Eric and I were settled in for Sunday night, doing the old- married- couple thing, when we got it in our heads, almost instantaneously (it's scary how quickly this happens...) to play Scrabble. It had been months since we had touched this game, but now we had played it twice in a short span. We were warmed up from our previous game a week earlier, so we were being particularly witty. Suddenly, I was saddened that I couldn't quite make the word poultice. And then it hit me. As soon as this traditional game was over, I was going to engage Eric in a round of Pretentious Scrabble.
Scrabble variants are not unusual. I have learned Speed Scrabble is known to our separate circles in both Iowa and Minnesota, and I'm sure other states as well. Speed Scrabble is when you negate the board and everyone starts with seven tiles. Time begins and individuals madly throw around their tiles, trying to connect them all into words. Once someone has incorporated all of their tiles, they shout, "Draw!" and all unwitting players are required to draw a couple more, somehow using them to add to their masterpiece. This is a maniacal version. I hate putting my tiles together, only to have to completely disregard my work if I draw a new tile that needs to be incorporated. I should not have to be so disrespectful to such cooperative tiles! Trust me; this version is not for the faint of heart.
Anyhow, Pretentious Scrabble is a little more friendly than traditional Scrabble, and not as demanding as Speed Scrabble. This is how play works, at this early stage of evolution. All tiles are face up, and the endeavor is a joint one. Someone randomly chooses a lengthy word, lays it down, and you just build off of that. I like to call it Pretentious Scrabble so you can conveniently leave it out when you have company. They will come and be astounded at your genius (and luck of drawing letters), and you just remain silent to the whole affair. "Of course it's common to regularly incorporate such sophisticated words! What? You don't?" For this to be possible, one primary rule must carry over. You are still be limited to seven letters in a word, unless you later build off of it. If you really want to impress unsuspecting guests, you will have themes to all words placed on the board. For instance, Eric still wants to do a philosopical bent for one. Alas, categorical imperative has no hope of making an appearance...
The picture shows the results of our maiden voyage. We used all the tiles, but we did cheat once; if you look closely, you will see that TC is on the board, and abbreviations are disallowed. But we like to think of it as a tribute to our current residence in the Twin Cities. I encourage you Scrabble lovers to try this alternate version. I realize that if you're competitive, you might not feel challenged in this bout, but we played two rounds last night and weren't yet bored. The challenge remains to use up all the tiles while creating some pretty spectacular combinations. Plus, Pretentious Scrabble eliminates feeling inferior when you realize you can't incorporate your letters into much of anything, but if you only had ____, then you'd really blow everyone away!