Don’t try to use Bart Simpson’s made-up word “KWYJIBO” in this digital recreation of Scrabble — it ships with a built-in Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary – therefore you won’t get away with butchering the English language to rack up points!
Introducing the downloadable Scrabble game from GameHouse.
Fans of the beloved crossword board game will first notice the “Classic” mode looks and plays just like the original, complete with letter tiles to swap around on the rack, access to the bonus “premium” squares for double and triple points and the player’s score is automatically tallied and displayed at the top left of the screen.
The goal, of course, is to collect as many points as possible by spelling words from letter tiles in your hand (each worth a certain number of points), but in building your word you must include at least one letter already on the board. Therefore, if you have the letters C, L, E and S, and see an available I on the board, you can spell S-L-I-C-E. Similarly, you can add letters to an existing word on the board for points, such as placing I-N-G after the word F-I-X, to create F-I-X-I-N-G.
Players can engage in a game against a friend on the same computer (“hotseat play”) or against the computer’s artificial intelligence in one of eight skill levels: Beginner, Apprentice, Intermediate, Veteran, Smart, Elite, Master and Genius. Believe me, this computer-controlled player is one smart cookie. Whew knew B-L-I-N-I was a word? (If you’re wondering, blini are buckwheat pancakes usually filled with sour cream and folded.)
Unfortunately, you can’t play an online game against a friend if you are not sharing the same computer (there is no multiplayer support).
But at least players have many customizable options, including whether or not you want game aids; these word assistance choices vary from “Allow dictionary to check valid words” to “instant word validation” (the tiles turn red otherwise) to “allow hints” to “show best plays available” (given your tile set).
During the game against a friend or the Scrabble A.I., players can choose to Pass, Shuffle or Exchange tiles from your hand.
Besides the “Classic” mode, gamers can try their hand at a couple of bonus games, such as various “Tournament” modes (either with fixed rules, which will determine your overall Scrabble rating, or customizable ones), including a Solitaire game option to beat your best score. My favorite, however, is the fast-paced “Blitz” mode where you only have, say, 25 or 30 seconds to create a word on the board. If you don’t use up all your seconds, they get added to the clock for your next round. This mode adds some fun tension while you scramble to make the best word possible before your time is up. The Blitz games are also ideal when you don’t have a lot of time to play a game.
Overall, GameHouse’s Scrabble is a polished word game that remains true to the original board game while introducing new twists, such as the clever speedy “Blitz” mode.