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9 Facts About Scrabble

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What is an eight-letter word that is also a great game for those who think they have an extended vocabulary? The answer is Scrabble and April 13 is the day to celebrate the board game that gets you thinking and spelling.

Here are nine fast facts about Scrabble.

1.       Inventor Alfred Mosher Butts first got the idea for the word game in 1930, a year before he was laid off from his job as an architect.

2.       National Scrabble Day is on April 13.  Butts was born on April 13, 1899. 

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3.       Scrabble officially went into mass production in 1948, but didn’t become popular with American families until 1952, when legend states Macy’s started to sell it.

4.       The Highest Word Score on record with the North American Scrabble Players Association was played by Karl Khoshnaw during a tournament on April 11, 1982.  The word was: CAZIQUES.  It was 392 points.  It is the plural of cazique, a type of birth in South America.

5.       There are 101 “official” two letter words recognized by Hasbro for Scrabble play.

READ THE OFFICIAL LIST OF TWO & THREE LETTER WORDS

6.       According to Merriam Webster, there are 136 words without vowels.

7.       The 2016 North American SCRABBLE Championship will be held August 6 – 10 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

8.       There are 187,179 words available for play in a game of Scrabble.

9.       The definition of the word scrabble is to move the hands or feet in an awkward and hurried way in order to find or do something.

New spin on classic Monopoly game could end game faster

This video includes clips from Monopoly World Championships, Hasbro and CreditCards.com.

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Paper money — that's what Hasbro has stripped from the latest edition of its classic Monopoly board game.

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The banker has also been replaced with a small ATM-like contraption. In place of the Monopoly currency, players will use debit cards to make purchases and pay fees.

Removing the paper money may mean players will lose fewer parts, but what about the whole money-managing lesson? Or was the lesson supposed to be something about capitalism? Either way, removing those dollar bills will undoubtedly change the way the game is played.

Just like how using a credit card in real life has been linked to overspending, for psychological reasons, this new "Ultimate Banking" edition of Monopoly could make more players go bankrupt a lot faster.

But that might also make the game end sooner, which many agree could be really nice.

Hasbro's "Ultimate Banking" Monopoly edition will be in stores this fall.

See if you can get Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar in this new game

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The Oscars are Feb. 28, and this year marks the sixth time Leonardo DiCaprio has been nominated for Actor in a Leading Role.

London-based animation studio The Line decided to have fun with this fact by creating "Leo's Red Carpet Rampage," an 8-bit game designed by artist Max van der Merwe.

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Sam Taylor and Bjorn-Erik Aschim came up with the concept of the arcade-style game, which features DiCaprio running down a red carpet chasing an Oscar.

He battles paparazzi and other obstacles to get the industry's highest award.

But Leo isn't just jumping over paparazzi. Lady Gaga makes a walk down the red carpet, too.

Leo faces the other Oscar nominees for Actor in a Leading Role as well.

Walking the red carpet are Eddie Redmayne as Einar Wegener in "The Danish Girl," Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo in "Trumbo," Matt Damon as Mark Watney in "The Martian" and Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs in the movie of the same name.

Along the way, you can get Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG Awards and other industry awards.

There are also mini-games that poke fun at memorable Leo moments, like the famous car-and-quaaludes scene in "The Wolf of Wall Street."

One mini-game pokes fun at the lack of Oscars diversity. Players have to "find the black nominee."

Watch a trailer of the game below, and play it for yourself here.

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Check and mate: Facebook Messenger has a secret

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Do you like chess? Do you like Facebook? Now you can combine the two likes in your life. 

According to The Verge, there's a chess game in Facebook chat. 

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And it works.

To start a game, log into messenger, either on your mobile device or on your laptop, find a friend who wants to take you on, and then type @fbchess play to start your game.

The person who initiates the game is on the white side, and gets the first move. 

To move your pieces, type @fbchess then a space then a command like P (for pawn) e (for a column) and 4 (for a row). It would look like @fbchess Pe4. 

Then you wait for your opponent to move.

If you make a mistake or illegal move, Facebook will warn you. 

Don't worry if you're not a chess expert, there's a help function, just type @fbchess help.

Other handy commands: @fbchess resign to end a match, and if you don't want to go first just type @fbchess play black.

Donald Rumsfeld helped design a Churchill-themed solitaire app

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Want to make sure your solitaire app stands out from the glut of mobile card games? Step one: Tie it to a famous historical figure like Winston Churchill.  Step two: Enlist former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as your lead designer.

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Rumsfeld is an avid fan of a particular variant of solitaire Churchill supposedly played during the war, and the retired politician teamed up with a D.C. design firm and an Indiana coder to preserve the game for digital posterity. 

The result is "Churchill Solitaire," which The Wall Street Journal dubs "likely the only video game developed by an 83-year-old man using a Dictaphone to record memos for the programmers." 

The Journal's in-depth piece on the creation of "Churchill Solitaire" is full of amazing anecdotes from Rumsfeld's brush with game design: his frustration with bug testing, his outrage when a server wipe erases his progress, his disdain for the cowardly undo button.

But now that Rumsfeld's worked through the teething pains, we're hoping he sticks with his new career as a game designer. Imagine a Rumsfeld-made management sim set in the Pentagon, for example. Or a hidden-object game about WMDs in Iraq.

"Churchill Solitaire" is available now on the Apple App Store and is free to download; the game sells levels and uses of the hint or undo buttons to get revenue. Rumsfeld says he's going to donate his share of the proceeds to charity.

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