The Ultimate Guide to Scrabble Rules
SCRABBLE — to some it's just a game, to others it's a matter of life and death.
Are you looking for a friendly Scrabble game? Or, once the game starts, do you no longer see your family and friends as your loved ones, but as enemies?
Are you a Scrabble newbie, or a pro wanting to brush up on your skills?
Here are all the rules and tips you need to know to become a Scrabble master.
What's more, if you want to play your way to victory with every game, take a look at our word finder tool. You just need to enter in the letters you have, and our tool will give you the words with the highest score.
Prepare to Play
Before you sit down and start playing Scrabble, go through these steps:
Get Everything Ready
You don’t want to have to get up in the middle of the game because you forgot something.
- Game board
- Letter racks
- Cloth bag for the letter tiles
- 100 letter tiles
- Paper and pencil for keeping score
- 2–4 people
Pick a Dictionary
Before you start playing Scrabble, settle on a dictionary beforehand in case of challenges and potential disagreements during the game. If your opponent forms a word you think is invalid, use the dictionary to check it.
Words that are allowed, include:
- Parts of speech
- Obsolete words
- Foreign origin words
Words that are not allowed, include:
- Prefixes and suffixes standing alone
- Words that need a hyphen or an apostrophe
- Words that need capitalization
You can also use the official Scrabble Hasbro dictionary to check the word online using their website.
Distribute the Letters Evenly
You want to ensure the letters are fairly distributed. To achieve this:
- Put all the tiles in the bag
- Close the bag
- Shake the bag
Choose the First Turn
Move the bag around; each player has to take one tile. Everyone places the letters face-up in front of them, and the player that gets the letter closest to “A” gets to play first.
Put the tiles back in the bag and shake it once again. Every player picks another tile, and if someone draws a blank tile, they start the game.
Draw the Tiles
Each player draws seven tiles, starting with the player who has the tile closest to the letter “A”.
Don't show your letters to your opponents. Instead, put them on the tile rack. Then, give the bag to the next players until everyone has chosen their seven tiles.
Here are all the scrabble rules you need to know.
Play always has to move clockwise, and every player has to play off words already on the board. This can include:
- Changing current words — i.e., “WORK” into “WORKER”
- Adding a letter onto the word they are playing
The word can be laid out vertically or horizontally, but it cannot be diagonal. However, you can put the letters in both directions in one turn.
Every time letters touch on the board, they have to form valid words.
For example, if you add an "S" to an already formed word to change it into a plural, and then you use this "S" to build another word in the other direction, you get points for both words you made.
Fact: Once played, you can't change the position of any tiles.
Playing the First Word
The person with the tile closest to “A” has the first turn.
The word they make must have at least two letters. This word goes on the star square, which is located in the center of the board.
When you calculate the score, don't forget that the first player has the right to double their score. This is because the star square is a Premium Square, and it has a double bonus.
For example, if the word has 5 points, the player gets a score of 10.
Draw New Tiles
After every turn, you have to draw from the bag the number of tiles you just played. For example, if you used five tiles to create a word on the previous turn, you then get to draw five more.
Place these letters on your tile rack, and then pass the bag to the next player in line.
Build on Other Players' Words
On your next turn, add to the words already on the board. You are not allowed to create an independent word — instead, you have to expand onto the words your competitors have just played.
Don't forget to take into account all the connected tiles as you build onto your opponents' words.
It's possible to make more than one word if you connect to tiles from other directions. Just make sure they are all valid.
Obtain the Highest Possible Score
Always check if it's possible to do multiple words during your turns. If not, choose the letter that will get you the highest score.
Try to incorporate letters with high-value, such as “Z” or “Q”.
And don't forget about Premium Squares — they’re the best and easiest way to gain extra points.
Available Premium Scrabble Squares are:
- Double Word Score — Pink. A word that has a letter placed here gets a double point value.
- Triple Word Score — Red. A word that has a letter placed here gets a triple point value.
- Double Letter Score — Light blue. A letter placed here gets double the point value.
- Triple Letter Score — Dark blue. A letter placed here gets a triple point value.
You can also get a “bingo”, which happens when you use all seven tiles to play a word. Add up the value of your word, plus bonuses from Premium squares, and then add 50 points.
The easiest way to make sure you’re always the player with the highest score is to use our Scrabble Word Finder. Just put in the letters you have, and you’ll get the highest scoring word available in seconds.
Challenge Other Players
If you believe your opponent has misspelled or created a non-existing word, you have the right to challenge them before the game moves on to the next turn.
Check the word in the dictionary you agreed upon before the start of the game. If multiple plays were made in one turn, then all of them are challenged.
If the word is correct, then it can stay on the board. The player gets the points, while the player who challenged them has to give up their turn.
If their word is misspelled or it’s not in the dictionary, the tiles are returned to the owner. The player doesn't get points and loses their turn.
Exchanging the Tiles You Don't Want
It's possible to discard the tiles you don't want for the new ones.
However, to obtain new letters, you have to discard your turn.
Put all the tiles you don't want in the bag, shake it, and then draw the same number of letters as you discarded.
- Select a scorekeeper — Each player says their score after counting it, and the scorekeeper writes it down.
- Pay attention to Premium Score squares — You can't use bonuses from these squares if you counted them in a previous turn, or if they were used by another player.
- Add up each player's points once they have used the letters or can't form words any longer — Every player has to let the scorekeeper know the value of the letters they have left. This value is deducted from each player's total points to get the final score, and the Scrabble game ends.
- Declare the winner.
Here are the scores of each letter:
|Points||Letters and number of tiles|
|0||Blank tiles x2|
|1||E x12, A x9, I x9, O x8, N x6, R x6, T x6, L x4, S x4, U x4|
|2||D x4, G x3|
|3||B x2, C x2, M x2, P x2|
|4||F x2, H x2, V x2, W x2, Y x2|
|8||J x1, X x1|
|10||Q x1, Z x1|
You are now a Scrabble expert — you know everything one needs to know about how to play the game.
We wish you luck on your Scrabble journey, and may you wipe the floor with all of your opponents.
If you want to become a true Scrabble master (and make others weep in front of your greatness), take a look at the best scrabble tips for new players, and Scrabble tips to up your game.