Weekend Parting Shot: Scrabble for Dummies


Happy Friday, Gentle Readers,

I hope this missive finds you well. We are off to a tulip festival this weekend. Like most men, I only think about flowers on birthdays, anniversaries, and Mother’s Day or if I have somehow gotten myself into trouble and need the proverbial escape hatch. So to avoid having to buy flowers Saturday night, I will be headed to the Tulip Festival Saturday afternoon. 

To be fair, Mrs. Brown has been very gracious over the years in accompanying me to Renaissance fairs and the local Scottish Festival, which gives me the chance to celebrate my heritage by wearing my kilt, eating haggis, and making my yearly case for why I need to buy another sword. I have never won that debate, but there’s always this year. There’s a really nice Viking sword I’ve had my eye on for four years running. 

Double letter score

I have never been a fan of board games. It is true that I used to have a collection of meticulously painted figures that I moved around a miniature landscape to recreate the War of the Ring or something. We always called them “strategy games,” even if they were pretty much just a grown-up version of playing with army men. But if I am at a gathering and someone breaks out “Settlers of Catan,” “Ticket to Ride,” or something involving cards and shouting or drawing and shouting, I try to find a polite way to beg off. 

Yes, I am a spoilsport, a wet blanket, and a party pooper. But my mother, God rest her soul, taught me from an early age that a good party has good booze and not enough chairs.* I stand by that. 

I don’t like Scrabble, either, mainly because I stink at it. It may sound odd that a writer is easily flummoxed by Scrabble, but I am. I always get nothing but consonants to work with, and not even the good consonants like T or D. I always end up with all the Xs, Zs, and Ns. 

To my credit, I have never once demanded that the game be compromised in order to accommodate my Scrabble deficiency. Then again, I did not come of age in the era of participation trophies, validation, or “the feels.”  

However, Mattel, in the wake of concerns that “Scrabble is just hard, you guys,” is releasing an easier and more inclusive version of the game. The current rollout is set for Britain, but I have no doubt the game, which is aimed at members of Gen Z, will be making a debut in the States in no time flat. 

The New York Post reported:

“The makers of Scrabble found that younger people, Gen Z people, don’t quite like the competitive nature of Scrabble,” Gyles Brandreth, who co-hosts the language podcast Something Rhymes With Purple, told BBC Radio 4 Today. “They want a game where you can simply enjoy language, words, being together, and having fun creating words.

Did I mention that there is an option not to keep score? Of course, there is. There are also “helper cards.” Back in my day, if you wanted to enjoy language, words, being together, and have fun creating words, you and your buddies went out and got a keg.

Besides, has anyone ever seen the spelling skills of your average member of Gen Z? Even if one does not count the ludicrous abbreviations used in texting, the way some of them write is enough to send the editors of Merriam-Webster straight to rehab. You might as well dump all of the tiles out on the table and declare everyone a winner, which is probably what would have happened, anyway.

Wine recommendation

Cuz if u r going to play Gen Z Skrabble, u mite az well bee three sheetz 2 the windd.

It has been a spell since I took on a Chardonnay. With that in mind, I thought I would sample the 2021 Grape and Grain California Refined Chardonnay.

This is a rather lesser-known brand, although, given California’s wine output, it is no surprise it is a little more obscure than other producers. Nevertheless, I found hints of caramel and vanilla, with just a bit of oak, apple, and even a little sweet spice to it.

It has a decent finish, and if you are a Chardonnay fan, you should find it satisfactory. It is not outstanding, but it is a nice, drinkable wine. Try it with a creamy pasta dish, some shellfish, baked chicken, or even squash.

That’s it for me. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you next time.

*The lack of chairs means people will have to mingle and socialize. The booze is self-explanatory.

Las Vegas News Magazine

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