by The Beast!
(Boardgame Beast HQ)
Hasbro (Mattel in some territories)
Number of players:
Be prepared to take Scrabble VERY seriously! The Scrabble game will bring out the best in your vocab and the worst in your nature, as you do whatever it takes to improve your score (if not your interpersonal relationships). Simply, a brilliant game!
The game and gameplay
Word games don’t come much better than Scrabble. Truly a test of word power, reasoning and creative thought, not to mention patience, Scrabble has spawned a worldwide following.
Scrabble board game competitions, including a World Championship, have brought the world’s best players a kind of geeky infamy. But you don’t have to be a savant to get a lot out of Scrabble.
Fortunately, the game has been left alone since its creation, with just a Junior and one or two luxury and travel versions added to the stable. It’s hard to improve on perfection, after all!
Scrabble is a board game in only a very general sense of the word. The board is divided into a 15 x 15 grid of squares.
Players take seven tiles at random from the pool of 100 and arrange them on their plinths (a little plastic or wooden holder) into the longest word possible.
In crossword style, this must then be transferred to the board, so that it touches horizontally or vertically a previous word. Each letter of the alphabet is assigned a points total. The easier the letter is to use, the less it’s worth. So A is worth 1 point, while Z is worth 10 points.
The skill at the Scrabble game comes in arranging your word to score the maximum possible, including bonus squares and by forming multiple words using the existing tiles on the board.Players may challenge a word they don’t recognise, or believe to be legal, at any time. An agreed dictionary (or the digital Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary) is consulted, and if the word is not allowed, the player who placed the tiles takes them back and loses his turn. If the word IS legal, though, the challenger loses their next turn.
A 50-point bonus is awarded if a player uses all seven of his tiles in a single turn.
Play continues until all 100 tiles have been placed. The player who places the final tile is given a bonus of the total remaining points on other players’ plinths, while they lose the amount of points left on each of theirs.
Pros and cons
It’s no exaggeration to say that you can let the Scrabble game become too important to you!
Once you get the bug and really begin to understand the finer points of strategy, you’ll rush out to get the Official Scrabble Word Book and start trying to memorise new words.
Perhaps the most important skill is learning two- and three-letter words, to give you the best chance of placing longer words on a crowded board and scoring multiple points for extra words.
Not only that, inexperienced opponents will challenge you more often if you are using obscure words.
The next most vital ability is recognising and placing seven-letter bonus words. There are plenty of techniques to improve your chances: Boardgame Beast will be adding a Scrabble board game strategy guide to Operation Genius soon, to help you maximise your scoring!
This addictive game is unique in its ability to get under your skin. You’ll make it a personal crusade to arm yourself with new words and inflict them on your unwitting opponents as often as possible.
As your skill increases, you’ll sometimes struggle to find worthy players to match you. It helps to be involved with another fan, or have many Scrabble board game fanatics in your family, though be warned, people can and will fall out over a failed challenge or last-minute bonus score.
On the downside, Scrabble is a game that’s not for everybody. It is one of those games that divides opinion. People who tend not to be readers will get absolutely nothing from Scrabble; even avid readers who dislike word games will be turned off.
It’s also a very basic design, lacking some sparkle and pizzazz, but that’s like critising a hot air balloon for being too simple a design. It works. It’s beautiful. Nothing else really matters. That said, even hot air balloons come in more interesting designs…
Scrabble wins our Boardgame Beast loveheart logo as a game that is as enjoyable, sometimes more so, with two players as well as three or four.
The Scrabble game is peerless. Several games have attempted to copy its simple, yet addictive concept without success. You get out as much as you’re prepared to put in and the game can grow as you do. Quite simply, a masterpiece.