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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lexulous Life Lessons: The old adages are true

"We learn by doing. There is no other way."
-John Holt

When I first started playing Lexulous I got my butt kicked daily. At one point my record was 1 win and 27 losses. However, I was paying attention and learning as I lost. I had noticed that the better players were making a lot of bingos and I wasn't making any. A bingo in Lexulous is using your 7 or 8 letters in a word combo to gain an extra 40 or 50 points in addition to the points you get for the word you already played. A player who can make 3 or 4 bingos in a game is likely to win that game. And does, most of the time.

"You can't teach an old dog new tricks"
-John Fitzherbert

If we are educated-or just paying attention-we learn what works and how to do things better. After a while, that knowledge can become a habit. As better ways of doing things come along it can become hard to adapt and change our strategy. This occurs especially if what we learned and applied in the first place seemed to work very well for a while. Even when we get evidence and results that the strategy that we thought was very good maybe isn't as good as we thought many of us stick to it. We make excuses and call it bad luck or circumstances and still stick to the now losing strategy. Dakota tribal wisdom states that when you discover that you are

"riding a dead horse",

The best strategy is to dismount.

As I watched the players make the bingos, it seemed they made a lot of words ending in "ing". I thought it was wise to try and play for those words and whenever I got an "I" and "N" or a "G" I kept it, even if I could not use it at first. Even if I could make decent scores with those letters, unless they were bingos I did not and just held those letters until I could make the bingo and place it. In the long run, I ended up making the bingo, but losing the game in trying to make the bingo. I made the one big score, while my opponent gradually got enough of a lead on me until it didn't matter either way.
As time went on, I started to save the "e" and the "r" to try and make words ending in "er" or "ers". Again, as I saved the letters, I began to always get behind and lose games I should have otherwise won. I noticed I was doing this, but in spite of that I still kept doing it. To this day, I am still doing it, although I am making an effort now to break that habit.

"Experience is the best teacher"
-Thomas Taylor

As I now have become a much better player I still from time to time try to use this losing strategy. I catch myself and sometimes I can stop myself, sometimes I don't. The point of the matter is to make the most points to win the game. If that means making a bingo, or many bingos, then so be it. If that means making two letter words that add up to a lot of points, then so be it. If that means (as it does in most cases) a combination of both based on the circumstances of the letters, then so be it.
The lesson for the day: Learn what works, but pay attention to the fact that you may have been mistaken and it doesn't actually work as well as you thought it does. The results will actually dictate the validity of your strategy.
You must adapt and continue to grow and not get set in your ways or locked in to one strategy for life.

"Winners make winning moves, losers don't"

-Mark David

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