Yesterday, we writing consultants indulged ourselves in some board game activity during one of our slowest days in the writing center. The game of the day was Scrabble. I’ll assume you’ve heard of this game. If not, stop reading, look it up, play a game or two and come back. Now, I must confess that I am not a rabid Scrabble player. Despite my voluminous lexicon, I only dabble in the game occasionally. Gage and Ori are the players. Ori is even a part of the National Scrabble Association.

Because I don’t play Scrabble regularly, I had several starts and stops as the first game began. Sure, I fell behind quickly, but the nature of the game is such that you are never truly out of it as long as you use the board efficiently and get decent letters. The words you can make are up to you. You are only limited by your vocab and the seven tiles in your possession. Any turn can be the game winning turn.

La/Fax/Ore/Axed in the bottom right is worth 55 points

I feel like the game of Scrabble is on par with telling riddles. There is an innate desire among the well-worded to show off our skills and Scrabble allows us to do just that. Not only does the game help increase and display one’s vocabulary it also helps build vocabulary by forcing players to build off of words already laid out on the board. I felt great when I turned Ori’s “Jo/To into Jot/Toy and then followed that up with Goy, a triple word score.

As the first game went on, skill and board efficiency won out. Even though I got better, I was not much of a match for Gage and Ori. They were gracious, the reality is that I was a no more than an interesting strategic wrinkle. But I’m OK with that. I took as much pleasure from playing as I did watching Gage and Ori use their tiles to see the possibility of words on the board. Ori dropped Mink which Gage turned into Minks/Shiv. Of course, the coup d’etat was Ori’s final gambit. His 55 point score, a wicked combo of La/Fax/Ore/Axed, would have won the game had I not played Clean/In off of one of his previous plays. My play allowed Gage to put down Ice for a triple word score and seal the deal.

That is how the game works. Each player brings his own knowledge to the game board and augments how other players see and play the game. Honestly, I can’t wait to play again.