In the word game Scrabble, two to four players earn points by placing tiles with a single letter on a board that is divided into 15 squares. The tiles must create words that can be found in a common dictionary or lexicon and be read crossword-style from row to row or column to column downward.
Except for the United States and Canada, where Hasbro owns the trademark, the name Scrabble is a registered trademark of Mattel in most of the world. About 150 million sets of the game have been sold globally; it is distributed in 121 countries and is accessible in more than 30 different languages. One-third of American and half of British homes are said to have a Scrabble set.
Scrabble is quite easy to learn: Each word in the English language is composed of 100 tiles, totaling 187 points. That even includes “oxyphenbutazone,” which according to math is the legal Scrabble word with the greatest point total (1,778 points after bonuses).
We may not be able to help you spell oxyphenbutazone for 1,778 points with our short list of Scrabble letter values, but at least we can tell you how many letter tiles are available and how many points each one is worth. Each Scrabble player should become familiar with the game’s letter values and tile distribution. The easiest approach to queueing up your subsequent play is to know the letters you will receive in advance, giving you an advantage over your rivals.
There are only two participants in the game. Each match consists of two games, one of which is started by each participant.
At first, each player draws 7 tiles, which are then put on their rack.
A word made up of two or more of the first player’s letters is combined and written on the board to be read across or down, with one letter on the centre square. (Diametrical terms are prohibited.) The player receives replacement letters after playing a word—one for each letter that was used.
After the first turn, players switch. Each player draws fresh tiles after playing a string of tiles making a word (potentially more than one word, like below). Unless there are not enough tiles left, keep 7 tiles on each rack at all times.
The letters inserted in a single turn must form a single word from the dictionary with no gaps, and they must be all arranged in a single horizontal row or a single vertical column. Each new word must relate to the others in one of the ways listed below:
incorporating a letter or letters into a word or words that are already on the board.
putting a word at an angle to one that is already written on the board. The new word must either add a letter to an existing word on the board or use one of the letters already there.
Putting a full word next to a word that has already been spoken, so that neighboring letters also become full words.
These links must result in new terms, which must also be in the dictionary.
Any letter may be used on either of the two blank tiles. You are required to specify the letter a blank symbolizes when playing. For the duration of the game, it stays that letter.
You can choose to exchange all, part, or none of the letters throughout your turn. Put your discarded letter(s) on the ground to do this. Draw the same number of letters from the remaining pool, then add your discarded letter or letters to the remaining pool. Your turn is over now.
There is no restriction on how many tiles you can swap, other than the fact that you may not exchange more than the number of tiles in the pool or your rack.
The game ends when:
All of the letters are either on the board or in the player racks, and either one player uses their final letter or both players switch a certain amount of tiles back and forth repeatedly (for a total of four exchanges).
Each turn’s score is calculated by adding the letter values of all the words that were created or modified during that turn, as well as any extra points earned for arranging letters on Premium Squares.
Premium Letter Squares: A letter placed on a light blue square will score twice as well as on a dark blue square, which will score three times as well.
Premium Word Squares: When one of a word’s letters is placed on a pink square, the score for the entire word is doubled; when it is placed on a red square, the score is tripled. Before doubling or tripling the word score, take into account any premiums for double or triple letter values.
The score is doubled and then redoubled (4 times the letter count), or tripled and then retripled, if a word is produced that fills two premium word squares (9 times the letter count).
Premiums for letters and words only count during the turn in which they are played. Letters that have already been played on premium squares count at face value on subsequent turns.
Even though the blank tile itself has no scoring value, the word value is doubled or tripled when it is played on a pink or red square.
Each word that appears in a play that contains two or more is scored. For each word, the common letter is counted (along with any premium value that may apply).
A bingo is when seven tiles are played in one turn. After adding up your score for the turn, you receive an extra 50 points.
Unplayed Letters: At the conclusion of the game, the total number of unplayed letters for each player lowers their score. The total of the remaining letters from the other players is also added to a player’s score if they have used all of their own letters.
The game is won by the player who finished with the highest score. In the event of a tie, the player who scored the most points before adding or subtracting letters that were not played wins.
If a match has a winner and a loser, the match is won by the person who accrued the most points overall (through both games). The game ends in a draw if both players receive the same number.
There are various possible plays (the following assumes that the word JACK has already been played; the letters in parenthesis denote tiles that are already on the board):
modifying an existing word by adding one or more letters, as in (JACK)S, (JACK)ING, and (JACK)FRUIT.
Playing a word perpendicular to it by “hooking” it, as in the case of playing IONIZES with the S hooked on (JACK) to produce (JACK)S.
Performing parallel to a word, such as YEU(K)Y through the K in (JACK).
When a word or words are played in parallel, many small words are simultaneously formed, such as (J)O and (A)N when CON is played under (JACK).
Any combination of these is permitted in a play, provided that the main word connecting all the letters placed on the board in one play lies in a row or column. Additionally, any run of tiles on two or more consecutive squares along a row or column counts as a legitimate word.
Either left to right or top to bottom word reading is required. No diagonal plays are permitted.