Heading North: the joy of scrabble.

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.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
This entry was posted in Adventure, Community, Engagement, Expedition, Familiarity, Family, Game and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Heading North: the joy of scrabble.

  1. Melissa carter says:

    I agree to some extent, Julian. Asynchronous Scrabble (via Facebook) has been a fun family game for us with our two older kids in Chicago and it does make connections across time and distance. My daughter does Scrabble on the train during her daily commute. My son we have to nudge sometimes. It is a bit odd sometimes when my husband and I are doing Scrabble at the end do the day, relaxing in bed, sharing tips from the Scrabble teacher or bemoaning why OZ or BIGSON or something isn’t a legit word.

    • julianstodd says:

      Don’t even get me going on the challenges of US/UK Scrabble… Playing this week on a Norwegian set which has no Q or Z, but also two Norwegian characters (which I can’t replicate in WordPress character sets!)

  2. Pingback: On the ninth day of Christmas Learning: perspective | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.