A bit of history
Scrabble was created in 1938 by an American architecht Alfred Mosher Butts. However, it did not become a success until Jack Straus, Macy’s president on 1952, included the game in his stores. Currently it is one of the most popular board games.
The game: Board and tiles
Scrabble is a classic board game. It consists of a board divided in 15×15 squares and bag with tiles. The English version of the game has 100 tiles. 98 tiles show a letter and a number ranging from 1 to 10 in each tile. Two tiles are blank. The blank tiles are wild cards, like a joker in Poker.
How to play
In its classic version, Scrabble can be played by 2 or 4 players. Each player or team are given a set of tiles. Each tile shows a letter. The tiles/letters are hid from the other players/teams. The board is marked with squares where the tiles have to be put. Each player has to compose words by placing their tiles on the squares, using letters from words already placed on the board (except from the first one, which starts in the center square). Players earn the number of points marked on each tile of the word they composed on the board. Some squares of the board give extra points:
On this short video from Howcast you can find a detailed explanation of how to play Scrabble:
Players earn the points marked in each letter of the composed word. For example, in the above image of the bag with the tiles, “LIFELONG” supposes 16 points. The player who is able to put this word on the boar will earn 16 points.
However, depending on where the user places the word the points can be doubled, or tripled: Some squares in the board count double or triple for a single letter (the letter which in placed on that square) or for the whole word. These squares are marked as showed in the below image: LS is Letter Score and WS is Word Score. Thus, for example, “2xLS” is two times the score of the letter.
The player with most points when the game ends wins. There are two ways a game can end according to the Tournament Rules of the North American Scrabble Players Association:
- When a player has no more tiles to play (the player has no tiles on his/her rack) and there are no more tiles in the bag
- When there have been six turns without any of the players scoring, or exchanging or challenging.
When a game ends the sum of points of the unplayed letters is deducted from the total points earned by that player. If a player has played all his/her letters and has none in the rack, the sum of the unplayed letters of the other player is added to his/her points.
Players throw “challenges” when they believe a word played is not valid: If a player thinks that the word composed by the other player in the last turn then he/she challenges that word. Then there are two ways of proceeding.
- Challenge without penalty: A player challenges the other regarding the validity of the last word: If the challenger is right and the word is invalid the challenged gets 0 points and loses his turn. If the challenger is wrong he loses his turn.
- Challenge with penalty: A penalty (usually of 5 to 10 points) is agreed before the start of the game. If the challenger is right, the challenged loses his turn and gets zero points. If the challenger is wrong, he/she loses is turn and the agreed amount of points.
Cheats or word-finders
There are many Scrabble cheat or word-finders. These are tools that give you all the possible words that can be composed with a series of letters, and the points of each word according to Scrabble rules and a set dictionary. Users just have to put the letters and to select the dictionary from a list. Since English has many variants, it can be important to agree/choose the correct dictionary before a game.
Some popular Scrabble word-finders:
You can play online in many websites or apps. Here’s a few:
Scrabble GO for Android or iPhone can be found here. It will be soon available in facebook.
Scrabble Games: Fan website of the game with a wide selection of similar games
FunkyPotato: Here you can play against a computer.
Benefits of playing Scrabble
- Improves vocabulary
- Improves memory
- Improves concentration
- Reduces the probability of mental illness
- Improves and fosters social bond by being a game with social interaction
Do you play Scrabble? Tell us about it!
We’d like to know what do you like about Scrabble, how often do you play, when or how did you learn,… or even which feature you don’t like about it or think it could be improved… any comment will be welcome!