Ask the Expert: BoggleFest

3 Aug
Wordplay at BoggleFest 2k8.

Wordplay at BoggleFest 2k8.

Ask the Expert is a new series where I interview friends and others who are experts in a particular party concept.

To kick off the series, I’ve interviewed my friend Julia Smith, who created BoggleFest 2k8 for a wordsmithing roommate’s going away celebration.

Everybody’s Invited!: What was the inspiration for BoggleFest 2k8?

Julia Smith: The inspiration for BoggleFest 2k8 was sort of organic; my (now former) roommate Amee caught Boggle fever a couple of years ago while on a trip with her coworkers. I bought her a fancy set for her birthday that year, and it became an almost nightly ritual to play a few rounds before bed. When she decided to leave for law school, her brother, Neel, and I decided that instead of a noisy bon voyage bash, we would combine some of her favorite things—brunch and Bogs—into a low-key “see you later” gathering. The mimosas made it sweet, but the fierce cube-rattling competition ensured that no one got overly sentimental.

EI!: How was Boggle represented in the decor?

JS: We decided we should put Boggle letters all over the walls, spelling out well wishes. Neel managed to find photosets on Flickr devoted to the game, so we printed a bunch out, but you could also make these.

EI!: Do you have any tips for someone dealing with an overly-aggressive Boggle opponent?

JS: As a matter of fact, our third roommate at the time got pretty feisty. He was big on Merriam-Webster consultations, which slowed things down. My tips: always discuss rules at the beginning to make sure you’re on the same page, and for a party like this, perhaps gear the invite list toward the competitive (or not-so-competitive) spirit of the honoree. If someone is still overly aggressive, let them have the point, take another sip of mimosa, and play when they’re not around next time.

EI!: Do you think there is any correlation between strong Boggle skills and feelings of personal fulfillment? What about Boggle skills and nerdiness?

JS: D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y.

EI!: Did you know that “inconsequentially,” “quadricentennials,” and “sesquicentennials” are all words that can be formed with a standard 16 cube Boggle set (those are 17-letter words, but “Qu” is a single cube)? Does that boggle your mind?

JS: It does! Amee tells me that the biggest word she ever witnessed was one her coworker found: definitely.

EI!: What is your response to naysayers who argue that Boggle is really just the lazy person’s Scrabble?

JS: I’d put Scrabble on the “high” end of a continuum in terms of time commitment; Upwords (a family favorite) in the middle; and Boggle on the shorter end. But I don’t think that a short minimum time commitment equals a lazy choice; Boggle can take up a whole rowdy evening or “fest” because it’s so addictive.  As Neel says, 3/4 of Scrabble is watching someone else think, which is not fun at all.

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One Response to “Ask the Expert: BoggleFest”

  1. jadynmom August 3, 2009 at 6:34 pm #

    To expand on Julia’s point about the competitive or non-competitive nature of invitees… and for an amusing glimpse into the dynamic between your married friends, I would suggest splitting up couples and putting them on opposing teams when engaging in activities of this nature. Or, if playing solo, making sure that marrieds play against each other. Doing so tends to prove most amusing! 😉

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