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After playing Scrabble III For BIG Word Lovers for some years, it eventually sank in that the "6-letter minimum" requiremment would be too much for the masses. So... I massaged the rules to let small words back in (but still a 3-letter minimum, as in all the Scrabble For Word Lover games), and renamed it "JQXZ Wild!"
And who could complain? It doesn't even have "Scrabble" in it. I do think "Scrabulous" would make a nice name when it gets programmed for online play. After all, it really is fabulous, and the name is no longer in use.
"JQXZ Wild!" is definitely the final step in the Scrabble For Word Lovers suite, so, if you haven't already, please visit the Scrabble For Word Lovers intro page to quickly familiarize yourself with Scrabble O, Scrabble I, and Scrabble II, and, particularly, Scrabble III.
JQXZ Wild! differs from Scrabble III in these ways:
1. Back to the Three-letter minimum requirement.
2. A Stretch Bonus is awarded on base words of at least 4 letters, for letters added beyond the 6th letter. (This will quickly make sense.)
3. When picking off 1 or 2 tiles from the end of a word, you must leave at least 4 tiles.
Here is "JQXZ Wild!" on a handy slip:
JQXZ Wild! BIG BOARD and 8-TILE RACK. SWAP for the blank. MAIN WORD: 3-letter minimum. FLIP JQXZ for a blank. TILES: random scoop from nice 300-tile set. GOOD WORDS ONLY: regular dictionary; all words checked. STRETCH BONUS (on fours and BIG PLAY BONUS up, for letters added beyond NATURAL JQXZ BONUS Tiles Pts the 6th letter) Wd Length Pts 6 20 Letters Pts 6 10 7 50 1 0 7 20 8 80 2 30 8... 30 (cap) 3 50 4 70 5 90 6... 100 (cap) All bonuses additive. PICK OFF 1-2 TILES from free, trailing end of word you intend to STRETCH. Must leave at least 4 letters. SMALL WORD POINT CAP: for words up to 4 letters long, the value of each letter in the word is capped by the length of the word. TWO-LETTER WORDS: AD AG AH AM AN AS AT AX AY BE BI BY DO ED EL EM EN EX FA GO HA HE HI ID IF IN IS IT LA LO MA ME MI MU MY NO NU OF OH ON OR OX PA PI RE SI SO TI TO UP US WE XI YE
Yes, just those 54 two-letter words. "JQXZ Wild!" is a respectable word game (in both readings.) The shorter the word, the more conservative the dictionary consulted. Scrabble players with their silly little words can get use to it, or... keep out!
In fact, I don't bother to show any because they look very much like Scrabble III boards with a few shorter words mixed in.
I retain the rights to these additions, adjustments, and modifications giving rise to "JQXZ Wild!, singly or in combination, insofar as I may be allowed. But I will give Scrabble O, Scrabble I, and Scrabble II in their entirety to Hasbro for free if that's what it takes to make the Scrabble world safe again for word lovers. Anyone out there with the connections to talk to them?
Here is the Vision. Tens of millions of word lovers paying a few bucks a quarter to join in a worldwide, "everybody plays everybody" online tournament. You can't play everybody, of course, but the tournament program will make pairings so that at the end of the tournament, all of your opponents average out to the "average player" as determined by final PPTs (average Points Per Turn scored; see my web page.) Tournament ranking is simply determined by winning percentage.
The top so many thousands of players are then invited for the finals. The finals will be held in many major cities, so no one needs to travel far. The finals will be played under strictly controlled conditions, such as in university testing centers, on single purpose computers. As in the preliminary, the tournament program will make pairings so that all finalists end up having played the "average finalist". (Forget that inscrutable bridge ranking nonsense!)
You say, "What about cheating???". For a start, in the quarterly tournaments, you will swear each game to not consult any word source outside of your own brain. In the finals, cheating will be virtually impossible. If a cheater makes it the the finals, he will find himself in deep trouble. To join the finals you will make a large deposit, $5000 say, and you must score within a tight window of the points per turn you posted in the preliminary or else forfeit your deposit. This could be devised so that your penalty is based on how far below the dishonest PPT you came in with.
Do I need to say more? Can you imagine the possibilities? No one has ever imagined this before because everyone has the erroneous notion that Scrabble can only be meaningfully be played by players at the same level. There is much to that with the North American challenge rule which allows (encourages) bluffing, but all of Scrabble For Word Lovers is played with the "good words only" rule. In which case, Scrabble is like bowling or golf, where there is no defense component and anyone can play his game on any Scrabble board against anyone else.
Do you see the big picture? Scrabble as the world's biggest participation sport/game, with top players fabulously popular and wealthy, and even good players making a living from it. And fun, fun, FUN for all!
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