Tag Archives: crapscrabble

CrapScrabble (UPDATED! Now with more gravy!)

My friend, Dr. Pants, just pointed out that I’ve never been on TableTop before, and that’s true, but it’s also true that the games I’m really good at are mostly made up by me and my family.  But that’s sort of nice because it makes it easier to win if I’m the only one who knows the rules.

My favorite game is Drunk-Catchphrase, which is just Catchphrase but…you know…drunk.  Basically, in each round of play you have to drink for different things.  Like a drink every time you think you’re explaining one word but really it’s a different word but you’ve been using it wrong your whole life.  The other team drinks if you’re using the wrong word but your partner also has been using the word wrong and guesses the answer.  Then the next round you have to drink every time you say the word “Um”.  Then you pass out.

CrapScrabble is my second favorite game and was invented by us when my parents came to visit.


Everyone grabs a handful from our giant bowl filled with hundred of old scrabble tiles (and stray dice and some runes for some reason).  Longest word you can bullshit wins.

On our last game of CrapScrabble my dad won with “rigortotoise.”  (The second stage of turtle death.)   He also came up with “ereptiledysfunction” (when your cyber lizard won’t reboot).

My father is dangerous at CrapScrabble.

Full rules of CrapScrabble:

  • Points are given for creativity, lying with confidence, and stealing tiles from other players without them noticing.
  • Points are subtracted for subpar puns, getting caught cheating, and not getting me a drink when you got one for yourself.  
  • If the cat lays down on your tiles they are no longer yours and you must play around the cat until she leaves.  
  • If the cat jumps on the table and scatters all the tiles you have to yell “JENGA” and grab up all the tiles near you.  This is your new hand.  
  • Tiles knocked to the floor are out of play (unless it’s your birthday or you’re under 12, in which case you get them all, but only if you get them from the cats before they knock them under the refrigerator).  
  • Tiles under the refrigerator stay out of play until we get a new refrigerator.  
  • Tiles may be exchanged for a new set, but only if the player does a funny dance first or tells an acceptably embarrassing story about themselves or someone else at the table.  
  • Rules are subject to random change at any moment as long as the new rule is accepted by the majority of the table.  
  • You can turn any tile over to make it a blank tile, but only if you first do that knife trick where you splay open your hand and quickly stab in between each finger.  If you succeed you get as many blank tiles as the room thinks you deserve.  If you fail we get to replace your tiles with our extra Q’s for however long it takes you to apply the tourniquet.
  • Cats can never be banned from the game, but a live ferret or a particularly angry bird may be used as a substitute cat, if medically necessary.

So, this post is my official challenge to TableTop.  Let’s do this thing.  (But you have to come here, because my cats get travelers’ diarrhea something fierce and you do not want that.)

UPDATED:  The brilliant KWadsworth just shared the best thing ever with us and now it’s going in the game too.  I’ll let her explain:

It is time to tell you about Surrealist Poker.

This was something that my college friends came up with (I’ll explain how shortly) where the twist in the rules doesn’t apply to the game play – rather, it applies to the BETTING. It’s just plain old, straight-up, five-card-draw poker; but, you can bet anything. And I mean literally ANYTHING.

What I mean is – the dealer for each hand deals out the first five cards like usual. The dealer also has a piece of paper and a pen. And the first person opens the bidding by stating what they are going to bid – and it can be ANYTHING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. One opening bid I remember was “three cacti”. The dealer writes that down. And then everyone else has a turn betting, and they too can bet ANYTHING. And the dealer writes all that down.

The fun comes in with the discussions people have negotiating the comparative worth of each bid – does “a herd of stampeding Mogwai” MATCH the current bid of “1953”, or does it RAISE the bid? Because if it raises the bid, everyone has to go around and either ante up with something else, or fold. And of course their new bid could end up unintentionally raising the bid again, which sets off another round of discussion, and often another round of bidding.

Once you’ve all settled on all the bidding and are finished, it’s time to show your hands – and the winning hand is ascertained the same way it is in regular poker. And then the dealer reads off the ENTIRE LIST of all of the random shit that’s been bid over the course of that hand before presenting it to the winner. Then you get another dealer, another piece of paper, and you start over.

This was PERFECT for a bunch of arty and nerdy college students who had more creativity and goofiness than they had money or shame. And I did actually win 1953 in a hand once.

(I said I was going to explain how this happened – it’s actually even more ridiculous; a couple in our ranks were apparently playing strip poker once, and played to the point where they were both sitting there naked – and yet, for reasons known only to God and the two of them, decided that instead of doing anything naked-sexy, they wanted to KEEP PLAYING POKER. But they had no more clothes to bet, so they started betting sex acts, carefully keeping track of their ongoing bets on lists. One of their roommates found one of the lists one day and asked about it, and that’s when the idea of keeping track of poker bets on a list got adopted for more general and less salacious purposes.)

Conclusion: This is the best thing ever and must be adopted immediately. I think we just found our lightning round, people.

In the event of a CrapScrabble tie (or whenever someone farts audibly) the challengers get a new handful of tiles,  and five minutes to create the best thing they can come up with (which will be hidden from their opponent) and they then move to Surrealist Poker-style betting on who has the better word/words/miniature Eiffel Tower made of tiles/whatever.  Then the opponents reveal and explain their creations, and the winner is rewarded with the paper list of prizes.  (The list should be pinned on their homemade CrapScrabble sash or crown, which they can wear to all future games and most black-tie events.

I want to play right now just so I can say “I see your sack of sloths, and I raise you the gravy. ALL THE GRAVY.”

That’s probably the most bad-ass thing anyone has ever said.