Monday, January 10, 2011

Stealth Scrabble

Now Scrabble is on Facebook, so Ernesto challenged me to play.
But unlike our previous online games, this time he only makes a play when he's online, then logs out.
So when I check in, he's made a play - but he's not there.
The result is Scrabble in slow motion - After I make my play, it may be 12 hours before he's made his - or it may take me 12 hours to find out.

This reminds me of the early years of Fred & Marigold, when Fred played postal chess.
A game could take several YEARS as postcards traveled back & forth. The message would be a repeat of the previous moves of both players, as a reference point, then the opponent's most recent move, followed by Fred's new move, then his sign-off.
He had a small binder with a set of chess-boards in it with half-pockets to sit the pieces in to maintain each game's board position, opposite a large pocket he could store its postcards in. He had six matches going "simultaneously", if one can use that term about something so extended in time.

Having a long time to weigh your next move is not necessarily an advantage - there's a dynamic missing, along with the question of whether one can fully trust the "randomness" of app-generated letter draws to match one's personal randomness of hand in the bag (in which the vowels school like fish).

This new game setup is characteristic of Ernesto, who has always had the capacity to vanish. When he was little he was nerve-wracking - he'd be sitting quietly doing something, and I'd look over and there he was, again & again. Then I'd glance over, and he wasn't there. No sound of departure, no trace of where he went - just gone. He's still like that - which I daresay he enjoys. In our stealth games, I'll log in only to find that he logged out 7 minutes ago - what will happen if I actually catch him? This adds an element of suspense to the game...

1 comment:

  1. my stealthiness is aided by the fact that i am never signed into f-book chat and therefore will never appear to be "online" on the scrabble application.
    in response to the randomness of letters: i've gotten plenty of crappy ones, so don't worry about the authenticity of the draw.
    stealth you later!