Thursday, November 12, 2009

Playing Quackle: the best within-an-inch-of-your-life beating you'll ever get

Michael is an attorney working primarily with victims of domestic violence. He never condones people being beaten. I don't either - except when the object administering the beatings is inanimate, impersonal, and causing no physical pain to its victim. Hello, Quackle, my abusive friend!

Our friend Dan recently mentioned that he and his wife have been playing Quackle. I have used Quackle in the retrospective version - lost a game, gonna enter it in to see what I could have done better, esp. with games I feel like I lost narrowly - but decided today to play Quackle and do what Dan had mentioned with it - decide what I'm going to play and then see what it would tell me to play afterwards. I'm already feeling like I'm learning a bunch of cwap, and I've only played two games! Here's what Quackle has taught me thus far:

1. Look at your leave closely. There are a lot of rack-balancing principles out there that can conflict at times, and two that did for me just now are the idea of getting rid of the Q immediately and the idea of leaving as few high-pointed (3 or above) tiles on your rack as you can after a play. With a rack like AEQMTW, am I supposed to get rid of the Q first, or get the MW off my rack and hope for a nice play with a good (but Q-ful) leave? I wanted to be very Q-ful with my treatment of the Q. Quackle liked the leave with the fewer high pointed tiles - AEQT - better than the Q-less leave - MW - that I could have ostensibly had.

2. You might have a bingo. No, really. Look again. I had a rack of ELOPRNS - thought: so close but so far away - BUT there was an open A. Looks promising, and even though I haven't studied it yet, I should have been able to find it - PERSONAL.

3. Better word knowledge will kick your a**, like, every time. I flash back to what our friend Pete said to me once - "The biggest thing for you two right now is word knowledge. The more words you learn, the more strategies become available to you." This is true. Quackle knows all the words in the dictionary, and it very effectively kicks my butt all the way to Florida every time (no, it doesn't. That might actually be pleasant if it did. It's getting coooooold here!!!!)

4. Sometimes I just don't understand Quackle. What good is a leave of Q? after a 28-point play in the middle of a game that opens up a triple?!!?!? Ability to bingo after THAT?! okay, so there are 3 Us left - but there are a heck of a lot of other tiles out there, too, and nobody says I'm gonna get a U! Yes, I know, there are U-less Q bingos, but still - likelihood? Please, enlighten me if you understand, because I'd love to figure this out. (may be tough without the exact game in front of you, though, I know). NOTE: Quackle just bingoed off my open hook to a triple after I followed its advice. And my rack is now DIIQRT?. Stupid self-serving computer program. :-P

Do you play Quackle? What do you get out of it? I tend to get a thorough beating, but (sorry, Michael!) the insights along the way kinda make it worth it.