If you’ve ever played Scrabble, you know that it can be frustrating to see your opponent make all the right moves while you sit helplessly with one point on the board. This isn’t because your opponent has an awesome vocabulary — though of course, that helps! — but rather because they are familiar with the strategies needed to succeed at Scrabble. Here are our strategies to help you win at Scrabble, no matter what kind of player your opponent may be!
Strategy #1 – Get Off to a Good Start by Placing High-Point Letters
The first thing you want to do when starting a game of scrabble is placing your high-point letters. You need high-point letters in order to rack up the points early on. If you have anything from an A to a Z, you should try and get it on the board as quickly as possible. This will give you the most points in the game, but also put pressure on your opponent.
Strategy #2 – Use All Seven Tiles Wisely
One of the most common mistakes people make when playing scrabble is using up all their tiles too quickly. There are many strategies that you can use in order to make the most out of your tiles, and this one is one of the simplest. Just try not to use all seven letters at once. If you find yourself with only vowels left, don’t just play them willy-nilly and hope for a good result. Try making a word like SARAN or CARAT. Even if these words don’t get you any points, they might block other players from making words on certain columns, which could help you win. Another great strategy is to take note of what letter each player has used so far in the game and then create words based on those letters.
Strategy #3 – Build on Existing Letters
This strategy is not as obvious as it may seem. It is important to note that you should only use this strategy when the letter you need is on a tile already in the word. The reason for this is that if you put your letter on a tile with an existing letter and then get rid of that letter, it will turn into a blank space. If you have one of the seven letters in the word abhorrent, then getting rid of those tiles will create a blank space and make it harder for yourself later on in the game. So what should you do? Just add your letter to the beginning or end of another word! For example, if I had the letter A, I could add my tile to the end of taboo which would give me three points (two from taboo plus one from A) and keep my board nice and tidy.
Strategy #4 – Understand Letter Frequency
The frequency of letters in English is a great place to start when you’re trying to improve your game. Some letters are more common than others, and knowing this can give you the edge you need. There are 26 letters in the alphabet, but ‘E’ is the most commonly used letter in English with 13% of all words having an ‘E’ in it. The next most common letter, ‘T’, has a frequency of 9%. So where does that leave the other 25 letters? Well, two of them (I and O) have frequencies as high as 5%, while one letter (Q) is only used 2% of the time!
Bonus Strategy – Learn Q Words
One of the most overlooked strategies for success in scrabble is learning how to play Q words without using the letter U. The letter Q is the least used letter in English, and it can be difficult to find words that use it. Learning how to play with and without U will guarantee you will become a better scrabble player overall.
We also recommend visiting Merriam Webster or Dictionary.com if you wish to expand your vocabulary.
Strategy #5 – Rearrange Your Tiles
If you happen to be stuck in the middle of the board and don’t know what to do, turn over all of your tiles. Notice the common prefixes and suffixes on your tiles and rearrange them. This will give you visual cues you may not have noticed before while searching the board for your next move. You may get a word with a huge score just by adding -ED, -ES, -OR, after a word or DIS-, AUTO-, IM-, IN- before a word that is already on the board. This is a great way to extend a word that already exists on the board. It also gives you more jumping-off points and inspiration for new words, too.
If you really need help, try a tool that can unscramble words. Simply enter the letters you have, and these tools can tell you what words you can create. For example, if you can’t figure out what to do with ERDI, it will tell you to form “Dire” or “Ride.”
Strategy #6 – Save Up Your S’s
Ss are really versatile and really handy, many people might argue that they are the most important letter in the game. Placing an S after just any word transforms it into its plural form. By doing this, you will be able to earn points off of your opponents’ high-scoring letters, as well as the high-scoring letters of your own. Reserve your S tiles, and use them when it’s optimal.
Strategy #7 – Be Aware of Bonuses (Lines, Doubles)
Here are a few things you can do when considering if you should play a word or not. First, make sure that the word is in the scrabble dictionary and that it meets all the criteria for being playable (i.e., it has three letters and doesn’t use any of your tiles). Second, count how many points the word will be worth if it’s played on one of your turns (i.e., single letter words are worth 1 point, two letter words are worth 2 points, and so on). You’ll also want to factor in bonuses like doubles and lines.
Strategy #8 – Have fun!
This may sound too simple, but it really is the best advice. Playing scrabble should be fun and you should not take it too seriously. It is a game after all. If you are having fun, chances are your opponent is as well and the game will be more enjoyable for both of you. To keep things light-hearted, try using words that are harder to spell like zyzzyvas or qwertyuiop which can often result in hilariously misspelled words. Not only does this make the game more amusing, but it also has some advantages on the board since many people do not know how to spell these words.
We hope you found this quick guide helpful and now that you are equipped with this new knowledge, why don’t you head out to Scrabble or Word with Friends if you are looking out to try out these strategies. Good luck and have fun!