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How To Win at Scrabble and Words With Friends

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Scrabble Diamond Edition

Scrabble Diamond Edition

Image courtesy of Hasbro
The classic word game Scrabble presents a number of unique challenges to its players. Memorizing the entire Official Scrabble Players Dictionary would be great, but it's also unrealistic. If you'd like to be a better Scrabble player, start with these basics -- which are also great tips for players of Words With Friends.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: n/a

Here's How:

  1. Consider balance as you look at the letters on your rack. For example, it might be smart to form a word eliminating double letters in your rack even if it's not the highest-scoring move you have available. Many players aim for a rack with four consonants and three vowels.
  2. See what letters have already been played before deciding on your move. If few Es have been played, you might chose to create WERE instead of WARE, reducing the chance that you'll draw a double tile.
  3. Plan ahead to play long words, possibly even using all the tiles on your rack in one turn (which is known as a bingo and which earns you bonus points). The most common letters players save to create a bingo are A, E, I, N, R and S.
  4. Don't fear the Q! This tile (as well as the somewhat less-frightening X, Z and J) offers some high-scoring potential. It helps to learn these words which use a Q but not a U.
  5. If you get stuck with a lot of vowels, think about iodine -- and the dozens of other vowel-rich words available. (Cookie, anyone?)
  6. If you have a lot of consonants, there are legal words without vowels -- myrrh, rhythm and tsktsk, for example. Here's a complete list of vowel-free Scrabble words.
  7. Avoid giving other players easy access to bonus point squares, especially the triple word scores.

Tips:

  1. Practice. You can buy Scrabble books, and there are a lot of useful practice tools available on the Internet.
  2. If you study, concentrate on unusual words. Two-letter words are useful in a lot of situations. Q words, X words, J words, Z words and words with lots of vowels also are good to know, as are the most common longer words.
  3. Watch these brief videos to get tips from John Williams, executive director of the National Scrabble Association, and Matt Silver, two-time national school Scrabble champion. The videos are absolutely packed with ways to improve your game.

What You Need

  • Scrabble Board Game
  • Opponent(s)
  • Willingness to Study
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