scribble: Shall we play a game?

Not every game I enjoy has to include smacking ASCII zombies with shovels. I enjoy plenty of much simpler, much less violent games of completely different styles.

I think scribble, for example, is a marvelous text-based rendition of the classic Scrabble format.


I’ll let you read through Debian’s introduction to the game if you don’t know the rules. (If there’s a home page somewhere, I haven’t been able to find it.) In short, arranging letters on the board scores you points, which can be magnified by the squares they occupy. Score more points than your opponent by the end of the game, and you can claim bragging rights.

Ordinarily I would look down on games such as this in the computer format, because computers have a distinct advantage over my spongy pink organic brain, by virtue of speed and access to legitimate words.

But scribble manages to play quickly and without drawing in too many esoteric, eccentric words, and making me feel inferior. Bonus points for propping up the human’s ego. 😈

scribble has no animation effects, and will scroll to update the board at each turn. Enter words through yx coordinates, followed directly by the letter a or d (for across or down), and then a space and the word you want to use.

scribble will double-check your work, check if you feed it a word it doesn’t know, then add your play to the board before placing its own. And the game continues until a winner is selected.

If you need cues on square multipliers or letter values, enter “help” and scribble will guide you along.

I know this format follows the gnuchess style of play, and I know I have complained about that repeatedly in the past, but scribble seems much more forgiving and able to accommodate newcomers. It doesn’t require any more knowledge of notation than yx coordinates and proper spelling, and shows its move without prompting.

The ultimate difference being, scribble seems to know it’s a console program, while gnuchess and its affiliates could care less. 😐

scribble succeeds just because it knows its limitations and doesn’t hassle you, as the user, in order to participate. It doesn’t have color and it isn’t really animated, but there’s something to be learned there — how to make a good game in even the most primitive way, and still come up with something fun. 😀


7 thoughts on “scribble: Shall we play a game?

      1. Ander GM

        apt-cache rdepends libncursesw5 libncurses5 | egrep -v ‘(Reverse|*ncurses)’ | sort | less

        A nice list to continue with 🙂

  1. Jon Doe

    The following produces a clickable link list. Replace wheezy with the Debian version you use or remove it to do a search request:
    for package in `apt-cache rdepends libncursesw5 libncurses5 | egrep -v ‘(Reverse|*ncurses)’ | uniq|sort `;do echo ‘‘$package’‘ >>package-list.html;done

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