15 Strategies To Improve Your Scrabble Skills
Scrabble is a game of words loved by many people across the globe. The game invented in the early 1930s has since grown to be the most popular word game globally. Scrabble is currently translated into 22 languages, which has made very many regions in the globe part of the game. Although many people prefer playing this game on a scrabble board, it is still possible to play it online.
The fact that millions of people love this game does not necessarily mean that they know how to play it. The pride and the prizes that come with winning national and global scrabble tournaments make mastering this game even more enjoyable. How can one master this game to equal or be somewhere close to renowned kings of this game such as Nigel Richards? Are there hidden secrets used by masters of this game that you should use to improve scrabble skills? Keep reading to find out.
This game's basis translates to your ability to form legitimate words with the seven tiles you are given. Although this seems straightforward, it needs some tricks, especially if you want a high score. With the strategies below, you will always find yourself ready for any scrabble game.
1. Use 2-3 letters words
2-3 letter words are scarcely used in conversations and word games such as scrabble. Understanding 2-3 letter words will positively boost what you score in the game. If you think about it, longer words may seem easier to attract high scores, but they take time and some thinking to build them up in a real sense. Additionally, contrary to a few letter words, longer words are riskier since a miss in one of the tiles can give your opponent the opportunity of defeating you. If you are a serious scrabble gamer, start by memorizing some 2-3 letter words and trying them in the game.
2. Understand the basics of scrabble board control
The rule of thumb in scrabble board control is to maximize the number of openings on the board if you are losing and minimizing the opening for your opponent when you are winning. When opening the board, you should make plays with minimal overlapping. Also, concentrate on creating many bingo lanes, enabling you to use all your seven tiles and earn yourself a bonus of 50 points. When closing the board, do the opposite of the moves above.
3. Make good use of Hook words.
To be a master of perpendicular plays, then you should be on the lookout for hook words. The most common hook is pluralizing words with an S. Other than this, it may be helpful if you focus on hook letters used before and after any words.
4. Take advantage of the letter S and blank tiles
There are only 4 S letter tiles in the game of scrabble. If you make good use of these tiles, you can scoop good points in this game. For example, you should only use the S-tiles in combinations that give you 8-10 points to a turn. The blank tiles are the other kind of special tiles in the game of scrabble. Although these tiles do not earn you any points, they can stand in for any letter. This means that these tiles are very useful when building 7 letters words. Similarly, you should not use blank tiles if you will not earn 35 points or more.
5. Use compound words
Compound words are two words combined to make a single officially accepted word. Words like playground and tabletop may help you scoop some points to your side. To have a clear perspective of the compound words you could use, always do a word shuffle on your tray severally.
6. Take advantage of the Benjamins
A Benjamin is a three-letter prefix commonly added to 5 letter words to make 8 letter words. This technique can earn you extra points, especially when you are on your lows. An example of a Benjamin is “out” in “outjumps”. While this may seem like a beginner’s strategy, it is used in national and international tournaments.
7. Target bonus squares
As mentioned above, scrabble is a highly strategic game. You may think that you have mastered the game by learning a few tricks, but this is not necessarily the case. To maximize big letter tiles, you should focus on removing them from the double and triple squares. If you successfully get out a big consonant on a double or a triple letter square, it can positively boost your score. Surprisingly, targeting these bonus squares is more important than the length of the words, which is contrary to many beginner players' thinking.
8. Devise a way to arrange your tiles all the time
This is one of the easiest strategies you can use to improve your scrabble skills. The importance of always arranging your tiles the same way is that you can easily learn common repetitions and themes between racks. If you have a particular way of arranging your tiles, it will be easier to spot common long words that you have seen before.
Arranging your tiles alphabetically is one of the ways you can adopt in all your games.
9. Master several "Q-without-U" words
Words such as qadi, qoph, qwerty, qindar, faqir, and qanat are some of the highest-scoring words in the game of scrabble. Considering that most "q" words come before a "u", "q without u words" are somehow unique and this is the main factor they are high scoring in this word game. More importantly, it would be best if you kept in mind that this game contains only 4 "u" tiles and that the "q" is one of the highest-scoring tiles .
10. Understand the deeper values of letters
If you want to be an expert in scrabble, you must be ready to understand the rough value of letters. For example, the reason why the letter V is worth more points than the letter E is because V is less friendly on the board than E. Due to this reason, starting an empty rack with a V tile will earn you more points at the end of the day compared to doing the same with an E.
11. Always attack when an opportunity arises
As much as scrabble is a strategic game, you sometimes have to take your chances rather than holding your tiles until a perfect opportunity arises. For instance, as long as the move you are about to make will not leave your opponent with an open space, you may choose to take the risk of taking the high scores. Attacking in all possible instances in most cases leaves your opponent with no other choice but submission.
12. Hold some vowels and consonants
If you have played scrabble before, you would agree with me that the shortage of vowels or constants is very heartbreaking, especially when you have almost gathered your letters for a word. At any given time, try not to use all your vowels and consonants. You can easily do this by using the rough value of letters and weighing whether the points you will get on playing off more letters outweigh the points you are expecting to lose on keeping unbalanced tiles.
13. Play a defensive game if necessary
There are instances when you realize that you have poorly scoring letters. The only way to ensure that you remain top of the game in such a case is by playing a defensive game. Defense tactics in scrabble include blocking every double and triple score from your opponent, leaving no openings for your opponent to make a move, and using the 2-3 letters words strategy.
14. Confirm the value of your options before you make a move
It is always wise to figure out the impact of the move you will do next, not only in the game of scrabble but also in other games. You should evaluate the value of options available to you, including parallel plays, bonus squares, and tile value variations. While you may think that making 6-letter words is an expert move, you may be surprised to realize that it earns you fewer points than other shorter words.
15. Study the official Dictionary
The official scrabble Dictionary contains a list of all the words that are acceptable in the game. Since the dictionary has lots of words, actually more than 190,000 words, it is challenging even for scrabble masters to read and master them all. What you should probably do is focus on words that can make you score highly in the game. Some of these words include:
- 2-3 letters words discussed above
- Four letter words as extensions of the 2-3 letters words
- Words with out of the box combinations
- Bonus words- 7 or 8 letters words
- Vowel heavy words
If you want a clear understanding of the scrabble game vocabulary, visit vickywords.com for the latest version of both the US (NWL) and the UK (CSW) published dictionary versions. On my website, you will benefit from other tools such as the scrabble word finder, anagram solver, scrabble tutorial, which will help you get any word you want to master and its points.
I must say that mastering scrabble is not a one day hustle. You have to put in the effort in mastering how to use the tricks above to ensure that you always score good points in all games you play. Since these tactics may be overwhelming to use all at a go, you should probably consider picking one and trying it on several games to see how it works for you. If you manage to do the same for all the strategies above, you will improve your scrabble skills and be a better player at the end of it all!