Monday, April 8, 2013


My oldest got a tablet computer for a Christmas gift. He and I have spent many nights since playing Scrabble on the tablet. It has been interesting to me how different this game really is when played on a computer.

When I played it as a board game long ago, I looked at my tiles and tried to think of words I know that use the letters I had before me. I tried to aim for using as many tiles as possible. I kept a dictionary at hand to settle disputes about spelling or whether or not someone has spelled an actual word.

My son, who was completely new to the game, was absolutely killing me every time. His strategy is to use the letter tiles that have the highest points. He doesn't draw from his vocabulary, but instead he uses high point combinations and allows the computer to tell him whether he has found a real word or not. We have kept a dictionary at hand to look up these real words that he stumbled upon in his merciless efforts to win so that we can learn what these words mean.

This weekend we were given a Scrabble board game. My four and six year old girls wanted to play it this morning before breakfast. At first I said they should wait until I have a chance to teach them how to play. But then I realized there is no harm in them using the pieces to make their own game. As I was folding laundry, I walked by now and then to see how it was going. The older one was showing the other one how to build words. She showed her how each letter makes a sound and when she put those sounds together, she could make words. They didn't get correct spelling all the time, but they had done their best to spell real words.

My son and oldest daughter showed up to join the game. They wanted to play a little closer to the real rules. My son got out the dictionary. They didn't play very long before he decided he didn't like the board game as much as the computer game. And I'll have to say, it really is very different.

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