Scrabble is undoubtedly one of the most famous games of the 20th century and one that continues to be played all over the world, including competitively, in many different languages, even to this day. New players come to the game all the time and there are some things to know about it before you start playing that will let you hit the ground running. With that in mind, below are 7 tips for new Scrabble players.
Don’t Underestimate Letter Unscramblers
When you first start out playing Scrabble, and if you are not an avid reader and writer, you might struggle to come up with combinations. It can be especially frustrating if you are playing online against far more experienced players who know the tips and tricks and are able to make better use of the harder tiles like Q and Z. One way to even the odds and perhaps put them in your favor is to use a word unscrambler tool offered by websites like Unscramblex.com.
These tools allow you to input a series of letters which are then combined into all of the different possible permutations of those tiles. You can also play word unscrambler games that ask you to come up with different words based on a series of letters you are provided at the beginning of each round. Many popular cell phone games use this format.
Add More 2 and 3 Letter Words to Your Vocabulary
Many new Scrabble players make the mistake of assuming that you need to focus on the biggest words possible to rack up the most possible points. While an open board at the beginning of the game leaves ample opportunity for those longer, multisyllabic words, as the game wears on, and especially towards the very end, when there is little space for longer words, those two and three-letter words will come in handy.
This is especially the case if you are neck and neck with one or more players and you only need a few points to get ahead of them. Those two and three-letter words might make all the difference when it is a matter of a couple of points.
Rearrange Your Tiles For More Inspiration
A good first step when laying out your tiles is to take note of the common suffixes and prefixes and rearrange them. This can help give you cues or insight that you might not have been aware of while scanning the board and pondering your next move. You could end up racking up a lot of points merely by appending the letters ‘er’, ‘es’ or ‘or’ following a word, or the letters ‘dis’, ‘auto’, ‘im’ or ‘in’ in front of a word already on the board.
This is a great tip for adding to a word that has already been created and it provides you with additional jump-off points and ideas for new words.
Learn More Q Words That Don’t Have a ‘U’
Q and Z are the two-letter tiles with the most points value in all of Scrabble. Players often find themselves with a Q tile they are unable to use because they don’t have the letter U to accompany it. There are, however, many words that contain Q and not U that you should know so you can make the most of these situations. Words such as Qaid, Cinq, Qabalah, Qat, Qaf, Qi, and Qin–all words from other languages but commonly used in English–can give you massive points hauls.
Always Plan Your Middle Square Letters
If you play first in Scrabble, you have a big advantage. You are allowed to create any word up to five letters on your first move so long as it also uses the center tile. It makes sense to start with a strong first word because it allows you to start to build a strategy right away. Keep in mind that a strong first word is not necessarily the one that scores the most points right off the bat. In fact, playing exclusively for points is one of the common mistakes made by novice players. How you create and place your first word impacts the bonus squares that your opponent can use right out of the gate.
Your opening move can be either a horizontally or a vertically spelled word, but horizontal is usually the layout of choice for experienced players because a vertical placement gives your opponents more opportunities to make use of the board’s bonus tiles.
Save Your ‘S’s
Many diehard Scrabble fans are of the opinion that the S tile is actually the most valuable one in the game since you can put S on the end of almost any word to make it plural. S’s are doubly useful because not only can you add them to your own words to increase your points, you can tack them onto your opponent’s as well and take advantage of their high-scoring words. S tiles are best used strategically.
Learn Words With X, Y, Z, and J
For inexperienced Scrabble players, ending up with X, Z, and J tiles can seem like bad luck because these are admittedly some of the most difficult letters to make use of. This is, of course, also why they come with the most points attached to them. X and J will net you 8 points apiece, and Z gives you 10.
There are literally thousands of words of varying lengths you can create with these three letters, but you need to do your research to learn them, as many are not commonly used. People who are serious about Scrabble approach the game as something that can be perfected over time. Just because you don’t have a lot of confidence in your vocabulary now, does not mean that you can’t improve it as you go.
Scrabble is both addictive and educational and forces you to rely on your verbal intelligence and creativity. People have been enjoying this game since the 1940s and will undoubtedly love it for many many decades, and perhaps even centuries more. If you are new to Scrabble, keep the above tips in mind, especially when you come up against more experienced players, and you will quickly progress from novice, to intermediate and then on to expert in no time at all.