Friday, September 19, 2008

Science Scrabble

Don't get scared off by the word science, I'll explain how you can play '[insert theme here] Scrabble' if science isn't your thing. (Though it should be, it's fun!) My friend Aviv and I have developed these rules for just over a rule, tweaking them as we go.

All you need to play this is a standard Scrabble set, and someone who shares a common field with you which has a expansive vocabulary list.

Science Scrabble follows all of the normal gameplay rules of Scrabble, but expands the vocabulary allowed. In the case of science, a lot of these words are allowed; proteins, cyanide, arsenic, methane, etc. However, some words are not; deioniser, grignard, hbonding, nbutane, etc.

In addition to these words being allowed, you get special science points for using these words, and you keep track of these points across multiple games for a set period of time (or games if you'd like). A six-letter word is worth one point, and every extra letter is another point. HALIDE is worth one point, whereas DEPROTONATED is worth seven points.

Blanks don't count for science points, so if you have STyRENES, that is only worth seven points, whereas if the blank wasn't used it would count for eight. (Note: listing a word in all uppercase, and blanks in lowercase is standard Scrabble practice.)

Five-letter words count for 0.1 points, and cannot be repeated during a round of Science Scrabble. The first time I write AMINE I get 0.1 points, but if my opponent or I play that during the same game, or any later game, it isn't worth anything. A six or seven-letter word with one or two blanks respectively is counted as a five-letter word.

The last rule is that if you lose a game by 100 points or more, any science words you played don't earn any science points that game. This is to prevent players from fishing for science points without worrying about the real game.

Depending on how expansive your chosen field is, you can spice things up. For instance, we allowed elemental symbols to be used, which really expands the allowed 2-letter word list. (There are a lot of elements.)

That's it; this is great for gambling on, if that's your thing (it's mine). I recommend keeping track of your score in an Excel document if you're playing online, or if you're always playing with the same set, just keep it on a piece of paper in the box. A sampling of the scorecard between Aviv and I is below. If you want a full view of this round's scorecard, click here.

I told you previously that I would explain Science Scrabble, and now I have. Next up, Anagram or Crapple?

Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr



Richard R. said...

Ah, I see how it is Will. You describe a game in which you would PWN US ALL.

Well done.

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This game COULD NOT BE more full of win! Wish I had someone here to play it with.

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