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Subject: Boogle/bananagrams rss

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John Hart
United States
La Marque
Texas
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Me and the wife play like this. Play proceeds as normal. After the round ends we score. we use a variant of the boggle score. whoever didn't go out gets -1 for each unused tile. If a word was mispelled then you get minus as many pt's as you would have got for the correct spelling. (ie if the word was worth 5pt now its worth -5pts.

word size/score.
2/-
3/1
4/1
5/2
6/3
7/5
8/7
9/9
10/11
11/13 etc.

anyway. tell me what ya'll think.
 
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Greg Ruhl
United States
Oregon
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My wife and I had been looking for a more 'fair' variant of the game that would reward you for longer words. When we play I tend to win because I make a lot of small words and am able to quickly re-arrange things to accommodate difficult letters. I like your idea because it injects more strategy into the game. Should someone take more time for higher point words or try and finish quickly to give the opponent minus points?

We gave your method a try and I think an additional penalty for losing should be assessed. We tried -3 for losing plus the additional -1 for each remaining tile. The only issue now is having people dump with just 3-4 tiles remaining (i.e. hold onto a Q and then dump it to your opponent right at the end of the game). This was a problem before we implemented the Boggle scoring system. We were considering setting aside a group of 10-15 tiles (thus two 'bunches'). Play would work through the main bunch with dumping allowed, then we'd work through the final bunch with no dumping allowed. Thoughts?
 
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Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
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Good ideas. I think my group plays with no dumping except for the kids. (The kids can dump letters, I mean - we haven't dumped the kids, yet). The competitive factor is low in this game and our group - the race is almost always close. Still, it feels like someone should actually win, instead of just, "well, the tiles are gone," and we have been wondering if you shouldn't be rewarded for making a particularly clever play or using a very long word. I'll see if the group can come up with some more thoughts on this.
 
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laurie-jo straty straty
United States
Texas
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I have noticed that Bananagrams favors a very distinct learning style: a rapid processor who is also able to visually rearranged tiles to make new words. Over the course of the summer, I observed that slower workers (even though they might have created more complex words) were giving up and quitting. I also noted that "poor" spellers were terrified of joining the game. Disputes arose over viable words.

My first line of defense was to incorporate a point system for words in excess of four letters:

RULE ONE: 5 letters - 1 point; 6 letters - 2 points; 7 letters - 3 points, etc. No points awarded for words of four letters or less.

This rule succeeded in rewarding the slower worker who might be fixated on longer words or reluctant to rearrange their existing words to accomodate new tiles. This rule supports both the quick worker and the slower worker who might favor quality over quantity (i.e., finishing first).
Unfortunately, it also gave rise to the "tile hoarder" syndrome (my father, to be precise). He started gaming the system by rapidly "dumping" tile after tile in order to build a huge stockpile of "good tiles" to build longer words. His longer words developed from a large arsenal of tiles would easily defeat the rest of the table.

My second line of defense was then to penalize the tile hoarder as with a second rule:

RULE TWO: Anyone left with more than three (3) tiles at the end of the game (when someone yells "BANANAS") loses a point per tile remaining in his pile. The first three leftover tiles are "free". EX: Six remaining tiles in a player's pile at the end of the game would mean that three points would be deducted from that player's total score.

My next goal was to entice those who believed they are poor spellers into the game as well as to grapple with the whole issue of useable words and spellings. Everyone agreed that going to an official Scrabble dictionary would the fun and quickness out of the game.

RULE THREE: When in doubt about how a word is spelled, any player has the right to ask the remaining group for spelling advice. The other players serve as a built-in "spell-checker". The group must respond. Same goes for acceptable words. If a player has a questionable word, he asks the group for a "ruling". The group decision holds. The vote or consensus is done informally while eveyone is working on their own words. It is the responsibility of each player to checkt the spelling or acceptance of a word during the course of the game. Once the game is over, a mispelled and/or unacceptable word is not awarded any points and the offending player is ineligible to win on the basis of "first one to finish". The offending tiles are not taken out of the player's board. The tiles remain in place for adjacent words. If the offender was also the first one to finish, the game is called back into play. Everyone keeps on working their tiles until the offending player rearranges his board to finish correctly or another player finishes his/her board.

We are now playing back home in Dallas with these rules and the results have been amazing!!! Everyone feels comfortable playing - slower workers, mediocre spellers, would-be tile hoarders.
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