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10 Tips on How to Score Higher in Scrabble

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Rham is a vegan who dabbles in writing fiction and poems. She co-founded Penmancy, a writing platform for amateur poets/fiction writers.

Scrabble is an educational board game for those who have ways with words; a fun activity for family gatherings and other holidays.

Scrabble is an educational board game for those who have ways with words; a fun activity for family gatherings and other holidays.

If you ask for some advice on how to enrich your vocabulary, playing scrabble is surely on the list. I often wonder, however, whether which comes first: have a rich vocabulary and then play scrabble or play scrabble to increase vocabulary. Whichever it is, I am certain that playing board games is always a fun and enriching activity and playing scrabble is one of these board games that definitely strengthen, if not increase, your vocabulary armoury.

But if you aren’t a pro yet, here are 10 tips on how to score higher in a scrabble game.

1. Love your two-letter words

This tip specifically works with letters X, J, Q, and Z because, although it is quite difficult to find a place for them on the board, these tiles are of high value. Words like xi, jo, qi, and za can raise your score to a great extent. Note, however, that these high-value tiles will give you the most points only if you use them in the double- and triple-letters or double- and triple-scores spots.

Let us take a look at the words ‘qi’ (the energy in everything) and ‘xi’ (the 14th letter of the Greek alphabet). Q and X have a value of 10 and 8, respectively. If you put Q in a triple-letter spot, it automatically gives you an initial score of 30. As a result, the word ‘qi’ will fetch you a score of 31. If you have another ‘i’ and put two ‘qi’s in one go, then you will earn a whopping 62 points. The letter X will give you a similar score only that the score will be 12 points lower (8x3+1=25) x 2. You get a score of 50. Isn’t that still amazing?

Jackpot: QI (horizontal) + QI (vertical) scores 62 points.

Jackpot: QI (horizontal) + QI (vertical) scores 62 points.

2. Try to score higher than 10 points

Unless the game is almost over, make it a rule to keep your turn as fruitful as possible. Avoid putting down a scrabble word that has a value of fewer than 10 points. However, if you are hoping that saving some tiles might give you a chance to score higher points or saving some tiles could lead to a conceivable bingo word, always try to score higher than 10 points.

3. Get rid of multiple vowels/consonants

Multiple vowels or consonants hinder a lot of things during the play, and that can be annoying. Since each vowel has a value of 1, and unless you find an open slot on the board where you can pair or insert a few vowels in it, these tiles are best back in the jar. They also block your chance of maximizing a score. But just like knowing how to use high-value tiles like X, J, Q, and Z, you must also familiarize yourself with words that contain two vowels like aa, ae, ai, oe, oi. Disposing of two vowels is making room for the possibility of getting better letters.

In worst-case scenarios wherein all your seven tiles are all vowels, your best approach would be to exchange them in hope of getting an S or a blank or better letters. Decide judiciously.

Chu-chu, Moqi, and Soqi, trying to convince the scrabble player to get rid of the vowels.

Chu-chu, Moqi, and Soqi, trying to convince the scrabble player to get rid of the vowels.

4. Group letters

Grouping letters simply means that, just like being familiar with two-letter words, knowing how to use prefixes (de-, dis-, im-, mid-,fore, etc), suffixes (-ing, -ed, -ly, -age, etc) and diphthongs (ai, oi, ou, etc.) will help you create better words. Scan the board or the letters on your tray for the possibility of scoring higher.

5. Attempt a bingo.

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In scrabble, bingo is a word that utilizes all seven tiles in one word. It means that it can be a 7-letter word or any other longer word as long as all the tiles in your rack or tray are utilised. In this scenario, how vast and deep your vocabulary arsenal plays a crucial role in arming yourself with the right weapon to win the battle. The more lengthy words you know the chances of you creating bingo words are high. The more bingo words you throw the higher your score, considering that bingo gives you 50 extra points.

6. Make use of hook letters to the maximum.

Hook letters are letters that are added at the beginning or at the end of a word that already exists on the scrabble board. These hook letters include S, Y, C, and L, among a few others; with the letter ‘S’ being the most commonly used.

Verbs and nouns are the best places where you can use hook letters effectively. But in order to maximize your score, it would be more beneficial if you can create a new word using a hook letter.

7. Use blank tiles to their maximum potential.

Blank tiles have zero value. But because they can assume any letter, they can provide you with many ways to use them effectively. They are particularly productive when you have two blank tiles at the same time because it would be easier for you to form a word out of the other five tiles on your rack. So even though five letters may not fetch you a higher score, creating a bingo word, however, is more possible.

Maximizing the use of blank tiles by forming a bingo word. Here, the blank tiles will assume the letters E and L to create the word 'weirdly'; the Y is added to 'TREND" making it TRENDY.  SCORE = 84

Maximizing the use of blank tiles by forming a bingo word. Here, the blank tiles will assume the letters E and L to create the word 'weirdly'; the Y is added to 'TREND" making it TRENDY. SCORE = 84

8. Never miss a double- or triple-word score.

Double- and triple-letter scores jack up your overall word score. The letter Y, for example, has a value of 4. If you place that in a double score square and form words such as “YOU” and “YA”, rather than getting a score of 11, you get 22 instead: [6x2 (for YOU)] + [5x2 (for YA)]. So even if the words you form are short, exploiting double and triple-word scores will put you at an advantage.

Tiles like x, y, k, h, m, b, v have higher value. Use them in bonus squares.

Tiles like x, y, k, h, m, b, v have higher value. Use them in bonus squares.

9. A ‘pass’ is an impasse. Avoid it.

A pass is a dead end. You miss out some points if you play 'pass', which gives your opponent/s an upper hand: they get to score points while you don't, and that puts you at a disadvantage. However, you can do two things to avoid being in this situation --

  • One, you scan the entire board and find a place where you can insert a tile or two, for a score of six is better than zero. Doing so would replace a few tiles. Perhaps, you'd get better letters.
  • Two, you can decide which tiles should go and exchange them for new ones. It is as good as a 'pass' but you'll get rid of some of the tiles and replace them for better ones. Just ensure you don’t waste a tile or two for a very low score.

10. Block your opponents from accessing bonus squares.

Bonus squares are those colourful squares on a scrabble board. They are the double-letter, triple-letter, double-word and triple-word scores. As their names suggest, they elevate your score twice or twice. So, if you can’t have them, nobody else should have them either. This sounds selfish, but unless you’re playing just for fun, being selfish in scrabble is acceptable.

© 2022 Ramilyn

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