Beating the Scrabble CPU: Whatever it Takes!

 

I have a new nemesis: CPU, aka central processing unit,  my on-line Scrabble opponent.   images

Thanks to my tech-savvy daughter, who bought, set up and  downloaded apps I’d  like on an Ipad mini, I’m playing lots of Scrabble.

I’ve been a Scrabble lover since childhood, when I played with me three siblings.

Living about 35 minutes by train from New York City, I’m in and out of the city a lot- for family, work, and entertainment. Train travel used to be my magazine time- I’d catch up on the New Yorkers and others that had accumulated. This month, I’m doing a lot of flying—it’s our daughter’s last college tennis season  and I’ll be back and forth to Ohio a couple times before her graduation in May. The Ipad, complete with its eReader capabilities, are in my carry-on.  The Scrabble is what lures me; I find it hard to do much of anything else while on the train or plane.

As kids, my siblings and I would accuse each other of looking at the letter racks if one of the players left the room for the bathroom.  I don’t cheat when playing against real live humans. I obey the rules, take my turn, try to use the dictionary only to check spelling of a word, not to go on a fishing trip as we always called it.

I can’t really cheat against CPU.  I can’t see its letters or anticipate its next move. It irritates me that CPU knows all the 101 two-letter   words. CPU rarely passes, and needs only about a second of thinking time. 

Yet I’m as competitive as ever against CPU, whether it knows it or not.  So I cheat, a little.

I frequently see what the “Best Word” feature will produce; and sometimes use the words if I’ve heard of them. If I haven’t, I don’t.  I’ll experiment with my own two-letter combinations, hoping they’re on the approved list. Like a GPS informing me I’ve made a wrong turn, CPU quickly tells me if a word doesn’t exist.

I try to convince myself that I’m not really cheating; just using the available tools designed to make me a stronger player.  If a game isn’t going well, I’ll delete and start over; CPU never calls me a sore loser. CPU doesn’t gloat about winning or complain about losing; it never blames the poor letters it receives or the order of play. Not a bad opponent.

What about you? What games do you play and how do you beat the CPU?

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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12 Responses to Beating the Scrabble CPU: Whatever it Takes!

  1. must look into this CPU – my only game and opponent has been my daughter in ‘words w friends’ – have just inherited Bob’s old iPad so may have to update!

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    • I haven’t played against a human in ages. In the summer, one of my sons will play. His wife is a Boggle expert- can’t get into that game. I haven’t done any other virtual opponents– happy to play you Chris, if you can explain to me how to do it!

      On Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 9:44 AM, cyclingrandma

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  2. Patti Winker says:

    My Hubby and I are big scrabble players. We’ve been away from the board for a while, but really need to get it back out. We have a fancy swivel board that’s pretty ancient and even have the original dictionary… the one with the naughty words in it. We bought a new dictionary years ago when we were playing every Sunday with the Hubby’s mother and I stumbled on a couple words that were accepted in Scrabble World, but wouldn’t play out quite so well in a family situation. I haven’t gotten into any games on my iphone/computer/etc yet. I steer clear because of my rather obsessive/compulsive nature. I could see myself missing my train stops and ending up two states away! 😉

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  3. I love Scrabble. We played during the power outage after Hurricane Sandy. My son was happy that he was able to win a few games. When the kids were younger we played all the time. They all still remember. Have not done the CPU. Have fun.

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  4. I’ve always loved Scrabble, but admit to a horrible Lexulous addiction. It has ruined my Scrabble game, because of all the words it accepts that Scrabble does not. Oh, those triple word scores get my heart racing! 🙂

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  5. I love that I can play word games wherever I am, and whatever else is going on. Abble-Dabble on my iPhone is even better than Scrabble, but Scrabble is definitely the classic game, and it’s fun to have opponents from all over the world!

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    • Thanks for stopping in! This post has generated quite a few suggestions of other great word games– I’m afraid if I start, I’ll never do anything else! Glad to have company in the addiction — can’t get any more harmless than this!

      On Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 11:39 AM, cyclingrandma

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  6. Huffygirl says:

    I like Scrabble too, but I’ve never played on an app or with an electronic opponent. Just trying to beat my kids is enough.

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    • Of course it’s more fun against people. I get annoyed at the computer- it seems to have made up words and then doesn’t accept ones that I know are real words. But it’s still addicting.

      On Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 8:54 PM, cyclingrandma

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