The FreeBSD 'zine

May 2000 : Games Review

XScrabble Review
by Michelle Stokes <[email protected]>

For this month I decided to have a look at XScrabble and see how it performs and so far it is looking pretty good.

First of all you have to decide if you're going to play against one or more people on your network, against the computer or just by yourself.

It is just the same as playing on a scrabble board, you can use the options to show the letter scores and the colour code for the board (since it's not big enough to write in all the double letter scores and so on). There is also an option for a chat window so you can "talk" to the others playing against you. This is handy as it has a ping function - in case you need to get someone's attention.

I have a few complaints against XScrabble though (although these maybe because I'm just not a good scrabble player). There were quite a few common words that were not recognised by the dictionary in XScrabble and consequently my turn was forfeit for using a word it didn't know. However when it came to the computer's turn, it was quite happy to use some really obscure words - I'm sure it made most of them up!

If you are wanting to play against the computer it doesn't really have a beginner mode, the easiest level was way beyond my capabilities. On the (so called) easy level, the computer rarely scored less than 35 points every go and quite often a lot more than that.

I think XScrabble (for players of my level of expertise - beginner) is more fun when playing against others on the network rather than against the computer - you don't get thrashed as much.

Just a quick note before I finish, for those wanting to play XScrabble over a network, other players will need to type in the following, in order to join up with the game:

  xhost local:[the user name of the first player]

XScrabble is included in the FreeBSD Ports collection. You'll be able to find the package on CD 1 of the FreeBSD 3.4-RELEASE CD set . For more information on installing FreeBSD ports read the Installing Applications section of the handbook.

Enjoy your XScrabble.

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