Scrabble for iPad

Scrabble lends itself well to the iPad as this fully-featured implementation demonstrates. There are probably as many implementations of Scrabble as there are computing platforms. Indeed, the details of such implementations have been the subject of numerous academic papers. But this iPad version is set apart from many others by its completeness and by how the iPad's touch screen interface lends itself well to the game.

As you might expect, Scrabble offers the three classic play modes: solo (playing in single player or multiplayer against AI players controlled by the device), network play or "pass and play". It also offers a "party play" mode. If all opponents have iPhones, then each player may use their iPhone for their tile rack, with the iPad in the centre to display the game board. When playing against the device, you can select between "Easy", "Medium" and "Hard" levels of play. In reality, "Medium" will be well matched to many players who are "seasoned players" without being pros. Aspiring pros may have wished for a little more gradience between the "Medium" and "Hard" levels.

If you're from the US or UK, then you may be used to playing Scrabble in what is termed "Classic" mode in which each player takes it in turn to play a word from the tiles in their own individual rack until the letters run out. But in fact, the game can be played in a number of different ways. One of five end-of-game targets are available: in addition to Classic mode, the game may be limited to a certain number of points or rounds. And notably, the game may be played in "Duplicate" mode, popular in countries such as France, in which there is only a single shared rack. Each player proposes a word from the common rack, and the most highly scoring word is that which remains on the board.

Game play is generally smooth: the iPad's touch screen lends itself well to Scrabble, allowing the player to drag tiles to and from their rack and arrange them on the board in a very natural manner. During play, a Dictionary is always available, allowing you to check the validity of individual words, but without giving hints of words the player has not thought of. A few other bells and whistles are also included, such as a "Best word" feature that will after each turn show you the best word that you could have had with the letters available.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that Scrabble will be a handy addition for language learners: as well as English, the game is playable in German, Spanish, French and Italian.

All in all, this is a slick and fully implemented version of the classic Scrabble game that makes good use of the iPad's interface. A must for Scrabble lovers and language learners.

A Scrabble session mid game against the device.
Board game
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