4th Thursday [8]: Victory, and Little Else

hand_signal_for_victoryTraditionally, the bane of the game of Scrabble, played on floors or folding tables with family and friends, had been the dreaded Q. Sure, it was worth a lot of points, but if you didn’t have a U to go with it, you were in trouble. “No, ‘Qtip’ is not a real word,” was a common utterance.

Those days are over, thanks to official Scrabble dictionaries and the online incarnations of the game that use them. Now, dropping a high-value Q word is as easy as CAT, or more specifically, KAT, or QAT.  Easier, in fact, because it is a key strategy of the game to know the 2-letter words, and QI has found its way to that list. A recent addition to the same list is the slang ZA, earning another once-dreaded letter an easy play and good riddance.

Which brings me to my point, or points. Isn’t it time for a value-reassessment of Scrabble’s letters? They were initially assigned based on a newspaper reading by game creator Alfred Butts, but I can only assume he didn’t see any stories about Chinese life-force or 21st century pizza.

It seems to me that V is the new Q. How many two-letter V words are there? Still none. And not that many three-letter ones, either, although thanks to the English interpretation of the Hebrew alphabet, we have VAV. I am hard-pressed to think of many words at all that contain a V. That would be a very vindictive vocation, if you ask me. I feel like V is for VICTORY, and little else.

There are other games out there now that have assigned different point values to all the letters, but here I propose my own changes:

  • A    current value: 1   suggested value:   1
  • B                            3                                   3
  •                            3                                   2
  • D                            1                                   1
  • E                            1                                   0
  • F                            4                                   4
  • G                            2                                   1
  • H                            4                                   4
  • I                              1                                   1
  • J                             8                                   6
  • K                            5                                   6
  • L                             1                                   1
  • M                            3                                   3
  • N                             1                                   1
  • O                             1                                   1
  • P                             3                                   3
  • Q                           10                                  8
  • R                             1                                   1
  • S                             1                                   0
  • T                             1                                    1
  • U                             1                                   1
  • V                             4                                 10
  • W                            4                                   3
  • X                             8                                   4
  • Y                              4                                   4
  • Z                            10                                  8
  • blank                       0                                  0

As it turns out, the V is one of just two letters to which I have suggested a higher point value, which could serve only to lower overall scores in the game. The Z and Q would still be among the highest-value letters, although less than the V since they have easy outs. I have given a value of zero to both the E and the S, because in this paragraph alone the E appears 68 times in the 125 words, and the S is used so often to pluralize a word already played, that there should be no reward for that. Similarly, the G serves to make into present-tense existing verbs already played, or added to four- and five-letter verbs to score a bingo, that less reward should be given for doing that, as well.

I have also given a boost to the K, because of its reliance on certain other letters for big scores (C, N), although it should have been penalized for KA and KI. It still has far fewer two-letter combinations than the X, which I’ve reduced in value by 50%.

These are my suggestions, and I am sure they will have no baring whatsoever on the future of the game. But, does it really matter, anyway? Like the words themselves, the point values of the letters are just rules. Arbitrary, meaningless rules.

VICTORY – 20 points, face value (proposed).

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One thought on “4th Thursday [8]: Victory, and Little Else

  1. Varying value brings the vocation into view … Qi I would have played. I seldom play now but when I did, I would try and keep a U specifically for drawing the letter that goes with it. Still, that brings another sort of playing hardship How about Lav? Or Ova, rave and avenue? Oh well could drone on … Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 1 person

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