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144 of 144 found the following review helpful:
I'm hooked.Mar 18, 2001
The game is enjoyable. The sculpted case is a pleasure to hold. The computer's word list is vast, but disallows obscene words. New AAA batteries last for months. I'm hooked on the game, and believe I've gotten more than my money's worth. But potential buyers should know the following;
When the computer player has two blank tiles, it can take more than 40 minutes to come up with a word.
Certain racks of letters appear again and again in the same letter order. This suggests a lack of true randomness.
There seems to be a "vowel shortage" in the game. I was getting tired of seeing the one-of-a-kind letters Q, X, Z, K, and J showing up so often, so I ran two two-player games to quantify the effect. I exchanged the entire letter rack for each turn. Rare letters should have come up 5% of the time, but they appeared 14%. Vowels, including Y, should have come up 42%, but they only appeared 21%.
When exchanging an entire rack of consonants, it is annoyingly common to have Z's, Q's, etc. reappearing instantly.
All in all, Scrabble Express is a great toy to play with while traveling or listening to the radio. If the manufacturer is reading this, please include a way to access the machine's word list in future versions. A feature like that would be helpful in normal Scrabble games.
151 of 152 found the following review helpful:
A fun diversion, with some weaknessesDec 03, 2000
By J. Cowling
I'd been hoping that with the recent influx of new electronic hand-held games on the market, that Hasbro would release a Scrabble game. Naturally, when they did, I was the first on my block to pick one up.
While an entertaining diversion -- and it is definitely entertaining -- the game has some weaknesses. The AI cheats, and obviously. When the game is set on IQ level 1 (the lowest), the human player will be given an assortment of easy-to-play letters, with ample vowels and regular blanks. At the highest level (IQ 9), the human player will get very few vowels and will almost never see a blank. This isn't an increase in the machine's playing skill, but rather a handicap for the player -- although the computer's vocabulary and playing skill is better at higher levels, I would have preferred a better AI system rather than the arbitrary handicap. The menus are a little hard to navigate, too.
The game's 9x9 board (as opposed to Scrabble's 15x15 board) makes it necessary to learn new strategies. Boards are often filled with words very early in the game, and play will seem much more cramped than in a traditional game of Scrabble. This doesn't detract at all from the fun, and helps build strategic thinking for the real game.
At the lowest level, Scrabble Express is a great game for kids. At the toughest level, the machine is hard to beat, even for seasoned veterans such as myself.
The machine has four games: in addition to the 8-turn basic game (Scrabble Express), there is also a shortened 5-turn game, a "racing game" where players try to beat the clock to get the best words, and a "one liner" game where each player tries to make the best score using a single rack of tiles on a field of two crossed words.
All games (except for the racing game) are playable with two players. And what's best is that the game comes pre-loaded with the 3 AAA batteries needed to run the machine.
If you're looking for serious computer Scrabble, I have to recommend the computer game (also by Hasbro) but Scrabble Express is an excellent diversion and learning tool, with a few important weaknesses.
45 of 45 found the following review helpful:
A fun time wasterNov 15, 2000
Scrabble Express is good. It is very easy to use, and it recognized 99.5% of the words I've entered. The LCD game board display is beautiful, and the case is sturdy and artfully sculpted. My only complaint is the rack of letters given on the first turn--it seems odd to regularly get a duo of Z,X, Q, or J. When you use a turn to exchange letters, they often come back to the rack. This leads me to believe the consonants and vowels don't come randomly. I still enjoy the game, and it succeeded in being addictive at 1:30 AM.
51 of 54 found the following review helpful:
Great fun!Sep 27, 2000
By G. Rice
I am a scrabble addict and am always looking for someone to play. Now I have someone with me always. Yeah, there are pc versions and even one for the PlayStation - but this is hand held and I can take it with me. Waiting in line will never be boring again. The grid is smaller (9x9) but the challenge is still there and it is great practice for real human games. It provides a several differet types of games and levels of play for more interest. Great fun!
21 of 21 found the following review helpful:
I am addicted to this game!May 09, 2001
I really love playing it, and I keep picking it up. It does have its downsides, as other reviewers have noted. I pretty much only play the five turn game, as the Scrabble "Express" takes way too long coming up with words. I have worked my way up to the highest level of play, and I am able to beat it sometimes. My main complaint is the number of nonsense words and words without vowels used by the computer. The most frequent is "CWM"...we are also big fans of "SH," "MM" "HM"....etc. I try all sorts of nonsense words when I play just figuring that it might accept them. You start to learn the words after you play a lot. As other reviewers have stated, the uncommon letters to come up a lot on the higher levels. I guess I'm trying to agree that this game is not perfect, but its a whole lot of fun. I got it on sale, so I feel even better about it!
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