Monday, May 14, 2012

Scrabbled Eggs

[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:

Above:  That is bullshit, Hasbro ... utter bullshit.

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

Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your taking the time to share your feedback with us regarding the Scrabble rules.

Please be assured we have forwarded your comments to our management team so that they are also aware of your views and request.

We want to assure you that we are dedicated to maintaining quality products and service. We hope you and your family will continue to enjoy our products for many years to come.

Again, thank you for contacting us, and for your comments.

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.


The WxB said...

Fun fact: I just recently learned that one who saws is a sawyer. I'm not so smarts.

The Dead Acorn said...

My problem is that I'm too skeered to call out smart people and challenge them, so you could probably play "sawmeister" and I wouldn't challenge you. "Look it up, bitch!" you'd say. "Naw, let's just play ..." I'd respond. Damnit.

PWWYWP said...

he he. Turns out 'axer' isn't a word. That might mean you won though I am certain there were some points earned by hooking included in your score. Just sayin'...

The Dead Acorn said...

"Turns out 'axer' isn't a word." Gee, ya think? And expecting me to not hook is like the ultra-rich telling Warren Buffett that "if he wants to pay more taxes, he should go ahead and do it." I want the rules changed, but I'll certainly play by them until they are. I'm no dummy. Well, I mean, yeah, I am, but you know what I'm saying.

Niamh B said...

you should've insisted axer needs a second x, same way blogger has a second g - the adding on of an r to random things is known as "Backwards Anchoring" to scrabblers over here - it's very much frowned upon

The Dead Acorn said...

I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be wise for me to accuse her of being a "backwards anchorer." She hits pretty hard.

The Bug said...

I LOVE to hook! I live for it - & I would be so very sad if I couldn't do it anymore. (I'm speaking of Words With Friend - not street corner activities). Of course, I totally cheat - I use a scrabble word finder website. I feel marginally guilty, but not enough to stop.

Domestic Oub said...

It's my signature move! I'm emailing hasbro now to tell them to ignore all communication from you in case they listen and ruin my winning move! How am I to beat Mr Oub, aka mensa boy, if I can't do that in scrabble?!!?!!

The Dead Acorn said...

Bug, using a word-finder website is a gateway. Next, you'll be distracting opponents and slipping $500 bills out of the Monopoly bank.

D'Oub - I kind of wondered why I haven't heard an official announcement from Hasbro. You obviously have a bit more pull than me.

While I would like to imagine myself as the player who lays down "MUZJIKS" on a triple-word score, I'm the guy who puts an "S" at the end of "IT." Ding-dang it.

Anonymous said...

FUBW from Norma Rae