thousand times, maybe more. For over 30 years, now. lack of opponents has forced me to isc.ro lately, lots of good competitors over there. Games are all timed, and you can set the clock however short you want it, if that's an issue for you. I like between 15-20 minutes per person myself. I would never play with more than 2p, it's a 2 person game in my opinion. the 3 & 4 player options are poorly implemented, as you mention. I've never felt much downtime in 2p, although I can mention a friend who I will only play with using a timer.

Interestingly, I've found that people who love words don't do as well as the more mathematically minded. I can't even mention how many 'i love words' players have thrown up their hands and left a game with me frustrated if I shut down the board with small obscure words to stabilize a lead I have, or pass repeatedly until they play a hook for my bingo or some other degenerate strategy like that. Getting caught up in wanting to play 'nice' or 'interesting' words will slow you down strategically, IME. I don't know many of the meanings of the words I memorize, treat them like random combinations of letters that my brain tries to mix and match. My favorite aspect of the game is hand / board management, playing so as to maximize potential for bingoes and minimize usability of the board for opponent. Also bluffing! so fun to throw down fake words...the penalty for wrong challenge is so harsh that even crazy looking stuff has to be taken seriously.

THere's a big jump in points when you start memorizing, and this turns a bunch of people off. I've memorized a bunch of word lists, although the 4-letters broke me and I gave up the practice at that point. But bingoes are almost required to memorize, like the top 100 7-letter words (aileron and aneroid are absolutely game-essential to know). Of course you need to know all the 2's as a baseline. THe downside of doing all that is that I'm pretty much excluded from kitchen table games now. Also it's a huge entrance barrier, the need to memorize to be competitive.
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Savory Oliver wrote:
I don't know many of the meanings of the words I memorize, treat them like random combinations of letters that my brain tries to mix and match. My favorite aspect of the game is hand / board management, playing so as to maximize potential for bingoes and minimize usability of the board for opponent. Also bluffing! so fun to throw down fake words...the penalty for wrong challenge is so harsh that even crazy looking stuff has to be taken seriously.

THere's a big jump in points when you start memorizing, and this turns a bunch of people off. I've memorized a bunch of word lists, although the 4-letters broke me and I gave up the practice at that point. But bingoes are almost required to memorize, like the top 100 7-letter words (aileron and aneroid are absolutely game-essential to know). Of course you need to know all the 2's as a baseline. THe downside of doing all that is that I'm pretty much excluded from kitchen table games now. Also it's a huge entrance barrier, the need to memorize to be competitive.

And THIS is why I quit playing Scrabble. Instead of a nice game between people's vocabularies, it turns into a "Rain Man" exercise where people play words they don't know and have memorized from gigantic lists. Boy, talk about murdering the fun of the game in its crib. The last time I ever played, someone played "ZEE" which of course isn't a word. I challenged it, and he said go ahead and look it up, it's the letter Z. How can you spell a letter? Welp, turns out it's in the dictionary. Evidently you can spell the letter Z. Oh, so it's like that, huh? That was the last time I ever played Scrabble, and I likely never will again.
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Peter Barringer
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jumbit wrote:
Savory Oliver wrote:
I don't know many of the meanings of the words I memorize, treat them like random combinations of letters that my brain tries to mix and match. My favorite aspect of the game is hand / board management, playing so as to maximize potential for bingoes and minimize usability of the board for opponent. Also bluffing! so fun to throw down fake words...the penalty for wrong challenge is so harsh that even crazy looking stuff has to be taken seriously.

THere's a big jump in points when you start memorizing, and this turns a bunch of people off. I've memorized a bunch of word lists, although the 4-letters broke me and I gave up the practice at that point. But bingoes are almost required to memorize, like the top 100 7-letter words (aileron and aneroid are absolutely game-essential to know). Of course you need to know all the 2's as a baseline. THe downside of doing all that is that I'm pretty much excluded from kitchen table games now. Also it's a huge entrance barrier, the need to memorize to be competitive.

And THIS is why I quit playing Scrabble. Instead of a nice game between people's vocabularies, it turns into a "Rain Man" exercise where people play words they don't know and have memorized from gigantic lists. Boy, talk about murdering the fun of the game in its crib. The last time I ever played, someone played "ZEE" which of course isn't a word. I challenged it, and he said go ahead and look it up, it's the letter Z. How can you spell a letter? Welp, turns out it's in the dictionary. Evidently you can spell the letter Z. Oh, so it's like that, huh? That was the last time I ever played Scrabble, and I likely never will again.


This is similar to why I haven't gotten into Go. A co-worker offered to teach me, but he has read multiple books and played hundreds of games.
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Edward Kendrick
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jumbit wrote:

And THIS is why I quit playing Scrabble. Instead of a nice game between people's vocabularies, it turns into a "Rain Man" exercise where people play words they don't know and have memorized from gigantic lists. Boy, talk about murdering the fun of the game in its crib. The last time I ever played, someone played "ZEE" which of course isn't a word. I challenged it, and he said go ahead and look it up, it's the letter Z. How can you spell a letter? Welp, turns out it's in the dictionary. Evidently you can spell the letter Z. Oh, so it's like that, huh? That was the last time I ever played Scrabble, and I likely never will again.


And it's Z-E-D anyway.
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Alex Drazen
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Barbarossa wrote:
And it's Z-E-D anyway.


Bah, you're both wrong. It's ezod!

(tongue firmly in cheek)

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James C
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Official Scrabble timer is a must. Makes the game 50 minutes of pure fun.

You think zee is strange, how about the spelling of the letter H?
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Ben Bateson
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SuperGLS wrote:
You think zee is strange, how about the spelling of the letter H?


What's strange about that? The spelling is exactly how it's pronounced.

I would suggest W is much stranger...
 
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Bill Cook
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Barbarossa wrote:

And it's Z-E-D anyway.


Was waiting for this, though I expected it to come from a Canadian
 
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EMBison wrote:
Barbarossa wrote:

And it's Z-E-D anyway.


Was waiting for this, though I expected it to come from a Canadian


Why Canadian? After all the language is English!!
 
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Bill Cook
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dougielb wrote:
EMBison wrote:
Barbarossa wrote:

And it's Z-E-D anyway.


Was waiting for this, though I expected it to come from a Canadian


Why Canadian? After all the language is English!!


By law, there are only about four things Canadians are allowed to raise a stink about. The Zed thing is one of them so they rarely miss the opportunity to mention it
 
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Quote:
And THIS is why I quit playing Scrabble. Instead of a nice game between people's vocabularies, it turns into a "Rain Man" exercise where people play words they don't know and have memorized from gigantic lists. Boy, talk about murdering the fun of the game in its crib. The last time I ever played, someone played "ZEE" which of course isn't a word. I challenged it, and he said go ahead and look it up, it's the letter Z. How can you spell a letter? Welp, turns out it's in the dictionary. Evidently you can spell the letter Z. Oh, so it's like that, huh? That was the last time I ever played Scrabble, and I likely never will again.


Quote:
This is similar to why I haven't gotten into Go. A co-worker offered to teach me, but he has read multiple books and played hundreds of games.


What's interesting / curious about these (very common) statements is that people can get good at any game, but that this is only felt to be problematic for some games. Go, Chess and Scrabble seem particularly dismissable by people on this front. For example, you two posters rate Cribbage and Splendor very highly, respectively, but does the fact that I am crushingly good at both of those games make you feel that they are bad games? Probably not...I wonder why?

I mean, whether you're playing Cribbage, Splendor, Go, Chess, or Scrabble (5 of my favourite games), to enjoy the game you need to play with people at similar skill levels...which for each of you would mean that playing Go against someone who has studied books for years (like me), or someone who has memorized scrabble words over years (like me) are bad people for you to play with. THis doesn't mean I've broken the game or it's a bad game because the skill level progression is table is deep...Why does this taint these games for you, and not the games you like? Unless you're tournament cribbage or splendor players, I assure you it wouldn't feel much different to play those against me than scrabble or go...

genuinely curious, I don't know why this is. Scrabble & Go are great games, but only when we play people our same skill level--no less for me than you. I get humiliatingly crushed in both of these games myself if I play against people far better--so I don't do that. One of the reason these games are great for this is that high popularity plus a ranking system means I can always find someone my level.
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Because Scrabble - and to a lesser extent Go and Chess - requires a "Rain Man" style of rote memorization of utterly useless information. There's a difference between "I played this game a lot and got good at it" and "I spent dozens of boring hours memorizing lists of words or opening moves."

Cribbage is great because you can just pick it up and play anytime. It's not the world's most intellectual game, but it is the best 2 player card game. Of course, some things will need to be memorized: the numbers of cards that add up to fifteen, the 4 in 13 probability of tens in the deck, etc. But I don't have to memorize a list of all the three letter words in the English language, or memorize all the variants of the King's Indian. I can just play. The objective is not to play at the highest possible skill level. The objective is to obtain the release of pleasurable brain chemicals by a stimulus.

Scrabble is great when played by two players who haven't spent tedious hours memorizing words. It's fun as a test between two people's vocabularies. The game is more entertaining when played at a lower skill level. If you think Scrabble is fun after you've spent weeks of drudgery against another player who did the same, you go right ahead. You people deserve each other. From what I understand, there are Scrabble champions who don't even speak English, they've just memorized all the words. This sounds utterly insane to me, and more to the point, completely un-fun.

I memorize lists of Chinese characters, which is quite enough. I use software specifically designed for rote memorization and to refresh your brain at just the right time to place facts from short-term to long-term memory. And at the end of the day, I have learned something which I will apply in my life. If I learned an obscure word like QOPHS or QINDAR, what have I really learned? Several centuries ago a man put his finger on it:

"[Chess] is certainly a pleasing and ingenious amusement, but it seems to have one defect, which is that it is possible to have too much knowledge of it, so that whoever would excel in the game must give a great deal of time to it, as I believe, and as much study as if he would learn some noble science or perform well anything of importance; and yet in the end, for all his pains, he only knows how to play a game. Thus, I think a very unusual thing happens in this, namely that mediocrity is more to be praised than excellence."

-- Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, 1528, Book II para. 31, Singleton translation
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Peter Barringer
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Savory Oliver wrote:
What's interesting / curious about these (very common) statements is that people can get good at any game, but that this is only felt to be problematic for some games. Go, Chess and Scrabble seem particularly dismissable by people on this front. For example, you two posters rate Cribbage and Splendor very highly, respectively, but does the fact that I am crushingly good at both of those games make you feel that they are bad games? Probably not...I wonder why?

I mean, whether you're playing Cribbage, Splendor, Go, Chess, or Scrabble (5 of my favourite games), to enjoy the game you need to play with people at similar skill levels...which for each of you would mean that playing Go against someone who has studied books for years (like me), or someone who has memorized scrabble words over years (like me) are bad people for you to play with. THis doesn't mean I've broken the game or it's a bad game because the skill level progression is table is deep...Why does this taint these games for you, and not the games you like? Unless you're tournament cribbage or splendor players, I assure you it wouldn't feel much different to play those against me than scrabble or go...

genuinely curious, I don't know why this is. Scrabble & Go are great games, but only when we play people our same skill level--no less for me than you. I get humiliatingly crushed in both of these games myself if I play against people far better--so I don't do that. One of the reason these games are great for this is that high popularity plus a ranking system means I can always find someone my level.


Great questions. Let me start by saying that I don't discount any of the five games you mentioned. In fact, I've greatly enjoyed the three I've played. For me, it's a matter of dedication. I have avoided Go (and getting deeper into Chess) because good players are almost always good as a result of studying (in combination with both natural and developed skill). I have three friends who love Chess, but I won't play them because all three have spent many hours using Chess tutorial apps. That is COMPLETELY fine, but it prevents me from playing them because I'm unwilling to invest the time studying those games. On the other hand, my wife beats me in Splendor roughly 70% of the time, but I continue to play her because she's beating me by using the strategies and tactics she has developed. She's simply outplaying me.
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Jumbit-yes, this is exactly the response I get from 'word lovers' who try and play scrabble with me. THere's a curious sense of offence taken by me being good at this game without caring about words.

It's very interesting, because I think they (and you) fundamentally misunderstand the game--not me. I play it the way it was designed to be played, and well. "a fun test between two people's vocabularies!" that's a weird assessment, made by someone who has not explored the game beyond their initial idea of what they think the game "should" be about. maybe you should play boggle? or whatever, I'm sure there are some games out there that are actually about normal vocabulary. I mean, you could use use pick-up-sticks to build little streets for your model cars if you liked, but insulting people who play the game as it is played well instead of your street-building way would be unusual.

I'm not sure I understand your continued reference to 'rain man'. I mean, If I was rain man, presumably it would be insignificant that I memorized the dictionary, completely meaningless, because I could do it in one night without much effort. I have no special powers, have simply put ordinary effort into an ordinary task, with ordinary results, over an extended amount of time. Or I suppose you could just be trying to call me 'retarded' as a random insult because I play a game differently than you want me to, but that wouldn't help make your point at all--might weaken it, actually.

The fact that you might like war games could be seen as degenerate and a waste of time by some, but presumably (hopefully) that doesn't matter to you. Whether some rich medieval dude approved of games is beyond meaningless to me. I hope to you to!

I can trace my own history of interest in the game--I began playing scrabble seriously in order to get closer to my dad, whom I was estranged from for decades after he left when I was young. He was a very serious scrabble player, and my coming up to his level, challenging and eventually beating him was a way that I was able to be close to him. It was quite beautiful, actually, the way he opened up to me when he saw me make the effort to meet him. Cracked his veneer of elitist isolation.

I mean, I also like games generally and all my life, it's not like I play any other games with my dad--I've played in tournaments of many kinds all my life from lower school--I've competed in poker, Magic, V:tES, Chess, etc, etc, I feel alive and excited in a special way during these tournaments...love me some competition. so in this sense scrabble is just one delight among many. As for the discipline of study, I find it relaxing and rewarding, the steadily improving in a chosen discipline and practicing my skill with others. It's what I do for enjoyment, so it's odd to say it's useless. It brings me satisfaction and joy.

But surely that shouldn't be strange for a person on a boardgame site...should it? Not everyone is satisfied with 'living room play'. If games were about merely socializing with friends, and not mastering a complex system, I would've given up on the hobby years ago as boring. Different strokes, and all that. Perhaps then I would have gone into modal logic for amusement, trying to decode academic puzzles for a brain workout. Or jigsaw puzzles, I find complex jigsaw puzzles relaxing as well.
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Peter, as for your points, I simply don't understand why the existence of people who study the game should make it less likely that you would enjoy it. I played Go before I studied it, and enjoyed it to death! I played against others who didn't study, all of us just using whatever we had devised from the few games we'd played, and we had a blast. Why do you care that there are people who play differently than you?

You might not want to play chess or go with them, but surely that shouldn't affect whether you play the game at all. You don't need to invest time to study anything you don't want to, you really don't.

As for it being ok that your wife beats you because she's beating you without study, I'm afraid that doesn't make any sense to me. If someone's better than me, it could be through natural skill, or it could be through study...it feels pretty similar to lose to them, though!
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Peter Barringer
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Savory Oliver wrote:
Peter, as for your points, I simply don't understand why the existence of people who study the game should make it less likely that you would enjoy it. I played Go before I studied it, and enjoyed it to death! I played against others who didn't study, all of us just using whatever we had devised from the few games we'd played, and we had a blast. Why do you care that there are people who play differently than you?

You might not want to play chess or go with them, but surely that shouldn't affect whether you play the game at all. You don't need to invest time to study anything you don't want to, you really don't.

As for it being ok that your wife beats you because she's beating you without study, I'm afraid that doesn't make any sense to me. If someone's better than me, it could be through natural skill, or it could be through study...it feels pretty similar to lose to them, though!


You're oversimplifying. The existence of people who study the game doesn't make it less likely for me to enjoy it. I said the three people I know who play Chess all study the game. I simply can't compete with them. I could play against people who are of a similar skill level, but A) I don't know anyone who doesn't already play and wants to, and B) I don't want to get invested in a game at which I'd have to study in order to improve significantly.

I guess you and I have different reasoning for playing games. If I lose to my wife in a game she's great at, it's far different from losing a game to someone who actively studies it. I can learn from my wife and try to figure out how to beat her much more easily than I can learn from a friend who has spent hundreds of hours on books and apps devoted to game strategy.

Anyway, winning and losing is far from my number one reason for playing games. For me, gaming is much more about relationship building and stretching my brain. I have no interest in devoting myself to a game because I'd rather devote myself to the people with whom I play games.
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I play it the way it was designed to be played, and well. "a fun test between two people's vocabularies!" that's a weird assessment, made by someone who has not explored the game beyond their initial idea of what they think the game "should" be about.

Really? The man who invented Scrabble intended for players to memorize the dictionary? News to me. I thought it was a variation on crossword puzzles.

Quote:
simply put ordinary effort into an ordinary task, with ordinary results, over an extended amount of time.

See, here's where we differ. I don't think memorizing lists of meaningless words is ordinary at all. It turns a fun game into drudgery. I certainly have spent enough time with Anki to appreciate the dull repetition of rote memorization.

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I began playing scrabble seriously in order to get closer to my dad, whom I was estranged from for decades after he left when I was young. He was a very serious scrabble player, and my coming up to his level, challenging and eventually beating him was a way that I was able to be close to him.


Ah, that's it. By attacking your game I'm actually attacking your hard-won relationship with your father. It's not about the game at all.
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z10n x wrote:
Savory Oliver wrote:
Peter, as for your points, I simply don't understand why the existence of people who study the game should make it less likely that you would enjoy it. I played Go before I studied it, and enjoyed it to death! I played against others who didn't study, all of us just using whatever we had devised from the few games we'd played, and we had a blast. Why do you care that there are people who play differently than you?

You might not want to play chess or go with them, but surely that shouldn't affect whether you play the game at all. You don't need to invest time to study anything you don't want to, you really don't.

As for it being ok that your wife beats you because she's beating you without study, I'm afraid that doesn't make any sense to me. If someone's better than me, it could be through natural skill, or it could be through study...it feels pretty similar to lose to them, though!


You're oversimplifying. The existence of people who study the game doesn't make it less likely for me to enjoy it. I said the three people I know who play Chess all study the game. I simply can't compete with them. I could play against people who are of a similar skill level, but A) I don't know anyone who doesn't already play and wants to, and B) I don't want to get invested in a game at which I'd have to study in order to improve significantly.

I guess you and I have different reasoning for playing games. If I lose to my wife in a game she's great at, it's far different from losing a game to someone who actively studies it. I can learn from my wife and try to figure out how to beat her much more easily than I can learn from a friend who has spent hundreds of hours on books and apps devoted to game strategy.

Anyway, winning and losing is far from my number one reason for playing games. For me, gaming is much more about relationship building and stretching my brain. I have no interest in devoting myself to a game because I'd rather devote myself to the people with whom I play games.


All fair points. I agree with you that we have different reasons for playing games. I love interacting with people, but I also love interacting with game systems. It's not an either/or.

I also think that ALL interesting games require study to improve significantly. Raw skill and experience will definitely cause improvement, but will only take you so far. You seem to me to simply not like games with a high strategy ceiling.
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jumbit wrote:
z10n x wrote:
I play it the way it was designed to be played, and well. "a fun test between two people's vocabularies!" that's a weird assessment, made by someone who has not explored the game beyond their initial idea of what they think the game "should" be about.

Really? The man who invented Scrabble intended for players to memorize the dictionary? News to me. I thought it was a variation on crossword puzzles.

Quote:
simply put ordinary effort into an ordinary task, with ordinary results, over an extended amount of time.

See, here's where we differ. I don't think memorizing lists of meaningless words is ordinary at all. It turns a fun game into drudgery. I certainly have spent enough time with Anki to appreciate the dull repetition of rote memorization.

Quote:
I began playing scrabble seriously in order to get closer to my dad, whom I was estranged from for decades after he left when I was young. He was a very serious scrabble player, and my coming up to his level, challenging and eventually beating him was a way that I was able to be close to him.


Ah, that's it. By attacking your game I'm actually attacking your hard-won relationship with your father. It's not about the game at all.


Yes, Butts contemplated word memorization--though not an official dictionary.

No, you're not attacking one of my fave games at all, and neither are you attacking my relationship with my father--it seems that you kind of like scrabble, and you haven't insulted families playing games together anywhere I've seen.

You're attacking my relationship with games, is what you're doing. Which is odd, on a games site, is my whole point in these replies. I suppose I could attack your particular relationship with games as well in response, say mine is better than yours or something, but that wouldn't be very interesting, and I don't believe it anyway. I think my relationship with games is pretty fucking great, but, you know, great for me. Not for everyone, certainly.
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Savory Oliver wrote:
z10n x wrote:
Savory Oliver wrote:
Peter, as for your points, I simply don't understand why the existence of people who study the game should make it less likely that you would enjoy it. I played Go before I studied it, and enjoyed it to death! I played against others who didn't study, all of us just using whatever we had devised from the few games we'd played, and we had a blast. Why do you care that there are people who play differently than you?

You might not want to play chess or go with them, but surely that shouldn't affect whether you play the game at all. You don't need to invest time to study anything you don't want to, you really don't.

As for it being ok that your wife beats you because she's beating you without study, I'm afraid that doesn't make any sense to me. If someone's better than me, it could be through natural skill, or it could be through study...it feels pretty similar to lose to them, though!


You're oversimplifying. The existence of people who study the game doesn't make it less likely for me to enjoy it. I said the three people I know who play Chess all study the game. I simply can't compete with them. I could play against people who are of a similar skill level, but A) I don't know anyone who doesn't already play and wants to, and B) I don't want to get invested in a game at which I'd have to study in order to improve significantly.

I guess you and I have different reasoning for playing games. If I lose to my wife in a game she's great at, it's far different from losing a game to someone who actively studies it. I can learn from my wife and try to figure out how to beat her much more easily than I can learn from a friend who has spent hundreds of hours on books and apps devoted to game strategy.

Anyway, winning and losing is far from my number one reason for playing games. For me, gaming is much more about relationship building and stretching my brain. I have no interest in devoting myself to a game because I'd rather devote myself to the people with whom I play games.


All fair points. I agree with you that we have different reasons for playing games. I love interacting with people, but I also love interacting with game systems. It's not an either/or.

I also think that ALL interesting games require study to improve significantly. Raw skill and experience will definitely cause improvement, but will only take you so far. You seem to me to simply not like games with a high strategy ceiling.


Also fair points. One adjustment, though: I wouldn't say I don't like games with a high strategy ceiling, just that I am unlikely to invest tons of time in them.
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