Scrabble: Quidditch Edition

As of late I’ve been getting back into Scrabble via Words with Friends on the iPhone. It’s the perfect implementation of the game for the platform so try it if you haven’t. It got me to thinking that there ought to be a variation on the traditional Scrabble rules. I present:

Scrabble: Quidditch Edition

The trouble with being megagaltastic and playing Scrabble is that the game is not designed to reward players for playing truly awesome words. This, I feel, is a shortcoming. On the opposite end of this proposed union is Quidditch, the wizarding game (I need not say) from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. One element of this game is a device called The Golden Snitch, which, if caught, ends the Quidditch game and awards 150 points to the team who capture it. I will not be drawn into how silly this is, I intend only to use it for my own devious linguaphilic purposes.

Perhaps you see where I’m going. I propose that the players agree before the start of the game on a set of “Snitch Words” which, when played, earn quadruple points.

Supplementary Rules:

  • Quadruple Word Score cannot be combined with double or triple word score spaces but may be combined with double or triple letter spaces.
  • Snitch words must be at least 5 letters long.
  • Shorter words can be agreed upon but should only get a triple word score as they are easier to play.
  • Snitch words cannot be changed or added to after the start of the game.
  • A given snitch word can only be used once per game.
  • Adding a suffix to an already played snitch word does not grant any score modifiers, after it is played it is treated as a normal word.

Snitch Word sets.
Non-dictionary snitch words should generally come from a shared knowledge base, having nerdy friends is great for this. Plumb the works of H.P. Lovecraft for some fantastic arcane vocabulary. To make it challenging and fun, snitch words should be words that would otherwise be disqualified from play in a typical Scrabble game. Proper names, fictional words, etc.

For instance, you might decide to use the nonsense words from Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll as your snitch words.
brillig, slithy, mimsy, frumious, whiffling, tulgey, borogoves, outgrabe, vorpal, galumph

Ten words is a good start, you may even wish to keep a running list of words that you use each time you play. This could work for speed Scrabble (a.k.a. Scrabble Apple, Bananagrams, etc) as well. Sadly, it is not possible in digital versions of the game, including my personal favorite, Words with Friends. It would be nice in such games if players could agree to add custom words to the dictionary at the very least, but this will not likely happen.

I welcome comments with your ideas for additional rules, snitch word sets, or strategies.

7 Comments

  1. I love it! You could also use a variation on this for a bilingual game.
    As a language major, I often get frustrated by this. Once I was playing Boggle and saw “DESTINO” – an excellent 7-letter word, but it didn’t count because it wasn’t *English* Darn bigoted rules!

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  2. Man, I’ve been playing like that for ages! I always give myself extra points for playing dirty words. Since many “dirty” words are actual words that are accepted in Scrabble, even the online versions will work, to a degree at least.

    I also like to give myself extra points for playing words related in any way to Harry Potter: snitch, wizard, squib, lupine, wand… etc.

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  3. I will propose this to the family when we play Scrabble over the holidays. Should be fun – actually playing this way AND convincing them to play this way. :)

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  4. haha My friends and I play Karaoke Scrabble, where in order to play a word, you must first sing a line of a song that contains that word. It can be really tricky, but it always hilarious! Especially if your friends can’t sing!

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