How To Play Scrabble: Scrabble Instructions

Get Tips to Play the Scrabble Board Game

Scrabble tiles

Board games such as Scrabble make great party games for groups of children and adults.

The game has been around for decades even though it wasn't nearly as popular when it was first invented as it is today. Nonetheless, the game is now a very recognizable part of American culture. It's not that difficult to play Scrabble, but these tips will help.

Here are some of the basic instructions. The game is played on a board made up of 225 squares (15 rows by 15 columns) and can be played by 2 to 4 players. The objective is to have the highest score at the end by making as many words as you can. There are 100 tiles with letters on them, which are used to make the words. Each tile has a letter and a number shown on it. The number represents the point value of that letter. Points range from 1 to 10 with one exception--the blank tiles. There are 2 blank tiles that may be used to represent any letter when making a word, but they are not worth any points. All tiles are kept in the pouch that is included with the game. So you see, the rules aren't that hard. These instructions will help clarify the rest of the game. Here's how to play.

The Setup
Before the game begins, two things must be decided. First, all players must agree on a dictionary to be used in the event of challenge. Secondly, the players must determine which one of them will have the first turn. To decide this, each player picks one tile from the pouch and the player with the letter closest to the beginning of the alphabet will get the first turn.
All tiles are returned to the pouch and the pouch is shaken to mix up the tiles. Each player, beginning with the player getting the first turn, selects seven tiles from the pouch and places them on his rack. Once all the players have their tiles, the game is ready to begin.

Game Play
Here are some of the rules. The game is played as follows:

  1. The first player combines two or more of his letters to form a word. At least two letters must be used since this is the first word being made and you also cannot make a one-letter word. The word is placed on the board either across or down, making sure to place one of the letters on the center square. The center has a bonus of "double word score" which only applies to the first word. The score for the word including the bonus is tallied and added to the first player's total score. To complete the turn, the player selects as many new letters from the pouch as he just played to replace them on the rack. In other words, you should always have 7 tiles on your rack as long as there are enough remaining in the pouch.
  2. The next player is now given his turn. This player must add one or more of his tiles to an existing word to form a new word. His score is tallied and added to his total. Play continues in this fashion, moving clockwise.
  3. All the letters played on a turn must be placed in a row either across or down when forming new words. If any played letters touch an adjacent row, they must form new words as well.
  4. When blank tiles are played, the player must indicate what letter the blank tile is representing. That tile will represent the indicated letter for the remainder of the game.
  5. If a player uses all of his tiles to form a new word on his turn, a bonus of 50 points will be added to his score.
  6. If you cannot form any words on your turn, you can exchange all or some of letters. To do so, remove the letters you want to exchange from your rack. Then select the same number of tiles from the pouch and place the letters you removed from your rack into the pouch. This ends your turn.
  7. If you place a word on the board during your turn and an opponent does not think the word exists, they can challenge the play. When challenging the play, the word is looked up in the dictionary by the challenger. If the word is not found, the challenge player must take back his tiles and they lose that turn. If the word is found, the challenge loses his next turn.
  8. The game will end when all tiles have been drawn from the pouch and either when one player uses all his tiles or no other words can be formed.

Here are the instructions for scoring. The score each player gets when forming a new word is the sum of the letter values used in that turn plus the additional bonuses obtained from premiere squares. Premium squares are found in various squares on the board. There are two types of premium squares--Premium Letter squares and Premium Word squares. Premium letter squares either double (light blue square) or triple (dark blue square) the value of the letter placed on it. Premium Word squares either double (pink square) or triple (red square) the total score of the word that has a letter placed on it. Premium bonuses only count for the turn that they are played in. In subsequent turns, the letters on premium squares are only worth their letter value.
When the game ends, each player's score is reduced by the total value of his or her unused tiles. If a player has used all of his letters, the total value of the other players' unused letters is added to his score. The player with the highest total score is declared the winner. In the event of a tie, the player who had the highest total score before adding/deducting the points for unused letters wins.

Hopefully these Scrabble tips have helped. Good luck and enjoy the game!


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