Friday, 24 August 2012


All this cold, wet weather is making me very couch-potato-ish. When the necessary chores are done, a good book, an old black and white movie and the heater going full bore, are some of my chill outs of choice (should that be, ‘warm ins’?). Another one is Scrabble, but there’s no other person in the house who will play word games, so I play Facebook Scrabble. Actually, I much prefer the variation on Scrabble called Take Two, but there still must  be the minimum two players. And it’s not yet available on Facebook. Bummer.

For the uninitiated, let me explain the difference between Scrabble and Take Two. Scrabble is all about making the biggest score. You don’t actually have to have a great vocabulary or even an enjoyment of language.  It’s all about winning. It’s possible to achieve a winning score with three-letter words strategically placed on triple word squares. It helps if you use obscure words containing X, Z or Q, which of course requires an encyclopaedic memory because the rules prevent you from consulting the lists in your Scrabble dictionary during the game. You can also gain big scores by constipating the board with words run parallel (either vertical or horizontal) to existing words. This should be named Diarrhea Scrabble. Because that’s what it does. Believe me.

Take Two isn’t played on a shared board.  Each player makes her own individual crossword puzzle. To this end, you can freely dismantle words to make new ones as you pick up new tiles. For example, you may have made ‘acquire’ to start with, but yearn to make ‘acquisition’ when you later find yourself with an overabundance of I’s.  Each player finishes her turn by calling ‘take two’ (tiles) and the game is ended when all tiles are used. The ‘winner’, if there must be one, is the player who finishes first. The beauty of this is that a nine year old could, in theory, defeat a Stephen Fry. It's hilarious when the nine year old is shouting 'take two' every minute and Stephen Fry is still happily working on his 25 letter masterpiece. Take Two is a great leveller and therefore an ideal family game.

But enough of this. If only my Facebook friends would stop gardening or whatever and join me on the potato couch…

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