I kind of enjoy Scrabble but I usually avoid playing it because I am too impatient a person to stare at jumbles of letters for extended periods of time trying to make highest-scoring words.
Once I find a word, I’m often too lazy to think of alternatives, which, of course, makes me an attractive candidate for the Scrabble Hall of Shame.
But the funny thing about me is that, no matter how little interest I have in a particular activity, when its served up in the form of a video game, I will instantly like it more.
For example, I have no interest in slashing evil villains’ faces into ribbons using clawlike protrusions coming out my hands in real life, but I really enjoyed doing that on the Xbox 360.
That being said, I was really thrilled to receive a copy of Scrabble Interactive: 2009 Edition for the PC.
I enjoyed the tutorial. It took about three hours. Longest tutorial ever I played.
But it’s fun because it’s presented in the form of a progressive challenge. It comes with a cheesy storyline, with references to Egyptian mythology and all, but it’s acceptable in the grand scheme of things, if you try not to be too picky in general.
The tutorial not only teaches the rules of the game, but also imparts basic tactics for becoming a better Scrabble player. You also learn the UI and controls, so try not to skip the tute.
One thing I love and hate about the PC game version of Scrabble is the Mentor feature.
You can click on it any time and it will show you a list of all possible words you can form, with scoring, even. So, basically, you can just cheat your way through a game and get genius-grade scores.
I love it because I’m lazy to think up my own words, remember. But I also hate it because games stop being fun when you get to cheat.
I hate that the temptation is there. You can’t help succumbing to it, especially when you have cheater PC opponents who of course know the best words to form because they’re the computer.
But never mind all that. It’s Scrabble. Either you like it or you don’t.
What you want to know is that Scrabble Interactive: 2009 Edition offers several different variations to the classic game, with two of them being brand new over the 2007 Edition.
Here’s a look at the bonus modes:
This variation of Scrabble is used in actual tournaments. Basically, it removes the chance portion of the game and tests players only in skill.
Every player gets the exact same letters in every round. Each forms a word and receives the scores earned for the word. The highest-scoring word gets placed on the board and the game continues, with everyone receiving a duplicating fresh set of tiles.
Each player receives a random set of action cards which they can play before each round to modify the game. For instance, you might play a card that forces your opponent to use only three tiles maximum in that round. Or you might have a card that steals your opponent’s points for the round.
Srabble Hold’Em (New)
This mode adapts the rules of the popular Texas Hold’em poker game. Each player gets two tiles and the table gets five shared tiles. Bets go around the table as each shared tile is opened. At the end of it, the person who forms the highest-scoring word from the personal and shared tiles wins the pot.
This is a training mode. You’re given a bunch of letters and you have to form as many words (using all the letters) as possible within five minutes.
Another training mode. First you get three letters. You form a word. Then you get the same three letters plus one. You form another word. Then you get the same four letters plus one. You form yet another word.
You get the picture.
This is kind of like Boggle except with more letters to choose from and the letters you use get, well, used up.
Besides these variants, the PC version of Scrabble Interactive 09 also allows multiplayer via LAN and Internet.
For some reason, I wasn’t able to log in to the server to play. There was some network connection error. I was quite relieved at that, to be honest.
I’m not sure I want to advertise my Scrabble Hall of Shame candidacy to the world.
On the whole, I think Scrabble and word lovers will enjoy this game. It’s kind of hard to find physical people to play board games with in this day and age, so people need to turn to a computer game to satisfy the occasional wordsmith craving.
I prefer the bonus variations to the classic game. They’re less stressful, therefore more fun!
Scrabble Interactive: 2009 Edition is available for PC, Wii and DS.