Scrabulous the second

Scrabulous rhymes with fabulous, and it is. It's an online version of Scrabble, and it's main Poorhouse selling-point is that it is available as a Facebook application. So whilst seeing that "XX is on the toilet" you can also batter them at what is probably the world's most famous word game. In fact, for many, it's basically the reason Facebook is actually worth logging on to.

Unfortunately, the Scrabulous guys are not the same as the Scrabble guys, and a nice (legal) fight has been going on for a while whilst the Scrabble owners try and remove the Scrabulous facebook application as breach of intellectual property rights. Not too sure why the actual Scrabulous.com website is immune here, but unless it's just the reporting it seems that it's the Facebook application that's the main point of contention.

But in news set to break millions of hearts, it seems at last it's gone. There was a temporary blip a bit ago, so who knows, it may be back - but the Poorhouse's feeling is that that's the end.  So far it seems you can still play it as a seperate, non-Facebook application, but most of us haven't got time to click on TWO websites a day, right?

Worst news ever!

Apparently it is still available for India's internet users, but unless you're in a position to set up an Indian web proxy, and persuade all your FB friends to do likewise, that's not greatly helpful for us UK peeps. There is an official licensed Scrabble application now created by Electronic Arts, but general consensus it is either terrible, or unusable, or both. Certainly presenting the delightful ads that pop up over the main board so you can't actually click on it are something of an intense irritation.

Luckily, and of course not shadily at all, the Scrabulous developers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla recently released a brand new never seen before Facebook app - Wordscraper. The rules, erm, there is a board, some letter tiles, one takes it in turn to lay down the tiles to try and form words taken from the Scrabble dictionary. This might sound a little familiar...but the reason it's different, the Poorhouse guesses, is that one makes their own board. So you can decide where to put double letter squares, or even quad-word multipliers, or it will do it randomly for you. You also must choose how many of each letter tiles there are, and what they're worth. It's still a bit of a cheeky imitation mind, even if the board squares are now circles. But overall, good.

Of course any sane person would set the game up like the original Scrabble (tm). It's a bit of a hassle but once you've done it once you can copy it for new games without the faffing. In fact, after you've installed Wordscraper onto your Facebook, maybe if you start it by clicking this link it will automatically start as per the normal scrabble rules. It works for the Poorhouse anyhow, assuming he input the letter values/frequencies right in the first place.

The only feature that may be missing is the absence of the wonder that is the blank tiles. Now these are rather essential to a Scrab-fan's arsenal, let's hope one day soon they're added in, but for now it might be better than nothing.


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