Now compare these two ways of making QI in this board.
First, the more obvious way, 10B: QI (as marked by the white line in the trimmed diagram on the left)—scoring 31 points, since the Q will hit the TLS bonus square (and if we make B10: QI in the next turn—making QI twice, the total score of the two moves will be 42 points).
But what will happen if we don’t make 10B: QI in the first place, but make B10: QI right away instead (as marked by the yellow line on the trimmed diagram on the right)? A smashing 64 pointer! And that is just by using two tiles. Look again: QI (31) + QI (31) + IS (2) = 64. Bonus squares are only counted once (the first time they are used). But making our move this way, we force the generous square being counted twice. The reason is, although we make more than one word (three, in this case), it is still one single move, not two (let alone three).
How could the outcome be so different? Because in the first way we use the TLS just as the way it normally is (a mere TLS). In the second way, on the other hand, we use the [same] TLS bonus square as hotspot—it’s really like having an SLS (sextuple letter score) bonus square. And that is a big difference.
There are other types of hotspot (some are born killers—oh, yeah! ). We’ll come to that later (in one way or another—but if you keep playing, chance is you’ll come to them first yourself). Nevertheless, these two hotspots (the one we’ve got here and the one in the preceding post) represent the two basic forms: it’s either more than one bonus square working together (as with JEEP before), or one particular square counted more than once (as with QI here).
When the booster doesn’t boost
For a hotspot to be effective, it should be used properly. For example, if in the preceding post we didn’t make JEEP but TEEN instead (in exactly the same place), then the score would’ve been much smaller. We won’t feel the heat. The same thing goes with QI here.
First thing first: spot the spot
Please keep in mind that hotspots come into existence only during the game (intentionally or otherwise). They don’t exist when a game is just about to begin or when it’s already over (it’s just an empty board with some bonus squares here and there). Unlike bonus squares (which are always thereand always in their exact positions—used or not), the way hotspots come up (where and how many, if any) depends on how the game develops. So, the very first thing we’ve got to do when dealing with hotspots is always this:
recognise them—whether actually, or potentionally
which should be immediately followed by this:
and assume our dear opponent saw that too
then grit our teeth, and get ourselves ready for a bloody good game.