Players take turns placing tiles onto the game board trying to score as many points as possible, while also trying not to piss me off by forming “words” that are in fact no such thing.
Field of Play and Letter Distribution
The field of play is a grid, 15 squares by 15 squares. No need to change that, I figure. Some squares are self-explanatory premium squares. There are a total of 104... no, you know what? Let’s make it a round 100 “tiles.” No blanks, and no Q or Z in my version. You won’t even notice a difference, unless you’re the kind of cretin who plays QI or ZA, neither of which is a real word, each of which pisses me off every time.
The first word placed on the board must be situated so that the center square—adorned with a picture of my face—is covered. The center square is a premium square. The player to place a tile on the center square gets double the value of the point total for the word played, plus an additional bonus of 200 points, just to speed up every game.
Also to speed up the game, I’ve just decided to reduce the number of tiles from 100 to 90. There will now be no J, no X, only one V, and seven fewer Es.
Every word after the first must be placed on the board so that at least one tile of a previous word is shared. Tiles must be placed in a single horizontal or vertical line in each turn. Tiles may be placed so that multiple new words are formed simultaneously, but in no event may any word contain fewer than three (3) letters. I recognize that there are legitimate two-letter words in real life (ZA not being one of them), but I don’t think anyone should get even two points for playing AN, OF, GO, or any syllable representing a note of a tonic scale.
Speaking of solfeggio, every word must be in English. American English. The following kinds of words are illegal: foreign; archaic; obsolete; colloquial; slang; proper nouns; acronyms; abbreviations; prefixes and suffixes; hyphenated; and apostrophic.
The word apostrophic, which I just coined, is allowed, and merits a 300-point bonus.
Each letter tile has a point value. In the simplest scenario, the points earned for a single word played will be the total of the points shown on the letter tiles used. Unfortunately, this is never the way it goes.
A 1,200-point bonus is awarded to any player who, in any turn, uses all seven letter tiles in his or her “rack.” Did I mention that each player begins with seven letter tiles? I guess I didn’t, but you knew that already. I mean, I’m not inventing a whole new game here!
Because there are only 85 tiles in play—that’s right, I just eliminated an A, an I, an O, and both Ys—sooner or later, but never soon enough, the tiles will run out, and players will be unable to replenish used tiles (which you’re supposed to do, even though I neglected to mention that, too) at the end of each turn. When a player has no more tiles in his or her rack and there are no more tiles to draw, the game is over. Any player with tiles left unplayed when the game ends has subtracted from his or her score five times the total of the point values shown on those tiles. You heard me.
The only official dictionary—the name of which I can’t think of right now—is one that I keep at my home. No other reference volume is to be consulted. If you need to know whether a word played is legal, email me. I’ll issue a ruling as soon as I can.
Any player may challenge any word placed on the board by any other player, because no one should be allowed to just put some letters down in the hope that they happen, in that order, to spell a real word. A player should know that a specific combination of letters is a word and be able to define it. If, when challenged, a player can not use a word in question in an illustrative sentence, that miscreant player forfeits his or her turn and his or her tainted letter tiles to the successful challenger, who also gets a 25-point bonus and ten dollars.
Swapping letters. A player may not swap letters in his or her rack for different letters without the permission of his or her opponent. The player who just can’t make a real word with the letters he or she is holding must reveal one’s rack letters to his or her opponent. If one’s opponent can make a word using the letters in one’s rack, the player who wanted to swap letters must play that word, for which the opponent gets the points.
Resignation. Resignation is encouraged.
Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.