Hey Hasbro. Don’t Change Monopoly… Or Scrabble



Stef and Roxie joined us from H’wood today. Having Stef nearby is really wonderful. It’s been a long time since we’ve been so convenient for each other.

There was shopping to be done. We headed out.

Roxie is reasonably hyper. She stayed home.

Destination Target… with Doppler.

There are rules or law we’re violating. I know that. Fine. Come and get me.

Doppler is so well behaved no one could possibly mind. She sits in the cart while we walk around. No barking. No fidgeting. She sits quietly and takes it all in.

If a kid wants to pet her, fine. Doppler is 100% docile.

While Helaine and Stef shopped, I headed to the back where the TVs and electronics live, then wandered around.

It didn’t take long to run into two old favorite games–Monopoly and Scrabble. They’ve been changed!

A pox on your house Hasbro!

Back in the seventies I fell in with a crowd of cutthroat Monopoly players. We read strategy books and fought hard, but the truth is buying everything you land on is the only way to go.

Monopoly has been sped up with the “Speed Die.” It’s a third die that picks up the action.


Scrabble is a very serious game. There are well established ratings and tournaments. You take risks when you screw with the game.

In Philly, I lived above Neal Axe. We played Scrabble nearly every day and he won nearly every day.

Now Scrabble’s got “Power Tiles” to “Boost your score.”


Would these folks put arms on Venus de Milo?

There are certain traditions which should remain untouched, like Monopoly and Scrabble.





Words With Friends

Another addiction. Fine. Leave less time for me to be involved with crack.

A friend got me started playing Words with Friends a few weeks ago. It is the online word game that looks as much like Scrabble as Lindsay Lohan looks like Lindsay Lohan!

Another addiction. Fine. Leave less time for me to be involved with crack.

Like chess-by-mail Words with Friends is played a move at a time when you have the time. Moves can take seconds, hours or days. The game is understanding.

This whole thing is reminiscent of my introduction to competitive Scrabble. It was the mid 70s. I was living in Center City Philadelphia. My neighbor, better educated and from a Scrabble playing family, challenged me to a game. This was like being asked to play HORSE by LeBron James.

It took 20 more games before I finally won.

Over time I’ve learned some Scrabble strategies and arcane words with Qs and Js. This skillset translates directly to Words with Friends. I’ve been mainly successful, though as with my Philadelphia experience when I lose I want a quick rematch.

Here’s the problem. Words with Friends is Zynga. Zynga is the Farmville, Mafia Wars company. In the dictionary next to the word annoying: Zynga.

As soon as I started to play I started getting requests. Zynga puts out the word and as far as I can tell I can’t stop them. On my smartphone’s Words with Friends app there’s a note which says I have 1078 friends waiting to play!

Last night a Facebook friend sent me this:

UnFriended u u snot;)!!

He was upset I’d turned him down for a match. He later said he was kidding, but I’m sure there’s a grain or two of truth there. He’s not the only person I’ve turned down.

At the moment I’m playing some relatives, old friends and TV colleagues. If I want to stay employed I don’t have time for any more!

I can’t stand to lose.