by Sophie Buono
The brown bag of jingling tiles, the large square board, and those elusive Double Word Scores. The classic game of Scrabble reminds me of long, quiet evenings—mostly enjoyed in their entirety by those more intelligent than myself, while I’m usually the one who says “You win” and calls it a night. All the same, there seems to be something nostalgic about the game, like an old friend longing to liven the party once again. (I guess Words with Friends is mostly responsible for trampling on those dreams.)
While the case for the loveable yet tired old game seems a little bleak (who has that kind of time anymore?), a good friend of mine introduced me to a new style of playing that could give a glimmer of hope to our dear friend Scrabble. It’s the same, familiar game, but with a new twist: DJ Scrabble.
Here’s how it works: You put a word on the board, same as always. But now, I think of a song. And here’s the catch: the song I choose must have something to do with the word you played. So you play “Run,” and I play some Bruce Springsteen1. I build off your n and play “Never,” and you make the (questionable) choice of turning up J Bieber2. (Personally, I would have gone for the T Swizzle3 instead, but hey, we’ll be good sports.)
Now we get to enjoy the same classic pleasantries of Scrabble, but with DJ Scrabble, we can listen to jaunty tunes while thinking of new words to play. If you want to go for the extreme version, each player must thinking of the next word before the song ends. So choose your songs wisely. (This is where being acquainted with bands like Meatloaf and Lynyrd Skynyrd comes in real handy.)
Of course, the other challenge arises when I really want to hear a certain song, but I my song decision depends on the word you play. I don’t want to help you think of your word (that is, if I really am planning to persevere and try to win), so my musical fate for the night rests in your hands. I guess all I can do is hope that you play something like “flood,” “drug,” or even “Oh” (which would be a very sorry Scrabble move)—or I could try to put one of those down myself and try to telepathically tell you to think “Lumineers4.”
There are also the words that may make it difficult to play a song. Who can think of a song that has to do with “board”? Or “carpet”? This is where the multi-layered strategy of the game comes in.
Then again, if you play “love,” all bets are off.
1: “Born to Run,” Born to Run
2: “Never Say Never,” My Worlds: The Collection
3: “Never Grow Up,” Speak Now
4: “Ophelia,” Cleopatra