Scrabble is the most famous and popular word game in the world. It is estimated that 150 million Scrabble sets have been sold and that a third of American homes and half of British homes have a set in the cupboard. Add in all the smart phone variations, such as Word Feud and Words with Friends, and you have millions of people playing every day.
Like most sports and games, Scrabble is a combination of skill and luck, with the random draw of the letters making all the difference to your turn. This means that while skill will always play a big part, anyone can win an individual game, just like the plucky underdogs who make it so hard for the Oddschecker sports betting experts and their carefully researched predictions. Fortunately, you don’t have to digest the entire dictionary to improve your Scrabble scores. There are a few simple tricks that you can learn that will dramatically change your game.
Learn the two letter words
You might not think two letter words are worth bothering with, but they can be incredibly useful when it comes to placing words parallel with others. There are around 124 two letter words allowed in Scrabble, including obscure ones like AE, EA, IO and OI. You will already know about a third of these, such as TO, AN and IN, so there are only about 80 to learn and it is well worth taking the time to do so.
Learn the high scoring twos
As you work your way through the two letter words, you will find some that are very useful for playing high scoring words. QI, ZO and ZA are all allowed in Scrabble, allowing you to play a longer, high scoring word parallel to an A, I or O. You will inevitably get complaints from your fellow players so it’s worth learning the meanings too. Qi is a lifeforce, Zo is a Himalayan cow and Za is accepted slang for pizza.
Don’t cling on to the big letters
If you can’t play a Z or a Q for lots of points within a couple of goes, play it anyway and move on. Holding on to letters like these just means you are playing with fewer tiles and the points you pass over while you wait for the glory play can quickly outscore what you eventually get for using your big letter. There will always be another game where it will work out for you.
Search for sevens
You should always be on the lookout for a word that uses all seven of your letters. Not only will this score quite highly, you will also get fifty bonus points. You can help to create these by building combinations such as IER, IES, IEST and ING. But again, do not hold on to these combinations for too long if it is affecting your game and reducing your scores. Two or three low scores can easily cost you those fifty points.
Double your bonuses
Bonus squares should always be your target in Scrabble, doubling or tripling your letter or even the whole word. But don’t stop there. If you can use the bonus two ways, it can be a big points scorer. For example, a four point H on a triple letter used both ways is 24 points on its own, before you even add the rest of the word, and if you can use this trick with a Q, Z, X or J you are on for a game changing score.
At the end of the day, the best thing you can do to improve your Scrabble is to keep playing and learning. If someone plays a word that is new to you, don’t complain, simply file it away to use yourself next time. Playing Scrabble is the best way to learn Scrabble, especially if you choose opponents who are better than you, so play as often as you can and consider joining one of the 4000 local Scrabble clubs around the world.