What should have been a productive evening of third year project rapidly degenerated into a long evening/morning of playing Scrabble online.
After a quick defeat against a bot I turned to some more humanesque (no, it’s not a word) opponents.
First up was a game against ‘Baz’. Early on I managed to get away with placing the word ‘EW’ which doesn’t exist to get me 29 points. Since Baz didn’t challenge it, it stood. It was a fairly low scoring game until the letters N I ? Q ? U E fell into my rack and from there I realised I needed to clear out. Deciding on the word SEQUINS I found the best place I could to place it and scored my 92 points. Interestingly when I got the computer to examine that move after the match the only better move I could have made was EQUINES for 97 points, but would have left an E open just above the triple word score, so I probably made the best call. Next move got me 39 points (‘LOOK’, triple word score) and in the space of two moves I’d gone from 111-60 down to 123-191 up. Later on in the game I got ‘CRIT’ for 37 points to put me 225-325 up which really put the game beyond doubt.
Final score: Baz 297 – 375 ajmiles
Then I found an opponent called Eslitz who’d I’d eventually end up playing 3 times.
First game was fairly uneventful right up until the end. Scores stood at Eslitz 251 – 243 ajmiles and letters were running out. Unfortunately he opened up the TWS (triple word score) in the bottom right hand corner, I noticed I could place KITS down the board and that got me the 55 points that secured victory, he promptly retired.
Final score: Eslitz 251 – 298 ajmiles
He wanted a rematch, so that’s what we had. This game was a lot more exciting than the last and the combined score was a lot higher too.
Eslitz started with a 5 letter word FLEES. Then, I had what looked like the letters to bingo (clear all 7 letters for the 50 point bonus). Unfortunately I couldn’t see anything better than FLOWING using the F currently on the board. Postgame analysis says I should have seen POLLYWIG / POLLIWIG / POLLIWOG … whatever those might mean. Later on on the game I missed a few more opportunities to bingo with words including DISUNION, SMIDGINS, but finally I spotted one and got ABUSING which scored me 64 points and gave me a narrow 166-171 point lead. Went on to miss 2 more bingo opportunities with ARCHWISE and then UPGRADES on a later move.
I played DUNG along the bottom with the hope that I’d be able to get the EONS to make DUNGEONS later on. While I had the ONS I was struggling to get the E and foolishly spent 3 moves changing letters in the hope of getting an E. Eventually it came, I made DUNGEONS but it was only ever going to make me 33 points, so I still found myself 313-288 down. Eslitz then played OCEAN along the top again leaving it open for me to capitalise with the triple word score. OCEANS/SORT gave me 39 points and the lead once more with a score of 316-327.
Getting desperate Eslitz then added ‘er’ to ZOOM and I assumed it was a word and didn’t challenge it. Alas, post-game analysis shows it wasn’t a word and I needlessly gave away 19 points that at the time could have sent the game either way. The scores were now poised at 335-327 and I only had 59 seconds left on the clock before penalties started kicking in. I knew that he had the letters I R R remaining and that if I could clear out my remaining two tiles (D A) then I’d gain double the points value of his remaining tiles. I placed the word DAN for 8 points and that levelled the scores at 335-335. I then get the 6 points from his remaining tiles and win the game… just.
Final score: Eslitz 335 – 341 ajmiles
Our third and final game was slightly more one-sided than the first two. After a fairly straightforward start the scores were 113-82 to me. After having got a blank tile after my previous turn I decided to use it in conjunction with the Z on the triple word score to make SEZ (just as well i’m learning all the 3 letter words) and I slipped into a 151-82 lead. From here the game got fairly bogged down in the bottom right hand half of the board and opportunities to make good words dried up once the premium squares were taken. Once I’d extended HOOT to HOOTER the scores were 243-181 and it was going to take a miracle for him to win. The next few turns from both of us were worth very little indeed – VOWEL (11), COAL (8), NUT, EAT, BI(7), UP(8) to leave the scores at 265-218.
Not wanting to open up the top left of the board for potential scoring I was quite happy with the gridlock we currently had and made sure I closed down any opportunities. When he finally got an S and made GUNS onto the top of TAB it looked like he had his opening. Luckily I had a G and Y and made GUY across the U of GUNS and shut down an chance of building off the new word. He then passed on two occasions before making SIR / IM. This time I simply didn’t notice IM and didn’t challenge it, which thankfully didn’t cost me dearly. He only had I V X remaining and just couldn’t get them on the board leaving me to clear out and take the spoils.
Final score: ajmiles 321 – 242 Eslitz.
I’m sure this isn’t going to be the last of my Scrabble playing today, but for now I must go and grab some breakfast. Oh yes, and then learn some more 2/3 letter words.
Where’s the Warwick Scrabble Society (WSS)?! Would anyone else apart from me join were it to exist?