Friday, 25 September 2009

Scrabble by mail

People used to play chess by mail. For all I know, some probably still do. So I got to thinking whether other games could work that way. After all, you can play Scrabble with a friend over the internet, so what's the missing link without computers? The answer is randomness and hidden information.

When you're drawing tiles from the Scrabble bag, you don't know what's coming and your opponent doesn't know what you've got. Even if you tell them, there's no checks or balances to make sure you aren't cheating and drawing whatever specific tiles you'd like.

But the cause for Scrabble by mail is not lost yet. Scrabble on the internet works because there's a server in the middle that keeps track of the tiles available. So the equivalent by mail is to use a third party as a go-between. The game referee or moderator tells you which tiles to draw from your bag, having done so randomly themselves. You tell them what word you wish to play and where, and they pass that information on to your opponent.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This could work for any non-realtime game.
PPS - But some would be more fun than others.

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