Back to Poslfit: Scrabble Variants


Clabbers is Scrabble without the restriction that you have to put the letters in each word down in the usual order. The only time the dictionary arrangement of the letters matters is when a dubious word is challenged, at which point the person who played the word must give a valid arrangement of the letters.

Beginning Clabbers players often underestimate the scoring threat of parallel plays, especially on the edges of the board. Games played by strong players often develop very densely.

My favourite version of Clabbers is separate double bag SOWPODS clabbers with 45-minute clocks and 5 point per word challenges. Double bag: use two bags of differently coloured tiles. Separate: each player draws only from his own bag. SOWPODS: use the international Scrabble lexicon of this name. 45-minute: after you've used 45 minutes, each additional minute or part thereof costs ten points. 5 point per word: if you challenge several acceptable words, you lose five points per word challenged.

Here's an example of a game completed under the above-mentioned rules (except by force of habit we played with loss-of-turn penalty for failed challenges, and we were in a hurry so we tried 30-minute clocks), played by John Chew (red) and Libero Paolella (white) on January 23rd, 2005 (note one phoney went unchallenged):

[board diagram]