Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

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Matt Morrison
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Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Matt Morrison » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:32 am

Obligatory discussion thread. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20984707

Not sure about the heavy reduction of the J and X, but I understand the Z, only from an American point of view with all the -IZE type words. So I guess it stays higher in a UK set up?
Also I think U up to 2 points and V up to 5 points are definitely good moves.

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Jon Corby
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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Jon Corby » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:50 am

Are -IZE words not allowed in UK Scrabble or something then? They're allowed in Countdown FGS which hates American spelling.

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Matt Morrison » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:49 am

oh yeah good point, didn't process that properly. ignore that statement then, back to the main point of the article.

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Jon Corby » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:59 am

Matt Morrison wrote:oh yeah good point, didn't process that properly. ignore that statement then, back to the main point of the article.
I don't really play Scrabble at all so my opinion should probably be ignored, but I tend to agree with the Mattel dude that it's just in the luck of drawing tiles and that there's no real reason as such for the letter values to correspond to anything in particular. Some tiles are just better than others, but even this scale will also change depending on the game in progress. I mean, it seems to be like bitching that Ace shouldn't be high in certain card games, that all values should be equal. It's just how games involving luck are.

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Nick Deller » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:07 am

It's only a proposal and not a particularly serious one. The lexicon gets updated on a 5 year cycle - sometimes quite tentatively, sometimes with a big bang - and it wouldn't be practical to review the tile values every time if, for example, va* and vu* suddenly became allowable and skewed the usefulness of a V. There's also the totally unaddressed issue of whether the tile distribution should change alongside the points values, and whether those US players who cling to the US-only word list would need a different Scrabble set from those using CSW.

Interesting enough as an academic exercise, but I don't think there's anything to see here.

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Mark Deeks » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:53 am

What's a Z worth in Polish Scrabble? One?
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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Matt Morrison » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:59 am

Mark Deeks wrote:What's a Z worth in Polish Scrabble? One?
I won't pretend to understand Polish, but either 9 or 5 points depending on the variation of Z (or depending on which one you meant).

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Jon Corby » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:09 pm

I forgot to mention that I hugely enjoyed the interactive score calculator featured on the page you linked to Matt. Not only does it add up the tile values, there are also double and triple word buttons for those unable to multiply by two and three. Brilliant.

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Matt Morrison » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:25 pm

Haha yeah. I just used it to type in every letter from A to Z to see the different proposed values, didn't try any words at all. Quite why there wasn't just a list on the page anyway I don't know.

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Jon O'Neill » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:49 pm

Great bit of advertising for the Scrabble Players' Handbook too, now with added PDF size! Excellent.

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:35 pm

Jon Corby wrote:
Matt Morrison wrote:oh yeah good point, didn't process that properly. ignore that statement then, back to the main point of the article.
I don't really play Scrabble at all so my opinion should probably be ignored, but I tend to agree with the Mattel dude that it's just in the luck of drawing tiles and that there's no real reason as such for the letter values to correspond to anything in particular. Some tiles are just better than others, but even this scale will also change depending on the game in progress. I mean, it seems to be like bitching that Ace shouldn't be high in certain card games, that all values should be equal. It's just how games involving luck are.
I don't think it's as simple as that. Scrabble involves luck, but out of inevitability rather than because it's a "good thing". Anything that reduces the luck element would be good, since it's meant to be a game of skill primarily. It's a bit like e.g. poker (not that I know anything about it) - there's luck in your individual hands, but you play according to probabilities etc., and over time the better players win. Having a "fairer" letter distribution in Scrabble (if this is indeed fairer) may reduce the long term - i.e. reduce the time it takes for the better players to show that they are better.
Nick Deller wrote:There's also the totally unaddressed issue of whether the tile distribution should change alongside the points values
Yes, this too.

As for IZE words, I think they're considered standard in British English alongside the ISE words.

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Jon Corby » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:58 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:I don't think it's as simple as that... Anything that reduces the luck element would be good...
Yeah, I had thought about that before I posted, so I'm not quite sure how I ended up at my conclusion. I seem to have decided that because there's some luck, it doesn't matter how much luck there is, which is blatantly absurd. Where I said "I don't really play Scrabble at all so my opinion should probably be ignored" I think it should read "I am a dribbling retard so my opinion should definitely be ignored".

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by David O'Donnell » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:08 pm

Jon Corby wrote:Are -IZE words not allowed in UK Scrabble or something then? They're allowed in Countdown FGS which hates American spelling.
We were always taught the -IZE suffix is correct. I'm not sure how they suddenly became Americanisms.

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Matt Bayfield » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:31 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
What's a Z worth in Polish Scrabble? One?
Matt Morrison wrote:
I won't pretend to understand Polish, but either 9 or 5 points depending on the variation of Z (or depending on which one you meant).
Just to clarify this: the normal letter Z is worth one point. The two accented Z characters are worth 9 and 5. See Matt's original hyperlink.

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Matt Morrison » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:03 pm

Matt Bayfield wrote:
Mark Deeks wrote:
What's a Z worth in Polish Scrabble? One?
Matt Morrison wrote:
I won't pretend to understand Polish, but either 9 or 5 points depending on the variation of Z (or depending on which one you meant).
Just to clarify this: the normal letter Z is worth one point. The two accented Z characters are worth 9 and 5. See Matt's original hyperlink.
Ah, FFS! Thought the first line was organised into alphabetical order, not frequency! You can see why I missed it, the two orders almost correlate.

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Re: Proposed New Scrabble Letter Values

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:35 pm

Jon Corby wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:I don't think it's as simple as that... Anything that reduces the luck element would be good...
Yeah, I had thought about that before I posted, so I'm not quite sure how I ended up at my conclusion. I seem to have decided that because there's some luck, it doesn't matter how much luck there is, which is blatantly absurd. Where I said "I don't really play Scrabble at all so my opinion should probably be ignored" I think it should read "I am a dribbling retard so my opinion should definitely be ignored".
Anyway, my method probably reduces luck in the game so they should just use that and pay me royalties.

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