qwy•ji•bo (kwi-jee-boh) n. A big, dumb North American ape with no chin and a short temper.1
I was raised on Scrabble. Not literally — there wasn't need for that much fiber in my diet — but my sister and I did have fierce Scrabble competitions throughout our childhood and well into our 20s. This was in part because we enjoyed the game, and in part because no one else would play the game with us more than once or twice.
Why did our friends and family forsake us, you ask? Well, apparently they didn't like being trounced regularly by 100-200 points. We might not have had the skills of the Scrabbly grandmasters, but we knew all the best techniques and most of the most important words. If either of us scored fewer than 30 points on our turn, we were disappointed.
Some of our techniques:
- Aim for the multipliers. Unless you hit a double-word score or triple-letter score, odds are you won't net many points. In the same vein, try not to give your opponents access to the triple-word score spaces. With the right letters, they may lay a SMACKDOWN on your ASS.2
- Go for two. Crisscrossing words isn't usually as effective as layering. If you lay down a word directly beneath (or alongside) one already on the board, and create a series of 2- or 3-letter words, the points will really start to add up. Especially if you hit a multiplier as well.3
- Manage your rack. One of the best ways to up your score is with bingos; using all 7 of your tiles gets you an extra 50 points. When you're deciding which word to play, sometimes it's better to go with one that'll leave a better combination of tiles on your rack, even if you might get fewer points initially. I mean, which would you rather have on your next turn: AIDS or DVDS?4
- 2-letter words. There are currently 101 valid 2-letter words, involving every letter except C and V, and it's even better if you know what letters can turn them into 3-letter words. The most valuable ones use the high-scoring letters: AX, EX, JO, KA, KI, OX, QI, XI, XU, ZA.5
- Q words without U. There are 33 of these, including: QAT, QAID, QOPH, FAQIR, SHEQEL, QINTAR, and the keyboardtastic QWERTY.
- Vowel dumps. Have too many vowels? Lay down a vowel-heavy word to get them out of your hand. Something like: AA, OE, UNAU, AALII, AUREI, COOEE, OURIE, and MIAOU. Oooh, that's good stuff. (But OOOH isn't.)
- Consonant-only words. Too many consonants? There are about 20 of these (more, if you include that shifty Y), such as: BRRR, CRWTH, CWM, HM, MM, NTH, PFFT, and TSKTSK. Mm hm, that's right.
1 For those of you who are not avid Simpsons fans, the word qwyjibo was used by Bart during a game of Scrabble in the second ever episode of the show. For those of you who are avid Simpsons fans, I realize that the correct spelling is "kwyjibo." This is exactly why I'm questioning "qwyjibo."
2 No, not really. SMACKDOWN is not an acceptable word. Also, ASS? Honestly? What are you, 12? ASS is a complete waste of two good S's.
3 Don't actually hit the multiplier. It's a figure of speech. The board will shake and the tiles will go flying everywhere, and Mitzie will run off with the U-tile in her mouth, which is quite strange because usually Mitzie's pretty sedate for an 80-year-old.
4 Don't answer that.
5 ZA, as in pizza. I wish I was kidding.
6 If you happen to lose, beat him over the head with the box. Then gloat about it.
This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, hosted by Arlee Bird and seven others. Go check out the other participants!