Tips & Strategies (25)

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Tips & Strategies (25)

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2
28 of 29 gamers found this helpful
“Pick a theme”

To make the game a little more challenging we sometimes like to pick a theme. Example: Theme of “Baseball” words like plate, pitcher, and bat. We also add that proper names are ok becasue it adds more words. Mike Piazza is a great triple word score.

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5
Canada
Rated 50 Games
Tinkerer
28 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“A territory control game disguised as a crossword”

The easiest way to lose at Scrabble is to make the mistake that it’s about spelling the best words. One of the keys to winning is to put specific letters in the best places on the board. A large vocabulary will help you do this, but the important point is the ability to think at least a turn ahead.

Don’t spell a word without considering what point multipliers it opens up to your opponents.

Taking a point multiplying space, even when you can’t spell a high point word on it, can often prevent an opponent from getting a high score.

Don’t forget you can swap tiles or simply pass your turn if playing will open up an opportunity for an opponent.

Save your high value tiles to play on triple letter or word scores, and try to place them in such a way that your opponent will have a hard time utilizing those high value tiles.

Spell a word that can’t be added to easily (pluralized with an ‘S’, for example) near a high scoring opportunity to block off that area from an opponent.

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5
USA
I play blue
Copper Supporter
28 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“How I Play”

I still tend to lose against people with PHDs and vocabulary freaks, but here’s how I tend to do fairly well.

1. Avoid short words unless you have absolutely nothing else to play. Alternatively if you have any difficult letters it’s usually fine.

2. Don’t build towards multipliers. Let your opponents build towards them, and then you can take them after. Even if I have combos that will let me get to a multiplier in two turns, I usually get it stolen from me.

3. Don’t over think it. Usually if I don’t find a better word within a minute, I’m probably not going to find it unless I think about it for hours. For the sake of time and efficiency, only give yourself about a minute per word.

4. Play with word combos during other players turns. Kind of obvious, but don’t take a break here.

5. Praise people for their amazing words (even if they arent). This keeps the atmosphere light and makes it easier for you to concentrate instead of being competitive.

All kind of obvious stuff, but that’s how I like to play. Maybe it will help someone, who knows.

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5
Knight-errant
Explorer - Level 3
I Love Playin' Games
31 of 34 gamers found this helpful
“Need a letter? Take a letter”

Anytime during your turn you may take a letter that is on the board and replace it with a letter from your rack of letters. You may only do this if the letter you replace it with still makes a word. You don’t score any points for changing the word but it allows you to exchange for a letter that you need. You must then use the letter you took, in the same turn, to spell a new word. This is most useful when replacing a letter with a blank.

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7
Book Lover
Knight-errant
Tinkerer
Novice Reviewer
28 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Speed Scrabble”

This variant of Scrabble requires the tiles (and only the tiles) from at least two copies of the game. Mix up the tiles and place them face down at the centre of the table. Each player then draws five tiles from the pool as their starting hand. When everyone has drawn their tiles, play begins.

Each player tries to form words in standard Scrabble, crossword fashion using the tiles they have in front of them. Once any player has used all their tiles, they say “go” or “draw” and every player then draws a new tile to add to their personal puzzle. This puzzle can be rearranged and restructured as often as a player would like; the only real requirements are that all the words be real words of at least two letters (dictionary use is encouraged) and that all the words be connected as per standard crossword format.

Play concludes when any player says “draw” and the remaining number of tiles in the centre of the table is such that one or more players are unable to draw a new tile. At this point puzzle creation stops (players can no longer add to or change their layouts) and scoring begins. The point values on the Scrabble tiles in each player’s puzzle are counted (tiles used twice are counted twice), and the point values on any unused tiles a player may have are subtracted from the total. Player with the highest score wins.

Endgame variant
When playing with younger children or in a more casual/less competitive group, allowing all players a certain amount of time after the tile pool is exhausted to tweak their individual crosswords in order to use more tiles helps to level the playing field.

—-
Game length is generally no more than about fifteen to twenty minutes, and this variant is flexible with regards to the number of players. I have played with three to eight people using the tiles from two Scrabble games, and more players can easily be added by combining in tiles from a third game.

There are similarities between Speed Scrabble and the game Bananagrams, but I personally prefer the former as it maintains the point rewards for using less common letters in English.

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5
Novice Reviewer
Novice Advisor
Knight
Baron / Baroness
28 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Build Along, Instead Of Away”

Most beginner players to Scrabble will look to form one word reaching out or through an existing word. You can rack up serious points (especially on multipliers) by constantly looking to build multiple words ALONG existing words. This requires knowing most or all of the 2 letter words but can pay off with huge scores.

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2
Comic Book Fan
28 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Don't waste the "S"”

One of the biggest tips I offer to new players of Scrabble is to never waste a “S.”

The beginner should always play the “S” in a manner that creates a new word while adding to an existing word on the the table. For example:

SCAT
N
A
K
E

Assuming the word “CAT” was already on the board, A beginner should always play the “S” in a way that you create a new word and add to the last, like the example above, or placing the word “CATS” with “SNAKE” as this results in higher word scores. Never, as the rulebook says: “just and an S to a word already on the board” (unless there’s some ridiculous combo on a triple word score or something).

I’ve read that the letter “S” starts 50% more words than any other letter, in addition to all the nouns and verbs it pluralizes. I’ll assume it’s true because it sounds good and I’m too lazy to verify the information.

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7
USA
Norway
Finland
I play black
28 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Take Two - Bananagrams Lite”

Gamer Bling played this variant with the Gamer Bling Official Companion during our honeymoon 15 years ago, during which we, um, played many two-player games.

Place all tiles in the center of the table, face down. Don’t use the board.

Each player starts with seven tiles and simultaneously flips them face up. Players try to arrange their seven tiles into a crossword.

Once a player has done so, that player says, “Take two,” and all players must draw two additional tiles and incorporate them into their crossword.

A player can also, “Swap” and return two tiles face down to the center and draw three.

The game ends when someone says, “Take two” and there are not enough tiles to go around.

It’s fast, it’s fun, it plays as many as you want, and it scratches the Bananagrams itch without an extra purchase.

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6
Hockey Fan
My First Game Tip
Detective
28 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“If you don't mind a little mischief ”

I like to help people find places/ think of words and gently direct them away from the place I want to play next or to an area I hope I can build on. They think I am being helpful (which I am) but I usually have an ulterior motive…

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7
Hockey Fan
Check Out My Favorites
I Got What I Wanted
28 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Use of Dictionary”

How does one become a better Scrabble player? By learning more words.

Our House Rule allows the use of a dictionary at any time when it is NOT your turn.

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5
Book Lover
Video Game Fan
28 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Leveling the Field a Little”

We have a house rule that younger players can exchange their tiles without missing their turn. It helps level the playing field a little so that little ones can enjoy the game more and not be left feeling like they can never win. As the kids get older and learn to spell, expand their vocabularies, etc. we just start using the actual rule.

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3
I Own a Game!
Follower
Sophomore
28 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Set yourself up.”

It seems obvious, but it’s something I rarely see in Scrabble.

Build a simple word that leads up next to a double or triple letter score, and save a high scoring letter that fits into a word you already know you can play. (“Z” in “ZA” or something) such that you can triple letter on Z. Hope your opponent doesn’t use it, either because they don’t have a good use for that letter, or they have a better thing somewhere else, then get it. Sure, sometimes it backfires, but if you know you have a great use of it, sitting around hoping they provide you with a perfect opportunity pays off less than hoping they either don’t see it or have better options. (If they were gonna play a great word on the opposite side of the board anyway, you’re just missing out!)

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5
Novice Reviewer
Novice Advisor
Knight
Baron / Baroness
28 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Rotating Blank Tiles”

An interesting house rules that I’ve seen and a great way to keep the blank tiles in play is the following:

When a blank tile is played, any player with the “actual” letter may, on their turn, switch the real tile with the blank tile and take it onto their tray.

This seems to make for more interesting words and some more interesting strategy as well.

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5
Novice Reviewer
Novice Advisor
Knight
Baron / Baroness
28 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Free Trades”

Instead of requiring a player to use their whole turn to swap tiles, allow for certain conditions where a player can freely swap (once on their turn) and then play a word as normal. Here are some ideas about what can be used for a free trade:

– Six consonants
– Six vowels
– Three of the same letter
– Two pairs

This keeps the game moving quickly and reduces the complaint factor (you know there’s always at least one player saying they can’t do anything because of their bad luck).

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5
Gamer - Level 5
Sophomore
Bard
28 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Starting Location”

One of the problems we run into is the top/left quadrant can be hard to play in as words usually get played down and right. We sometimes play that the first person can play anywhere on the board. Yes, it does mean that the first person can get a great start. To counteract this, you can play that the first word does not get any of the space bonuses. This way, their is an incentive to play up in the left quadrant, but on a triple word space.

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7
Paladin
Herald
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Bronze Supporter
28 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“Educative aspect”

When you learn a foreign language consider obtaining (or making yourself) a Scrabble set of that language and play it with your friends or just solo to enrich your vocabulary.

Note that different languages have different distribution of letters and different values associated to them.

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2
28 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“Scrabble Chaos: STEAL, ACT, & HACK”

Scrabble Chaos has Three Main Concepts:

Stealing

When replacing tiles you have the option to steal up to a total of two of them from the tray of an opponent(s). Steal them without looking at the revealing side of the opponents tray. The opponent then pulls tiles from the bag to replace those stolen.

Acting

If you play an animal you must speak animal sounds (example Dog: Ruff Bark Ruff) until your next turn.

If you play an emotion you must act as if you are feeling that emotion until next turn.

If you play a mythical creature or person you must speak and act as if you are that until next turn.

Character Break (Failure to act out until next turn) results in removal of the word from the board and loss of points. This may also cause a “floating” word. That’s fine. Keep playing.

Hacking

Place a blank tile anywhere on the board, on any turn, at any moment to disable the effects of a double/triple letter or word score that space affects. Tiles can still be placed above that tile. Blanks may not be placed below a tile that has already been played unless it is the same turn that tile has been played.

If a player challenges a word and they are wrong, the score of the word doubles. If they’re right it doubles negative.

If someone leaves the room for any reason at all everyone else may look at their tray and swap tiles of their own with that players as long as the number of tiles all players have remains the same and the swapping ends before the person returns to the room to say “AHA!”.

If the swappers are visually caught swapping the number of tiles they can have in their tray is reduced by 1 until end of game.

Proper nouns may be played with a two point penalty.

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7
USA
Norway
Finland
I play black
28 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“How to Handicap for Kids”

When Gamer Bling’s expansions were younger, Gamer Bling found an easy way to play Scrabble on an even playing field: adults draw fewer tiles.

With only 4-5 tiles to choose from, making long, high-scoring words is harder for the adults, and they have to settle for short, simple words… just the sort of words the kids can easily make with their 7 tiles.

Thus, from the kids’ perspective, they are making words as valuable as the adults’, and they remain engaged and excited.

Of course, now that Gamer Bling Expansion #1 and Gamer Bling Expansion #2 are older, the handicap has been removed. And when they each beat Gamer Bling and the Gamer Bling Official Companion in a 4-player game, any lingering parental assistance was permanently removed. Vengeance!

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7
Hockey Fan
Check Out My Favorites
I Got What I Wanted
28 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“Handicapping for Discordant Experience Levels”

We got to a point where my primary gaming partner absolutely refused to play this with me. Our solution: I had to play in Spanish while they played in English. I highly recommend this as a solution to change up the skill level. I lost miserably the first few times!

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6
Count / Countess
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
BoardGaming.com Beta 2.0 Tester
Cryptozoic Entertainment fan
29 of 35 gamers found this helpful
“TWL - Two Letter Word List”

There are (2) different Two Letter Word Lists

TWL: Fourth Edition
American Tournament Play

AA AB AD AE AG AH AI AL AM AN AR AS AT AW AX AY

BA BE BI BO BY
DE DO
ED EF EH EL EM EN ER ES ET EX
FA FE

GO

HA HE HI HM HO

ID IF IN IS IT

JO

KA KI

LA LI LO

MA ME MI MM MO MU MY

NA NE NO NU

OD OE OF OH OI OM ON OP OR OS OW OX OY

PA PE PI

QI

RE

SH SI SO

TA TI TO

UH UM UN UP US UT

WE WO

XI XU

YA YE YO

ZA

Learn the two letter words and you will significantly increase your score by playing tiles so that you create multiple words each turn. An example of this would be the words ATOM and ROSE, like so:

AR
TO
OS
ME >> this combo makes 6 words: atom, rose, ar, to, os, me.

Take it a step further with the 3 Letter word lists:
ATOM, ROSE, TEEN:

ART
TOE
OSE
MEN >> this combo contains: atom, rose, teen, art, tor, ose, men.

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