Scrabble is a strangely antisocial game. As the three of us sat playing, there was no conversation (except ‘is “jo” a word?), but rather intense concentration. Everyone focused on the board in the middle and their rack of tiles. Last time we played was probably on the set from the 1960s, with the wooden tiles.
This time, however, we were playing with an iPad and three tethered phones, each one acting as a ’tile rack’ in it’s own right. Thank God for Bluetooth.
But the experience was not the same. Family scrabble should involve more shouting, more discussion, a certain amount of cheating and the chance to dig out the well thumbed dictionary. Instead, it now involves word lists, dictionary functions, connectivity and animations. Still fun (especially if you’re winning), but lacking something of the charm.
You see, Scrabble isn’t just about winning (people who know me are already reaching for Facebook), it’s about playing it together. Even in our splendid isolation, we are interacting, both with the Scrabble board, with it’s history and patina of age, and each other.
Part of Scrabble is playing the game, but a big part of it is playing it together, around the christmas tree or in the pub on a sunday afternoon. It’s about arguing about the rules and disagreeing as to whether you can play ‘trouts’ or not. Technology can make things more efficient, but not necessarily better.
Heading North: the blog is on holiday exploring the coast of Norway for two weeks, heading up the coastline to the arctic circle. Holidays are times to explore new things, so we may detour from normal service for a few days.