Like Shawn I’m a big fan of the electronic games that have come out that are based on a board game we grew up with. One of my favorite examples is Scrabble! I’ve always loved this game and nowadays there are many online alternatives for playing it.
The first online game I found 10 years ago was one called Literati by Yahoo Games. Same board set up, with your double word squares, and your triple letter squares. You could play with just one other person, or even have games of multiple players going. Each player would play at their own pace and make their move the next time they logged in. Alternatively, you could join a live game where it was timed and all players played online right then and there.
Another online Scrabble-like game is one of my current favorites: Lexulous! It was once called Scrabbulous, and it is available as a Facebook application. Not only can you play games with the people in your “friends” list, but other Lexulous users around the world are available to you as well. One of my favorite things to do is play Lexulous Blitz, which is a 4 minute timed game that you play with multiple players in which all players try to put their words down to make the most possible points before those 4 minutes run out. No time to think, just put a word, ANY word down!
A few individual motivators that come into play for Scrabble include those of challenge and uncertain outcome. The goal of the game is to be the one and only winner, meaning you have created the words that garnered you the most points out of all players. Vocabulary skills, and strategy in terms of placement of your words are key here. Also, the fact that the outcome is uncertain provides an even bigger challenge. No matter how awesome you are with vocab, it is the uncertainty of the letters you draw that could cause you to, for example, end up with all vowels or something and then you are up a creek.
Some interpersonal motivators also draw players to play this game, including cooperation, competition, and recognition. In terms of recognition, online versions like Lexulous offer a player and their track record to be published for all to see. If you click on a player’s profile, you can see how many games they have won, what their best word was and how many points it gave them, etc. Sometimes it’s just that recognition motivator that will prompt someone to say hey, I want to play Lexulous today to increase my published word score!
Now if you’ll excuse me I must log into Facebook and make my next Lexulous moves.