MODLINSEQ page 7 — comments — §15

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§15-1. The reader may note a resemblance between this game and the widely-played Scrabble. However, there are numerous and significant differences.

MODLINSEQ tiles have numbers and form modular-linear sequences, while Scrabble tiles have letters and form words.

All MODLINSEQ tiles are equivalent in scoring, while Scrabble tiles have point values that vary according what letter they contain. Letters that are difficult to use (English examples J, Q, X, Z) are supplied in smaller quantity, and earn more points, than letters that are easy to use (A, E, I, O). By contrast in MODLINSEQ, all numbers less than the modulus are supplied in equal quantity, and are equally easy to use.

MODLINSEQ's grid is hexagonal, while Scrabble's is rectangular.

A MODLINSEQ sequence is equally valid whether reckoned forwards or backwards, while in Scrabble reversing the letters in a word will in most cases no longer give a word. For example "strengths" is a word, while "shtgnerts" is not.

In MODLINSEQ, every sequence is extensible if no other sequence obstructs it, and if the edge of the board has not been reached. Sometimes in Scrabble, a particular word is not extensible because there simply fails to exist any longer word of which it is a part.

By default, a MODLINSEQ board has no cells that give a bonus (or penalty) in scoring, while Scrabble boards have cells that award extra points when used.

To become a champion, a Scrabble player must memorize thousands of words, many of which have little usefulness outside the game. In MODLINSEQ no such memorization is required.

"Official" Scrabble dictionaries differ on what words are deemed acceptable, with reasonable people often disagreeing on what criteria should be applied. Too, the word list will change over time as the language evolves. In MODLINSEQ, the criterion for a legitimate sequence is concise, and does not change unless players agree to adopt a variant.

Sometimes a Scrabble player installs a sequence of tiles that another player suspects to be a phoney (which has become the standard term for an invalid word). If a doubtful opponent issues a challenge, significant time might be consumed while the matter is resolved by consulting word lists or other means. If the word is indeed phoney, the player who installed it is penalized. If the word turns out to be good, then under some rules the accuser is penalized. Hence there is room for bluffing, in other words to intentionally play a phoney word that might pass for legitimate, hoping that nobody will risk challenging it.

On the other hand, MODLINSEQ has little room for bluff because verifying a sequence is quick and easy.

Because the point of Scrabble is to form words, different editions are required for different languages. If a group of players are not all fluent in the same language, it is almost impossible for them to play Scrabble together. However, MODLINSEQ still works if everyone can do simple addition and subtraction with Arabic numerals. Only the rules need translation.

Some languages, such as Chinese, do not use any alphabet, making it difficult to render a word as a sequence of characters printed on tiles. Beyond that, not all languages that use an alphabet use the same one, as illustrated by Dutch, Russian, and Greek. Even when two languages use the same alphabet, their words might use different distributions of letters. For instance, H is rare in Romanian, but common in French. This affects how many tiles of each letter should be included in the equipment, and the point value of each letter.

Many languages use diacritical marks on their letters, which introduces further complication. For instance, here are three plausible options for German Ü:

Unsurprising is that English, which almost never uses diacritical marks except in loanwords, is the language in which Scrabble was developed.

It follows that MODLINSEQ, which bypasses these problems, is better suited to international use than Scrabble.

§15-2. There may well be an addressing scheme more elegant or practical than the letter-and-number system proposed in §1-2. Choices are limited, however, if the following constraint is maintained: when a board of one size and shape is a subset of a board of a different size or shape, corresponding cells must have the same addresses.