Winning Strategies For Playing Scrabble Word Game

Scrabble is a very competitive word game in which players must spell the highest scoring words possible with a given set of letters. Here are some tips on getting those higher scores.

There are usually two ways to play any sport or game- recreationally or competively. You might go out to the backyard and play a leisurely game of Badminton with your cousin Billy, or you may find yourself lunging after hairpins and smashes delivered by the Malaysian national champion. It's still the same sport, only the intensity has changed. So it can be with the popular boardgame Scrabble as well. You can play for fun with your dear Aunt Prudence, or you can play to win with that neighbor who eats dictionaries for breakfast.

Scrabble is a boardgame that requires players to spell words using only the 7 letter tiles on their racks and whatever words have already been placed on the board. Each letter has an assigned point value, based on its relative scarcity in the tiles and its commonality in words. Vowels, for example, are only worth one point apiece because virtually every word in the English requires at least one of them. A letter like "J" or "X" on the other hand is worth a lot more points, because of the relatively few words that use those letters. Besides the point values of the individual tiles, the board itself offers squares that can double or triple the value of a particular letter or even double/triple the value of an entire word. These squares are highly sought after by experienced players. You can also gain points by adding to existing words or forming two or more words by connecting existing words together. Any tile left unplayed at the end is reduced from a player's score. Scrabble is a true combination of skill and luck of the draw. Here are some strategies to consider when playing competitive Scrabble.

1. A good game begins with the very first word. If you are selected to go first, consider your first word placement carefully. Many expert players try to start out with 'root words', which can give them more options later on in the game, when options become limited. Consider using a word like 'test' or 'gate' as your opening word. You can always come back and add more letters to these words, instead of creating words that have no logical extensions. A doomed Scrabble game usually starts going downhill after the first few words begin crowding each other. Using root words can give you a chance to break out of the rut later on.



2. Your goal should be to reach the bonuses. Instead of trying to come up with a complex word in the regular squares, concentrate on building out to the double and triple word scoring areas first. Then go back to spelling 'quixotic' or 'jinx' or whatever high-scoring word you can produce. The point values alone won't guarantee a win as much as being able to spell those words on the double and triple bonus squares. When contemplating early moves, try considering the existing letters as the end of new words or the beginning. This will enable you to spread out your words and reach the higher-valued squares before your opponents.

3. Learn a list of 'qu' words. Most Scrabble games allow for foreign words, and you are much more likely to find short 'qu' words in those other languages. Words like 'que', 'qui', 'quo' and others will sometimes make the difference between using your 'qu' combination and having to take a 10 point loss at the end of the game. You may be challenged, but if you study the 'q' section of an official Scrabble dictionary long enough, you should know which words will hold up to the challenge. The same goes for a lot of other obscure words that will help you dispose of letters faster in the end game. One infamous example is 'aa', a form of lava. By carefully studying a good dictionary, you should be able to uncover quite a few words that will get you out of a jam.

4. Avoid 'eieio' at any cost. Many Scrabble players are reluctant to exercise their right to discard unwanted letters. Since the rules indicate that such a move will end the player's turn, many beginning players assume that a missed turn is a bad thing. Experienced players realize that you sometimes have to cut your losses in order to be in a better position later in the game. A tray filled with nothing but vowels will not give you much more of a tactical advantage than sacrificing a turn for better letters. A tray filled with nothing but consonants is not exactly a winner either, but you should carefully consider which letters to dispose of and which to keep. Never throw away an 'S' or a 'D'- these can usually be played all the way through a game.

5. When in doubt, look for connections. Instead of struggling to form a two letter word with your last tile, look for any possible connections between existing words. Players who become too eager to get rid of their last letters will often overlook these potential game winners. A competitive Scrabble player will continue to look for any connection until the last tile is played. You may have to reach into your storage of obscure words, but very often you will find at least one connection that has been overlooked. If you are stuck with two 'a's for example, you might find room for such words as 'lava' or 'naan', an Indian bread.

6. Think twice before using that blank tile. Quite often, the blank tile is used by beginning players as a 'u' for their 'q', or as a common letter that will earn them a few more points. Experienced players who find blank tiles use them very judiciously, usually as an uncommon consonant needed for a high-scoring word or combination. If you are playing competitively, save your blank tiles for those opportunities presented at triple and double word score squares.

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