Some things change while other stay the same. Scrabble has been around for over 70 years without changing the values of its letter tiles. American Researcher Joshua Lewis has taken matters into his own hands and created a value assigning program to keep Scrabble up with the times.
Current tile values in Scrabble are based on how commonly those letter are used in the English language. When the game was created, Q and Z were the least used letters in the alphabet and therefore had the highest value, sharing 10.
According to Joshua Lewis Lewis, Z should now be valued at six points because it has become easier to use. The BBC spoke to Lewis about his proposed value changes. He says:
“The dictionary of legal words in Scrabble has changed. Among the notable additions are all of these short words which make it easier to play Z, Q and X, so even though Q and Z are the highest value letters in Scrabble, they are now much easier to play.”
Lewis based his new program, VALETT, on Q having the highest value at 10:
“You get this justified separation between Q at 10 and Z and J at six, and in general the non-Q letters are a bit more compressed in value.”
John Chew, the co-president of the North American Scrabble Players Association, tells BBC that is the values were changed there would be:
“Catastrophic outrage. Some people would just continue playing with the old tile distributions because people who’ve played the game often enough tend to remember that the Q is worth 10 points, the Z is worth 10 points and so on.”
Hard core Scrabble players take the game pretty seriously. The world’s top player just got disqualified from a tournament for cheating.
What do you think: Is it a good idea to modernize Scrabble and how its tiles are valued?