Scrabble: A Revised Tradition

Mom and I have always had Scrabble. My Dad and Brother would play now and then, but not like us. Whether we were at a picnic table at a campsite or at the dining room table, we used the time to relax, connect, and challenge each other. After I left home, we would play during holiday visits. Terry surprised me in 2008 with a Deluxe Turntable Edition for xmas and a promise to try and play together. It turns out he's better at listening to me play and providing support after wins and losses, which is fine.

Looking at the official score sheet book, the 1st games we played were that Christmas vacation with family and friends. Mom won the 1st, I won the 2nd and we continued to win which then led to games between just the two of us. The score sheets continue that way for the next 12 years. 

Most of our games the last decade have been in January during my parent's Sundance visit, including 2020. When we couldn't play together, we kept connected throughout the year with Words, typically with one play per day in an English and a Spanish game. 

Sometime in March 2020, I saw a friend's post on Instagram and felt inspired. She and her Mom also have a Scrabble bond and were missing the connection, so they figured out a way. In April, my Mom and I had our first Scrabble Facetime game and it was a little rough, but very doable. We try to play every week and our annual Scrabble tradition has now been revised to a weekly tradition and something we'll continue!

I FaceTime Mom from the Mac, she answers on her mobile. She typically sits at her table, but lately has realized the freedom of playing from anywhere. I've got the fixed setup with the board, tile management, cardboard box, and laptop. The box height and Mom's tile tray took some time to fine-tune, but we've dialed it in nicely now.

Granted, I can see her tiles in the laptop window but I don't look or if I see them, I typically forget with all my other tasks. I pull the tiles and place them on her tray. She tells me what number tiles to pull and what word and where to play it. I don't spin the turntable, I've just improved at reading the board upside down. I give her a heads up on score and when we start to get low on tiles. I'm also in charge of confirming spellings on our Dictionary App. So along with keeping score and my own tiles and words, I've got plenty going on. 

We still get our time together to connect, catch up on the week, and challenge our minds and each other. Scanning our score sheets from last April, we are basically even on games and usually both over 300 points. On January 3rd, we ended in a 307-307 tie!

Hopefully we'll see each other and play in person in 2021, but living so far apart, this is our new normal. I encourage anyone with a Scrabble passion or any other board game to get creative and try this technique to connect to loved ones. I'm sure there are even better setups and modifications out there.

Here was our final board this week from a spectator's viewpoint, I took the win thanks to a couple strategic Triple Word plays.