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Scrabble v. Scrabble: Are wooden tiles or touchscreens better?

Tuesday - 5/15/2012, 6:02am  ET

Author Stefan Fatsis shows off an early version of the Scrabble board called 'Criss Cross Words' during a recent talk at the Tenley-Friendship Library in D.C. 'QI' is now the most frequently played word in Scrabble because if you want to get rid of your 'Q' and there's an 'I' sitting there, you can do that, says Fatsis. 'ZA' is short, it's slang for 'pizza.' (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
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WASHINGTON - Instead of wooden tiles, today's Scrabble game-play usually involves a touchscreen.

So, which is better?

Stefan Fatsis, author of the bestselling competitive Scrabble book, "Word Freak," says even he plays on his smartphone.

"All the time, every day, multiple times a day," says Fatsis. "It's a different experience."

But Scrabble-pro Fatsis still enjoys the original version.

"There's something very engaging about sitting across from someone with a clock determining how much time you have left to play," says Fatsis.

But, whether on a board or on a phone, Fatsis believes the game helps kids learn and excel in math, probability, strategy, spatial relations and, of course, competition.

WTOP's Michelle Basch contributed to this report. Follow Michelle and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)