Why are the rules of the game important? There are several good reasons. Perhaps the most important reason is that the rules ensure that a game is played fairly for everyone.
If you've ever played a game with friends and family and spent an hour discussing "the rules," you've probably wondered who invented the rules and why they're important.
Play is part of nature. Animals play like humans. We make up games all day. These games have unwritten rules. However, the rules, written or not, define the nature of the games. When two or more people play the same game, they are considered equal if they both know and agree to the rules. But that is not always the case.
Take the game Blackjack (or "21") as an example.in the game of blackjackThe dealer has an unfair advantage over the player. The only way to win at blackjack is to score higher on your cards than the dealer without adding more than 21 points to his cards. If you and the dealer have 21 points, the game ends in a draw. If the dealer draws 17 points or more, they must "stand" (not draw another card). This is a safe position. Unless you have already reached 18 points or more, you must draw another card (which increases your chances of losing) or you must accept the loss. In other words, if the dealer has 17 and you have 16, you lose if you do nothing, but if he does nothing, he can still win. You have 1 chance to win and he has 2 chances to win, so to speak.
Blackjack is one of the few casino games where playersfasthas the same chance against the house. The art of playing blackjack is so sophisticated that you can do itAsk what the best odds are against the dealerand find an explanation. When people ask if casinos cheat their players, experienced players laugh. Casinos don't have to cheat. All the games are designed so that the casinos win more often than the players. Players bet on the offer that they will make up their losses with big wins. And sometimes big wins happen.
Formal rules are sometimes necessary
In professional and amateur sporting events, formal rules guarantee a "level playing field." This means that all game participants know how points are scored, why penalties are imposed, and what the goals of the games are. Referees, charged with ensuring that games are played fairly, are therefore guided by the formal rules. Although their decisions can sometimes be challenged, anyone who attends and watches the games can easily refer to the rules to see why the referees made their decisions.
One of the strategies sports teams use in competitive games is to trick their opponents into inadvertently breaking the rules of the game. Intentions do not matter if the formal rules of the game are applied blindly. All that matters is that someone stepped out of bounds, behaved unprofessionally, or took on a special role that was not assigned to them. The rules are clear on these matters and officials make sure they are followed.
For the same reason, you are expected to know and follow the rules when participating in a Scrabble tournament or other board game. Tournament officials say everyone is "playing the same game." They penalize or disqualify players who do not play according to the tournament rules.
The formal rules of the game allow games to award prizes or actual wagers to players. Professional athletes earn their salaries from ticket sales, sponsorships, and advertising related to their sporting events. Everyone who puts money into the game expects it to be played a certain way. Similarly, if you are participating in a smaller scale tournament, you should expect all other players to follow the rules. When you pay an entry fee that entitles you to stay in the tournament as long as possible and only play against players who abide by the rules.
Informal rules can make games more fun
Families and friends often agree to change or ignore certain rules in the games they play. That's fine as long as everyone understands how the rule changes affect the game and all players are "in" the change.
When younger players are just starting out in a game or just need to practice, many older and more experienced players apply the rules carelessly. It's no fun playing a game if you don't know the rules and you always lose.
You can also change the rules just to "mix things up" and play a slightly different game. But before you can change the rules, you need to understand the basic rules.
Following the rules ensures that everyone has a fair chance.
By "fair chance" we mean that the game is not aimed at someone who has an advantage in rulemaking. Of course, an experienced player has an advantage over a less experienced player. The rules can't do much to even out the differences in experience.
Likewise, in Scrabble, a player with a larger vocabulary has an advantage over a player with a smaller vocabulary. The advantage is being able to recognize more obscure but perfectly acceptable words. The game rules offer some protection to players who are unsure whether the word being played is appropriate. You can challenge the word and if the agreed dictionary does not confirm that the word is acceptable, then your challenge is successful.
Obviously, a failed challenge will result in the loss of the challenger's next move on the board. Sorry, but that's fair.
Best Practices When Playing Scrabble
Customize the dictionary that everyone will use for in-game challenges. It's a good idea to purchase a Scrabble dictionary and keep it with the board and game pieces.
Accept special exceptions for younger players with less experience. One way to do this is to create a set of waiver cards that can be given to younger or inexperienced players. Every time they challenge a word, they can turn in a free card to keep their next turn free if they lose the challenge. Another way to use waiver cards is to allow players to sacrifice one card per turn if their words are questioned, giving them a chance to try again. Of course, you can't do this in tournaments, but it will make the game less challenging for players who aren't quite ready to go toe-to-toe with their elders in full competition.
If at least one person has not played the game before or for a while, please refer to the basic rules before starting the game. Pay special attention to how the last round of the game ends, as many people are confused.
Anyone wishing to change or suspend a rule during the game must comment before the figures are drawn. Once the pieces are removed, the game begins. Assume that everyone is "all in" on the standard rules when no one has requested special rules.
Most importantly, if a player is frustrated with the rules, be patient. Do your best not to seem condescending. Don't teach anyone how to play the game. Keep the rulebook handy and allow less experienced players to refer to it during play. If you think this is too distracting or unfair, ask them to read the rules before the game or just when it's not their turn.
We all want to have fun together. Scrabble is a great group game because it is not only challenging, but we also learn from it. Find ways to help everyone relax and enjoy the experience.
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