Thursday, October 17, 2013

Do You Ruzzle?

Dear Readers:

Can't blog anymore, because I'm completely and utterly addicted to Ruzzle.

I'd explain more, but I have another round to play and I'm developing a weird kind of carpal tunnel that's only in my right pointer finger and someone named "MonoBrow123" just requested a game, so as you can see I have a lot on my plate.


Atomic Auntie

Seriously, have you played this game yet?  Ruzzle is this great app for smartphones and notepads (I have it on my iPad, which is the best invention ever in the history of the world but that's another post altogether).  It's kind of like Boggle and Scrabble combined, and there are tens of thousands of other players online at any given time and it's just a big old word party.  Finally, a festival for geeks!  (Aside from Comic Con, of course.)
I've always been a logophile (for you language haters, that's a lover of words/word buff).  Taught myself to read at age four, and haven't stopped since.  I devour books, usually two or three a week.  My tastes vary widely, and I go through phases with my reading -- I'm currently into historical fiction, particularly Civil War stuff and anything related to slavery or Native Americans.  Why?  Dunno.  I also love memoirs, mass-market stuff and some so-called "chick lit."

I'm a former spelling bee wizard, going all the way back to 4th grade (but I was one of those kids who kept it up through 8th grade and went to the county spelling bee and did I mention that I got beat up occasionally and have absolutely no idea why?).  So in essence, words are kind of my thing.

When I first heard about Ruzzle, I thought, "Huh, whatever, another word game."  I downloaded it only so I could play my online buddies who told me about it.  Once.  Because I don't play GAMES on my iPad.  My precious iPad is for important online activities and such.  Well, except for that brief obsession with Disney Fairies Fashion Boutique but that was because one of the niecelets made me play it and hey, did you know you could level up faster if you "liked" other players' boutiques and you get three "likes" a day and there are bonus points if you dress a mannequin from head to toe in winter attire?
Don't ask.
So I guess there's sort of a precedent, if you will, of me being ... interested in gaming.  (Just the fact that I'm using "game" as a verb now is kind of rocking my world at this very moment.)  But I was blissfully unaware of this fact when I launched the Ruzzle app and played my first round, feeling a little smug because hey, I'm a wordsmith, just ask anyone who's ever been on the receiving end of my grammar police baton.
And I promptly got my ass kicked.
You can guess what happened next.  One word: Rematch.  And again.  And again and again and again, until I got this thing figured out.
A Ruzzle match is comprised of three two-minute rounds.  You can stop between rounds for as long as you'd like, but once you're playing a round, there's no pausing.  Time-out?  Uh-uh.  Which is frustrating when you get a good board, and you see a really great long word just as the time expires.
I started like most Ruzzle players, finding mainly two- and three-letter words, gradually moving my way up to seven letters or more.  There are "bonus" letters with a Scrabble-style double or triple letter/word score, which makes focusing on those areas of the board important.  You get to see the words your opponent found after each round, which leads to either a sense of smugness or humility, depending on your own results.  Plurals (i.e. "adding an 'S' to everything") become your friends.
I've learned that you can't judge a Ruzzler by his/her username.  "JuicyLips69" is most likely freakishly smart, and will come up with ZOONOTIC and HOTELIERS while you're plugging away with ZOO and HOTEL and feeling great because you found SMILES.  On the other hand, it's quite possible that you'll put "WordsAreMyLife" to complete and utter shame.

So, how addicted am I?  Let's see.  I've played (on more than occasion) for 6 hours straight.  I've stayed up so late at night that there barely seems to be a point in going to bed before getting up for work.  I've lost 3 or 4 pounds from not snacking in the evenings (because food would just get in the way), which is not something that has spontaneously happened to me, in the history of ever.  And I can't use a decently-sized word in casual conversation without speculating on its Ruzzle value.

Is there therapy for this?  There might be, but if there's a group I'm thinking it would quickly devolve into a great big Ruzzle fest and defeat the whole purpose.

Wanna play?  My username is (surprise!) atomicauntie.

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