Howie and I found a great new game at Target last night. It’s not brand new, but a variation on Scrabble called Scrabble Express. They market it as being a 20-minute game.
Scrabble isn’t the only express version out there, though. There are several Hasbro express games available, including Monopoly, Clue, Sorry, and Battleship. Howie and I love the idea of having a few quick-to-play games to keep handy for trips to the coffee shop or a game at home.
They’re brief games nice for kids with shorter attention spans — well, shoot, for adults with short attention spans!
We haven’t played the express versions of the other games, but I can tell you about Scrabble Express since we did play it last night. First, let me tell you the main way it differs from a regular Scrabble game.A traditional Scrabble game includes 100 letter tiles and a board consisting of a 15×15 grid.
In the Express game, however, there are 12 dice, each with 6 different letters on them; the Q is actually Qu and there is one blank.The playing board is an 11×11 grid. Also in the snap-lidded plastic game box are a 1-minute timer, black bag for the dice, a small pad of paper, and a pencil. The container is compact and sturdy.
Play is easy. Each player rolls a die and the person with the letter closest to A goes first. This process replaces each person drawing tiles to see who goes first.
Assuming you’re the first one up, you roll seven dice, then make a word on the board out of the letters you get. You score the words like you would in a regular game of Scrabble, only this board has both double and triple word and letter score squares.
When you’re done making your word, you put the remaining letters back in the bag. The next player removes 7 dice from the bag and rolls them. If there are less than 7, the player rolls all of the dice. That person has to make a word which connects with your word at some point.
When that person’s done placing a word on the board and tallying up his score, he removes the previous player’s word from the board, with the exception of the single letter where his word joined the previously-played word. Any leftover dice join the previous word’s dice in the bag for the next player to use.
So, you see, there is only one word on the board at the beginning of each person’s turn. This process continues until someone reaches 200 points or some other pre-determined figure. There is a minute timer you can use if you want to keep the game moving (no word in 1 minute means you get no points for your turn).
I liked the game because people can talk and visit while playing. Since each new turn means new letters, there is no need to ponder your rack of letters and figure out what you’re going to play two or three turns ah
ead. It’s also a nice quick game to play at the coffee shop, which is what we did last night. Our friends Steve and Francie joined us and played a round with us. With the timer in use, a game only takes about 20 minutes; our game went longer than that, but still not as long as a full game of Scrabble would have gone.
If you like playing games, but your friends and family don’t always want to commit to a long drawn-out game, these express games might be just the thing for you!