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Researcher: Change Scrabble letter values

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scrabble_jan18.JPG Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

There are things in life we all take for granted, finding solace in the assurance that these things will never change: the sun is yellow, the sky is blue, and a 'Z' in Scrabble is worth 10 points. But one researcher is now threatening to unravel everything we know about the universe by re-assigning values to all of Scrabble's letters. Joshua Lewis has written a software program, Valett, that gives each letter new value. According to the BBC, Lewis' software factors in three things:

Firstly, there is the frequency of the letters in the English language. Secondly, the frequency by word length - how many times a letter appears in two, three, seven, and eight-letter words.

And finally, he looked at how easy it is to play the letter with other letters. For example, Q is a difficult letter to play so would warrant a higher score than S, which can be played with many more.

The plan doesn't sit will with all involved, though. John Chew, co-president of the North American Scrabble Players Association, told the BBC there would be "catastrophic outrage" if such a change took place and most players would just continue to play Scrabble with the old values. Scrabble's UK rep, Philip Nelkon, added, "It is not a game where fairness is paramount, it is a game of luck and changing the tile values wouldn't achieve anything." For their part, Scrabble-maker Mattel says they have no plans to change the letter values at this time, ensuring that millions of Scrabble players across the globe will not have to adjust their view of reality, accepting a shattered world in which an 'X' is now worth only 5 points. And so this big blue ball we all live on can continue to turn and focus on other injustices in the world, like the fact the imaginary holiday "Whacking Day" - from The Simpsons - is now a real thing.

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This page contains a single entry by Marcus Gilmer published on January 18, 2013 12:48 PM.

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