Many bloggers and blog-readers were up in arms this past week when a story circulated that the game of Scrabble was going to begin allowing proper names to be used during gameplay. What will actually happen is that another Scrabble variant will be produced by Mattel, but the standard game will still adhere to the traditional rules.
I found it amusing that so many people got their panties in a twist over this announcement, because at our house, Scrabble is played using house rules that would horrify a traditionalist.
The "house rules" are that Scrabble will be the "open book, double bag, triple return, blank start and recycle" version. This means that each player starts with a blank, and after it is played as a given letter, anyone with that letter in their rack can play the letter and pick the blank up for reuse (that's the "recycle" part).
The "double bag" refers to the fact that we keep consonants and vowels in separate bags. When you draw your letters you can do so from either bag in whatever proportion best balances your rack. If you get three of a letter, you can exchange one of them for a different letter. This prevents winding up with the dreaded IUIUCIW-type rack.
The "open book" part is fairly common among recreational Scrabblers. We have not only several dictionaries available, but also a variety of word building books, and sometimes a laptop logged on to an anagramming website.
And finally we spin our racks around to ask the other person (I wouldn't use the word "opponent") for advice/suggestions.
Using these rules, an inlaw and I had a game with 2000+ combined points, including 14 "bingoes." I suppose it's not really "Scrabble" - it's more of a mutual word-puzzle game. But it's fun - especially when the players are also lubricated with their favorite beverages.