Apropos of nothing: Russian Scrabble

When I was in college, I took Russian. In third-semester, our instructor
decided that we’d try Russian Scrabble, just for fun.

Russian has 33 letters (compared to our 26) and an entirely different
distribution. So the tiles are given points based on their frequency. There
are 6 different “rare” tiles in Russian worth 10 points each, like our Q and Z,
and several more that are rare enough to be worth 8 points.

There were 8 of us in the class, and we split into 4 teams of 2. We drew
letters and prepared to play.

I should note: You don’t know Scrabble hell until you’ve got a rack holding a
“shch,” a “ya,” and an “ui.” (this is probably funnier if you hear it out

We all stared at our racks. For a very long time. Someone asked if we could
use a dictionary. He said sure.

Eventually, I won the game… by being the only person who could make any word
whatsoever. I made a three-letter word that meant “whose” (feminine gender).
(I did get the double-word value for starting on the center square.)
It took me twenty minutes to come up with it.

Oddly enough, we never tried Scrabble in class again.

4 thoughts on “Apropos of nothing: Russian Scrabble

  1. That’s hilarious! When I saw the title of this post, it made me wonder if Russian Scrabble is anything like Russian Roulette. My thought is that they might be related in that I can see how Russian Scrabble might induce one to try to shoot oneself in the head. 🙂


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