My children say when I die instead of a visitation, they will have a Scrabble tournament. Sounds great to me. Too bad I will not be able to take part in the competition.
However, Scrabble has a rival in our love of games now with a board game we recently discovered.
Ticket to Ride is a board game created by Alan R Moon. The game publisher Days of Wonder first offered this game in 2004. It has grown to be one of the most popular board games in the world selling more than eight million copies all over the world.
The original version shows a map of the USA and southern Canada. Each player has a set of plastic trains and starts out with four cards that show train cars in different colors. When it is your turn you can add more cards to your hand or claim a route on the map. In order to claim a route, you must have enough cards of the same color as the track.
Each time you claim a route you are given points – the longer the route, the more points. This continues until one player has two or less train tokens left. The player with the most points win. To add interest to it, the player with the longest continuous train gets extra points.
The original game was a map of the USA but the game has become so popular that there are multiple versions of the game. You can now play it online, on your iPad or on Xbox. Although the basic concept is the same in each game, there are variations for each game that make it each one unique and keep it interesting.
We currently have:
Original Ticket to Ride (USA and Canada)
Ticket to Ride Rails and Sails (two-sided board with the world on one side and the Great Lakes on the other.) Since we live in Michigan, we love the Great Lakes side.
Our latest addition is Ticket to Ride the Heart of Africa
While this new game does add variety to our game nights and perhaps helps to keep our old age brains working, it is doubtful that it can totally take the place of Scrabble. We have had a long-term love affair with that game. We celebrated reaching 1000 games in 2020 – and while we continue to keep a record of our scores, I doubt we will ever make it to another 1000 games (since I am 74 and my husband is 82.)
If you are looking for a fun board game for yourself or for a Christmas present, I can recommend one of the many different versions of this interesting game.
Those of you who follow my blog know by now that my husband and I are Scrabble addictions.
We have kept a record of our scores since 2008. Equally matched in skill, we usually remain only one or two games ahead of the other one.
Recently, however I seemed to be on a winning streak. As I was leading with four games ahead of my husband, he began to get nervous. If I got too big a lead it would be hard to catch up with me.
So when we sat down to play this week, he informed me he was out for revenge.
Boy did he get it!
For those of you who are not Scabble fans, you get seven letter tiles to make your words. If you can use all seven of the tiles in one word you get not only the actual points of the word you made, but an extra 50 bonus points.
He began the game by using all seven tiles and starting off with 50 bonus points. No big deal I thought. That early in the game I had plenty of time to catch up. But he did not stop there. Of the first six words he made, five were made using all seven tiles. Now he had 250 bonus points.
And the rest of the game was all in his favor! He not only won the game – he beat me by over 200 points.
Still, considering he had 250 bonus points I think I did okay.
Now he only has to win the next three games to be equal with me again.
Don’t think I am going to sit idly by and let that happen.
Shortly after posting that blog my youngest daughter called to tell me she had some bad news. Our granddaughter had been sent home from school that morning, along with all her class, because they had been exposed to Covid-19 the day before. They would have to quarantine for Thanksgiving and would not be able to join us for the day as we had planned.
Of course, my first concern was that she and her parents would not get Covid-19 in spite of the exposure. But immediately I also realized what this meant for us. They would have to spend the day with just the three of them and my husband and I would be just two for Thanksgiving.
We have a large blended family but they are scattered all over the USA. We have children and grandchildren in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Missouri and Illinois. As the grandchildren have grown up and married with families of their own, our Thanksgiving gathering has slowly gotten smaller.
Moving three years ago to Michigan we only have one daughter nearby. And yes, she is the one who had to quarantine.
As I started to feel discouraged about that, I remembered my own blog I just posted.
So I began looking at what I have to be thankful – even as my Thanksgiving feast will only have two seats at the table.
Here are just a few of the things I found I have to be thankful for:
Thankful for cell phones and FB so I can still wish loved ones Happy Thanksgiving and see pictures of them.
Thankful that none of my family have died from the Covid-19 though a few of them have had the virus.
Thankful that I have my husband – my bbf – and I will not be all alone at the table as some may be.
Thankful for my beautiful home and that my table will still be full of good food.
Thankful for health so that I can prepare the meal not only for us two but also take a meal to my daughter’s home and leave it on the porch for them to enjoy.
Thankful for being granted the privilege of being born in this country.
The more I thought about it, the more my list of things to be thankful for grew.
The best thing to thank God for is that we will soon be celebrating his coming to earth to live, to die, to rise again. That in the midst of chaos, He is there.
How did my Thanksgiving day go?
My husband worked with me fixing the turkey and all the trimmings, then quickly took some of it to our daughter’s home. We enjoyed the meal, shared a time of prayer and Bible reading, played Scrabble (we are Scrabble’s addicts), and ended the evening with a movie.
As we went to bed last night my husband said, “This has been a different Thanksgiving and I missed family, but in a way it was one of my favorites. I spent the day with my best friend doing things we loved to do. It caused me to really take a look at all the blessings God has given us and I am very grateful.”
The day ended well for me – I won the Scrabble game!!!!
My daughter sent me a picture of my granddaughter enjoying my pumpkin pie – with loads of Cool Whip.
And after almost a week – it appears my family are free of symptoms – no Covid-19.
We began keeping score in 2008. We have the score books from all these years. My husband keeps score and he keeps tab of the total of games we each win – by how many points and even the seven-letter words we play.
At the beginning of 2020 we realized we were close to playing 1000 games – so we set a goal of doing just that. And with the year it has been cooped up at home – it was a good thing to keep us from going crazy!
We have the official Scrabble dictionary and after several challenges by me, my husband uses it a lot to make sure he is spelling the word correctly so I don’t challenge him again.
Being totally crazy, we even have a list of all the three-letter words in the dictionary – and we allow ourselves to use the list to help us make more points.
As we began the last game of 2020 I was one game ahead of my husband and I wanted to win this game and end this 1000 game stretch ahead. However, it did not start out too good for me. These were the letters I had – no vowels.
My husband’s hand was not much better. He had no vowels also but he did have a “y” which he could use. After playing the word “sty” I had to take a “0” for my first turn because I could not do anything with these letters. So – the game did not start off in my favor.
I gained the lead quickly and when we were about two-thirds done, I was ahead 487 to 434. However, it game turned to his favor when he was able to spell a seven-letter word which gave him 50 extra points and he won the game with a score of 711 to my 692.
So – after 1000 games in 12 years we ended all tied.
We each have won 498 games and we have four tied games.
A friend told me she found it hard to believe we were tied after all these games. She said she thought one of us was letting the other one win. Clearly she is not a very close friend because if she were, she would know we are too competitive for that.
Since it took us 12 years to reach 1000 games, I seriously doubt we will ever see 2000, but we can have fun continuing to challenge each other – and keep our old brains active.
My husband fell earlier this year and was rushed to the hospital for surgery following a brain bleed. I worried if he would still be able to compete with me in Scrabble. The doctors told us that one of the possible side effects of this injury was damage to his ability to speak or read and communicate. It was such a blessing to see that he recovered quickly and could keep me on my toes. We both think getting right back to Scrabble was a big help in that recovery.
We have been known to wake up at 4 am and, not being able to go back to sleep, get up and play a game of Scrabble before heading back to bed. Since we play with a Super Scrabble board which has twice the number of tiles for a normal game and a much larger board, it can take us two to three hours to play a game It doesn’t help that we are so competitive and often take minutes to find the right word.
Currently we are at game number 928. We want to make it to 1000 games by the end of the year. Since there are only 78 days left in the year this means we can only skip six days without a game.
Since we are retired and winter is fast coming to our home in Michigan, I think we can make it.
Right now in our 928 games I have won 464, my husband has won 460 with four ties. Recently a friend said she did not think we could have that many ties or be that close in games won and suggested that one of us was letting the other win. Obviously while she is a friend she is not a close friend. Otherwise she would know how competitive we are and how we would NEVER let the other one win.
When we reach that milestone who will be ahead in the total number of games won?
What should the winner of the most games receive as a prize?
What should the loser of the most games have to do for ending up behind?
Any ideas? I would love to have your input on these questions.
Those of you who follow my blog know that my husband and I are Scrabble addicts. We are very competitive and our final scores are often very close.
Recently I beat my husband by just 15 points. He decided he wanted to add the scores again to make sure no mistake had been made. While I was more than glad to do this, I said to be fair if we were going to check the scores of this game, we would need to check those games where I lost by just 15 points.
So I agreed with his new rule. Going forward any game where there was a difference of 20 points or less, we would add up the scores again.
He may regret making that rule.
This week we played a game and when it ended he was ahead of me by just five points. I insisted he check the scores again.
To his great disappointment he found that he had made an addiction mistake in his score giving him ten more points than he should have.
By subtracting those ten points, I now won the game by just five points.
So be careful what you want to change – it may turn against you.
Those of you who have followed my posts for awhile know that my husband and I are Scrabble addicts. We play with a super scrabble board. It has more spaces for words than a regular Scrabble board and 200 tiles instead of 100.
We have kept a record of our scores since 2008 and are very competitive.
As we come to the last day of 2019 I am one game ahead of my husband. He is determined to end this year with a tie between us as we did last year.
So this evening we will play our last game of the year.
If he wins and we end in a tie – all is well.
I did it!
But if I win – I will end the year two games ahead.
Of course, you know I’m rooting to win and be the champion for 2019. However, if the last two games are any indication of how it will go – I’m nervous. Most of the time our scores are very close but the last two games he has not only won but beat me by over 150 points. NO!
In our game last night he had three seven-letter words. For those of you who don’t play Scrabble playing all of your letters in one turn adds 50 extra points to your score. NO!
The game tonight will be our 829th game since we started keeping scores. This year we played 136 games. My husband has figured out that if we play 171 games in 2020 we will reach 1000 games.
So – while I am sure I will at some point today or tomorrow be more serious about goals for 2020 – for now that seems like a worthy goal.
Think we can make it to 1000 games in the coming year?
Think I can win the game tonight and be the champion?
We still see.
For all my readers, Happy New Year! May the coming year bring you God’s peace and joy!