Since its creation in 1933 by Alfred Mosher Butts, Scrabble has been a staple for many game nights in America. Scrabble is a board-and-tile game that allows two to four players simultaneously. The game’s object is to form words with letter tiles on a 225-square board. These letter tiles may also intersect with other letters like a giant crossword puzzle.
Like most people, you would probably assume the game is easy because of the simplicity of its mechanics. However, there are tricks and strategies to the game that seasoned players exploit that might surprise you.
Even walking dictionaries and bookworms may struggle against the most ordinary players in Scrabble. That is because a massive vocabulary can only take a player so far with limited letter tiles at their disposal. Here are the tricks and tips to up your Scrabble game and give you that keen edge for game night.
1. Familiarize yourself with Two and Three Letter Words
The Two and Three Letter Words strategy defines simple but elegant. Two and three-letter words have so many combinations that you can exploit them at almost any given turn in Scrabble. They are small words that you can easily insert anywhere on the board to make the most of double and triple-point tiles.
You can score about 50 points per game with proper positioning and letter tile management. Are you unfamiliar with two and three-letter words? Do you struggle with trying to unscramble words during an intense board game? Then, all you need is a word unscrambler and a finder tool.
The Two and Three Letter Words strategy is borderline unfair in the hands of a player who has mastered it.
2. Exploit “s” Plurals to Form Two Words at Once
Another strategy so simple and effective that it should be illegal is exploiting “s” plurals. You can pluralize words by adding “s” at the end, which will count as a new word. As unfair and exploitable as it sounds, the strategy only works if you have “s” tiles. Some people would argue that this strategy of adding “s” is not permissible. But as far as the rules go, there’s nothing against adding “s” to a word and getting credit for the plural term it makes.
The game only has four “s” tiles in a standard setup. Do not use this strategy unless you are sure you will get at least ten points for pluralizing a word.
3. Position Tiles with Common Starts and Ends
In the English language, many words end in “ed,” “er,” or “ing.” Arranging the word endings on the right side of your rack will help you visualize your next move. Much like “s,” you can attach them to the end of words to create new ones.
That works the same way with word beginnings such as “in,” “us,” or “re.” The only difference is you arrange these word beginnings on the left side of your rack.
4. Find the Hooks
A hook refers to single letters you can insert into existing words to create a new one. Examples are loss into floss, lose into close, and host into ghost.
Common hooks to watch out for are “y”, “e”, “d”, and “r”. Examples are hand to handy, spar to spare, lie to lied, and use to user.
5. Plan and Position for Every Bonus Square
Bonus squares are every pro-Scrabble player’s bread and butter. They synergize with all the strategies mentioned in this guide. Perfectly executed tile placements on triple word squares can quickly bring your score to the triple digits.
You might wonder: When do bonus squares increase the score of a play? A bonus is only used when a tile is first placed on the square. If any subsequent move uses that bonus tile, it only counts at the stated value. For example, if someone plays “book” on a double-word bonus, the total is doubled for the player who did it. If the next participant adds an “s” to make it “books,” the double word score from the already-covered space does not carry any more weight.
To win games in Scrabble consistently, you do not need to have a dictionary in your mind. All you need are the strategies mentioned in this guide. In these modern times, online tools abound. Word generators, such as Unscrambled Words, make generating valid terms for word games so much easier. Master all five tips and tricks, and you will be unbeatable on the board.