An Endless Scrabble

by | Dec 17, 2022 | Artwork #2: Appropriate


  • Minimum of one player
  • No player maximum
  • A modified digital version of the game Scrabble that could conceivably be played for an infinite (or at least incredibly long) amount of time



  • Players take turns playing Scrabble as normal
  • The game never ends
  • The victor is the last person playing with the highest score
  • No turn timer
  • Individuals players can take a long a turn as they want


Artist’s Statement:

My initial point of inspiration for this game came not from another existing piece of art from the Dada Movement or otherwise, but instead from a game design exercise undertaken in the second semester of my freshman year at Northeastern University. The first assignment I encountered in Professor Christopher Barney’s “Foundation of Game Design” course—or at least in the online experience I was treated to at the time—involved iterating upon one of the most basic physical multiplayer game ever: tic-tac-toe. This was my first experience with the core principle of recursive design, as we were tasked with adding additional rules to tic-tac-toe and thoroughly playtesting after each change. After a few slight changes, I was possessed with the idea of scaling the grid far beyond a simple 3×3, and accompanying this change the introduction of additional players in the forms of more unique shapes: triangle, star, hexagon, checkmark, hashtag, even pentagram—the possibilities are endless. This scaling would of course have to be accompanied by additional length requirements in what would constitute a full “tic-tac-toe”; unfortunately, upon playtesting, this iteration functioned much more as an endurance test than one of strategy and cunning. It was thus that when tasked with the opportunity of appropriating an existing game to create a new experience, I thought of a recent game of online scrabble played—quite foolishly—without the instatement of a turn timer; which understandably resulted in the incredible elongation of what should have otherwise been a brief game. And so I was given my concept, and the execution was fairly simple: bring together a group of friends, modify an online game of scrabble to posses the possibility of continuing ad infinitum, and see how long we lasted. The results can be seen in the photos below. I succeeded in gathering six friends—including myself—and over the course of five hours we lost players until only three of us remained, who elected to all end the game simultaneously. Over the course of these five hours each of our turns became progressively longer as the board become more cluttered and points became harder to come by. This resulted in the constant discovery of incredibly rare words containing some of the higher value consonants. This phenomenon can be seen in “xis” “dioxide” “djinny” “poi” and “zoarial.” Additionally, we discovered that the words were created in a uniquely procedural nature as over the course of multiple hours players managed to find ways to add one or two letters to a preexisting word. The 104 point “dolesome” is a fantastic example of this, as it started as “dol” into “dole” to “doles” which progressed all the way to “dolesome.” Myself and my friends had an incredible time playing this new and unique word-hunting experience; for despite it lasting into the wee hours of the night, our desire to be the last one standing—which also transformed into a level of dogged camaraderie—kept us going. Although, I despite any of ours are keen to repeat the experience any time soon.



State of the final board after five plus hours of play with a dwindling group of six players.


Final winner—myself—and the longest word.