Jan is a Scrabble pro who enjoys sharing the tips and tricks he knows with his readers.
What Is Scrabble?
Scrabble is a crossword-style game wherein two to four players can participate. Each player gets a rack of seven letter tiles, which will be used to form words horizontally or vertically. Each letter is assigned a particular value and has its own distribution.
The rights to the game Scrabble are owned by Hasbro for the U.S. and Canada and by Mattel everywhere else.
15 Tips for Dominating the Scrabble Board
Scrabble is a very simple and fun game, yet it involves plenty of strategy. You have to think on your feet, and you have to maximize every opportunity you have and the resources at your disposal, such as your letters, letter and word bonuses, and openings. Here are some strategies to help you win.
1. Use Letter and Word Bonuses
An easy way to rack up the score is to be able to use letter and word bonuses. Use them before your opponent does. Make sure to maximize them, and place high-value tiles in double- or triple-letter bonuses.
2. Get Bingos (Using All Seven Tiles in One Turn)
A couple of bingos is a good way to decimate the opponent quickly. An opponent can rarely survive the onslaught of two or more bingos. This is a shortcut to winning but should not be relied upon heavily as it involves timing and having the right letter combinations. Still, it would not hurt to start memorizing seven- and eight-letter words to help accomplish this.
3. Clog Up the Board
Deny your opponent opening to put bingos on you or to place high scoring words. Use short words that range from two to four letters to clog up the board. Also, try to focus your attack on one side of the board as to shut down the other parts of the board. The success of this strategy depends on your ability to position tiles correctly and your vocabulary of two- to four-letter words.
4. Get a Scrabble Dictionary
Picking up a standard dictionary is a good way to enhance your vocabulary, but in order to win at Scrabble, you could get a specialized Scrabble dictionary. This dictionary lists all the possible words for each length category. Start first with the two-letter words and then progress on to longer words.
5. Use Different Forms of the Words
A good way to maximize words already on the board is to use different forms of the word. This is especially true if you are currently stuck with bad tiles and could not find good openings. An example would be to add "PED" to the word "STOP" to create "STOPPED." This helps get rid of excess and unwanted tiles without having to cede a turn to change them.
6. Expand Your Vocabulary
This is a simple way to get a competitive advantage. In the war of words, it is better that you have plenty of ammunition. Again, having a Scrabble dictionary helps here.
7. Don't Squander High-Value Tiles
Use the money tiles properly, and you will be rewarded. Do not squander money tiles on low yielding words. Wait for an opportune time to place them properly and rack up a lot of points. The "S” and the blank tiles may not look valuable in terms of points but are invaluable in the game as it can virtually create links and give you opportunities to score of at least two words.
8. Use the Ability to Change Tiles Wisely
You are given the ability to change your tiles in exchange for forfeiting a turn. Sometimes when you are bombarded with too many vowels or consonants and cannot seem to be able to come up with words, it is sometimes wise to exchange some or all of your tiles for new ones.
9. Challenge Your Opponent's Words
Learn to challenge the opponent's words, especially when they sound too absurd or too uncommon. Sometimes there are really such words, or sometimes the opponent is trying to experiment with just chucking up tiles. Always have your Scrabble dictionary ready to make sure of fair play.
10. Create Multiple Words When Possible
Learn to position letters in such a way that multiple words are created. A way to do this is to place words parallel to each together and beside each other. You could turn a simple one word into two, three, or more words through the proper positioning.
11. Know Your Opponent's Style
Players each play a different style. Some play an open board and try to blow you out with long and high scoring words. Try as much as possible to lock up the board to prevent them from burning the scoreboard. Other players play defensively and lockup the board. Try to open up the board and mess with their strategy, as well.
12. Play More Often
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. You can hone your skills by going up frequently against both human and computer opponents. Not only can you pick up new words, but also learn different strategies and help sharpen your game. Do not be afraid to lose, as this is part of the learning process.
13. Block the Board Bonuses
As much as possible, make sure that board bonuses are not within reach of the opponent. To leave wide-open opportunities for your opponent is to invite disaster.
14. Think About Your Opponent's Next Steps, and Block Them
Try to figure out what words the opponent might put up and do something to stop them. Also, try to figure out what tiles are left and create scoring opportunities for yourself while denying them for the opposition.
15. Believe in Yourself
A little positive thinking never hurt anyone. Always believe that there is always a possibility to win and that you are capable of winning. Believing you are going to lose even before competing is already a loss in itself.
How to Play Scrabble
How Much Is Each Letter Worth?
The values of each letter are as follows:
- (1 point): A, E, I, O, U, L, N, S, T, R
- (2 points): D, G
- (3 points): B, C, M, P
- (4 points): F, H, V, W, Y
- (5 points): K
- (8 points): J, X
- (10 points): Q, Z
What Is the Distribution of the Letters in Scrabble?
Scrabble tile letter distribution is as follows:
How to Win at Scrabble
Two-Letter Scrabble Words
Three-Letter Scrabble Words
© 2016 Jan Michael Ong
Jan Michael Ong (author) from Metro Manila, Philippines on August 01, 2016:
Well scrabble is not merely a game of vocabulary but board control. If you control the board, you can win.
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on August 01, 2016:
I have never won a single game of scrabble and thanks to you, now I know why. Great article! Scrabble, when I am ready, get ready for me, hahahaha