Back to Posting Recorded Scrabble Games

Live Posting of Recorded Scrabble Games

Beginning with the 2000 Canadian National SCRABBLE® Championship, important games at major tournaments have been posted live to web sites using a modification of the traditional DOoM crossword game servers once popular among Scrabble players.

To begin, as with all forms of game recording, the staff directly involved in recording games should read the Principles of Annotation document.

Setting up a Laptop for Annotation

You need a network connection to the annotation server. For test and training purposes, you can use the MarlDOoM server at port 7777. (John Chew may also have configured your machine to connect automatically to a different production server.)

You need "MUD client" software for connecting to the annotation software. In a pinch you can use Telnet, but it's a lot easier to make sense of what's going on if you use something like TinyFugue, which is available as a free binary download for Mac OS/X and Windows, or as a free source download for any platform.

Server Connection and Authentication

Connecting to the annotation server is a two-step process, the details of which depend on your client software. First, you have to establish a network connection (e.g., tell TinyFugue "/connect 7777"); then you have to authenticate yourself by entering your username and password into the connection using the "co USERNAME PASSWORD" command (for appropriate values of USERNAME and PASSWORD, to be provided by your server administrator; customarily, USERNAME is p1 or p2 for the players at Board 1, and p3 or p4 for the players at Board 2).

If you have a correctly configured copy of TinyFugue, these two steps will be automated for you into the macros "/p1" and "/p2", for connecting and authenticating as Player 1 or Player 2 respectively.

Entering Live Games

To enter a play into the server, see the "p" (place) and "c" (commit) commands below in the command reference. You may "u" (undo) as many times as you like before you "commit", and you should be very careful to make sure that the word looks right on the "b" (board) before committing. If you do make a mistake and your opponent catches it right away, you should "withdraw" the erroneous play as though it had been successfully challenged, then have your opponent "pass". Then at the end of the game, use the game editor to remove the bad play, withdraw, pass sequence. If the mistake is not caught until later, you are likely out of luck (unless it's early enough in the game that you can reset and start again, or late enough in the game that no further plays are made affecting the erroneous region of the board); record the game on paper and enter it in its entirety using the game editor at the end.

Toward the end of the game, be very careful to coordinate with your partner the correct sequence of data entry. In particular, if your player empties the bag, be sure you enter his new tiles before your partner enters his next play, else the server will get confused and put the remaining tiles onto your opponent's rack. (If this happens, use the "r -f" command below to force the correct rack.)

At the end of the game, ask the players to confirm what they believe to be the final score. If this disagrees with your calculation, note the discrepancy on the annotation sheet and do not reveal it to the players. Report the final score to the annotation supervisor.

Events to Enter After the Game

The normal flow of a face-to-face Scrabble game can be interrupted by a variety of events that do not occur in online play. If any of these occur, make a note of it on the annotation record and have the annotation editor edit the final file appropriately.

Failed challenge
Enter as a pass, record word(s) challenged and penalty if any.
Misscored play
Record errors if known, and final score agreed upon.
Time penalty
Can occur in online play too, but difficult to correctly account for on the server; just report the total overtime amount and penalty.
Disconnected tiles played
At present, the server software does not support the display of games in which players make words that are not connected to the rest of the grid. Record the rest of the game on paper, report to John Chew. If playing under 2011-06-16 NASPA rules, point out the infraction to the players right away.
Overdraw penalty applied
Use the rack command to enter the post-penalty rack, make a note of the tiles involved in the overdraw procedure. If playing under NASPA rules, you should tell players when they have to many tiles on their rack.

Annotation Commands

Here is a summary of commands, in case you're not familiar with DOoM. At the start of a tournament, you will typically use commands co through start, then cycle from r to c, checking as you go using b and/or log2. At the start of subsequent games, you can begin from the reset command as long as the next player you are annotating for has the same first/second status that the previous player did.

co p1 passwordTry to log on as p1 using a password
"help, what do I do?Say "help, what do I do?" to your co-annotator
reset Reset the game. Do this at the beginning of the game, not in the middle.
join Join the game. First player must do so first. If the second player accidentally does so, reset and try again.
iam John Chew Identify the real name of your player. Games will not be updated on the server until both of you do this.
round 5 Identify what round this is. Games will not be updated on the server until one of you does this.
start Start the game. Only the first player can do this.
r aeinr?? Specify your rack. Do this as soon as you know what it is. Use '?' for blanks.
r -f zzzzzzz Force the rack to be the one you specify, even if it looks like the rack is impossible.
p h8 word Place a word on the board. If the word has blanks, then capitalize the letter tiles and lower-case the blank tiles.
b Display the board. Check to see if it looks right with the play on the board, before committing to it.
undo Take back a typo play before committing to it: (p h8 OOPS, u, p h8 POOS)
c Commit to a play to post it irrevocably to the web site.
x aeinr Exchange tiles. Enter carefully, there's no undo here.
withdraw Withdraw a successfully challenged play.
pass Pass without making a play.
log2 Display a compressed log of the game so far.
track Display what tiles remain unseen by your player.
end End the game.

If you are using TinyFugue, you can press Control+P or Control+N to scroll through your command history rather than having to retype recent commands, and the left and right arrow keys to move the cursor within a command to edit.