[UPDATED BELOW w/Hasbro response]
I am generally, I believe, a fairly laid-back and relaxed person, preferring to not get worked up over trivial issues. I would, for example, never get my dander up over something like politics or prejudice in our society, as such topics seem so inconsequential in today’s utopic environment of kindness and concern for others disirregardless of our differences.
That said, there are certain things of such great import, bearing such relevance to the state of our world, that I find I can no longer remain silent on them in light of their egregiousness. The issue of which I currently write is this:
The image above is from the official rules of the board game Scrabble, and shows examples of "legal" plays. For those unfamiliar with the game, players take turns creating words with letter tiles. In the first, a player has played the word “FARM” on the existing word “HORN.” Words can be formed one of two ways: by either using a letter in an existing word to make the new one perpendicularly (as in the example), or by extending an existing word (e.g., by adding an 'S' to make a plural form). Aside: I played over the weekend with someone whose credo seems to maintain that “there is no object noun that cannot be turned into a person noun by the addition of ‘R’ or ‘ER’:
Person With Whom I Was Playing: (plays ‘R’ at the end of the existing word ‘AXE’)
Dead Acorn: “AXER? WTF?”
PWWIWP: “Yeah. It’s someone who axes things. You know, a guy who uses an axe. Duh.”
DA: (stunned silence for a few seconds) “Wow.”
Now take a look at the second example in the image. Do you see what they’ve done? DO YOU SEE? They’ve first pluralized the word ‘FARM’ by adding the ‘S’ … then continued on to make ‘PASTE’! A second word! That’s two turns! That’s outright cheating!* Those BASTARDS!
Well, I’m done living with this sort of abomination, this assault on civilized society. Are we not a nation of rules and laws? Are we not a people who embrace common decency, or do we accept those who would build upon the honest work of another (the FARMer, in this case) and flout the spirit of the “one turn, one word” philosophy with all the greed and disdain for their fellow humans of a JP Morgan executive? This will not stand!
To that end, I’ve sent the following letter to Hasbro, the parent company of Parker Brothers, the marketer of the game in the United States:
Dear Hasbro: I find that I can no longer keep silent about the undeniable illegality of the tactic known as “hooking” in the game of Scrabble. It is a manuever, inarguably, that allows a player to take two turns – by first (for example) creating the plural form of a word (turn one), and then creating a second word based on the tile that they themselves have just laid (turn two). I’m quite certain that this was an oversight by Alfred Butts during the inventive process, and further, I believe it likely that it was the reason that Parker Brothers originally turned down the game.
You’ve ignored this far too long, Hasbro. It has been the elephant in the room of board gaming since 1948, and you, as a Major Power in the industry, have the power to fix things.
Please correct this as soon as possible. I would also appreciate it if you could issue an official statement establishing that any victory over me due to the use of “hooking” is to be considered null and void.
Do the right thing, for the love of all that is good and fair, and you’ll be well on your way to being a real bro instead of just a has-bro.
In Gaming Sincerity,
The Dead Acorn
To be honest, I don’t hold high hopes for justice to be served. But I tried to make a difference, and I guess sometimes that has to be enough.
[UPDATE:] Well, paint me orange and call me a pumpkin! I heard from Hasbro:
Response Via Email (Rob)
05/15/2012 03:58 PM
And so you see, sometimes a little activism and protestation really can make a difference. I expect a news conference announcing the changes tout de suite! Many thanks to Rob and the rest of the Hasbro Board of Directors for giving this the level of attention it deserves.
* This is known as “hooking” in the Scrabble world. Yes ... yes, of course it is.