OBJECTIVE: The goal of Scrabble is to earn more points than other players by forming interlocking words on the game board in a crossword puzzle fashion. Points are earned by strategically using letter tiles in the formation of words, which each have point values, and by taking advantage of high value squares on the board.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-4 players

MATERIALS: game board, 100 letter tiles, letter bag, four letter racks

TYPE OF GAME: Strategy Board Game

AUDIENCE: Teens and adults


After analyzing games, Scrabble inventor Alfred Mosher Butts wanted to create a game which employed both skill and chance by conjoining features of anagrams and crossword puzzles. Butts studied the English language by diligently calculating letter frequency in The New York Times. From this data, Butts determined letter point values still observed on letter tiles in the game today. Initially, the game was dubbed Lexico, later then Criss Cross Words, before being trademarked as Scrabble in 1948. The definition of the word Scrabble means, appropriately, “to grope frantically.”

Set Up:

Mix up letter tiles in pouch, each player then draws a letter to determine who plays first. The player who draws a letter closest to “A” goes first. The blank tile beats all other tiles. Put letters back into pouch and mix again. Now, each player draws seven letters each and puts them on their tile rack. Players must maintain seven tiles throughout the game.

How To Play:

  • The first player uses 2 or more of their letter tiles to play the first word. First player will place their word on the star square in the center of the game board. All other words played will be built upon this word and words that extend from it. Words can only be placed horizontally or vertically, not diagonally.
  • After a word is played, the turn is completed by counting up and announcing points scored for that turn. Then draw letters from the pouch to replace the ones played in order to maintain seven tiles on the rack unless there are not enough tiles in the pouch.
  • Play moves left.
  • Turns come with three options: play a word, exchange tiles, pass. Exchanging tiles and passing does not earn players points.
    • After player exchanges tiles their turn is over and must wait for their next turn to play a word.
    • Players may pass on any turn but must wait until their next turn to play again. If a player passes two turns consecutively, the game finished and the player with the top score wins.
  • How to play new words:
    • Add one or more letters to words already on the board
    • Put word at right angle to a word on the board already, using at least one letter already one the board or adding to it.
    • Put word parallel to word already played so that the new word uses one letter already played or adds to it.
  • A player gains points for all words made or modified during their turn.
  • Tiles can not be moved or replaced after it has been played.
  • Plays can be challenged before the next turn. If the word challenged is unacceptable, the challenged player must collect their tiles and they lose their turn. If the word challenged is acceptable, the player who challenged it loses their next turn. Dictionaries must be consulted for challenges.
    • Not allowed in play: suffixes, prefixes, abbreviations, words with hyphens, words with apostrophe, proper nouns (words requiring a capital letter), and foreign words that do not appear in the standard English dictionary.
  • The game ends when a player uses their last letter or there are no more remaining plays.

Letter Tiles

Scrabble comes with 100 letter tiles to be used in game play, 98 of which have both a letter and a point value. There are also 2 blank tiles which can be used as wild tiles, these tiles can substituted for any letter. A blank tile in game play remains as the substituted letter for the entirety of the game. Letter tiles each have different point values, the values are dependent upon how common or rare the letter is and the level of difficulty in playing the letter. Blank tiles, however, do not have any point value.

Tile Values

0 Points: Blank Tiles

1 Point: A, E, I, L, N, O, R, S, T, U

2 Points: D, G

3 Points: B, C, M, P

4 Points: F, H, V, W, Y

5 Points: K

8 Points: J, X

10 Points: Q, Z

The Fifty Point Bonus (Bingo!)

If a player is able to use all seven of their tiles on their turn they will receive a 50 point bonus plus the value of the word they played. This is a Bingo! This is only earned with strictly seven tiles- using the remainder of your tiles toward the end of the game which are amount to less then seven does not count.

The Scrabble Board

The Scrabble board is a large square grid: 15 squares tall and 15 squares wide. The letter tiles fit in the squares on the board.

Extra Points

Some squares are the board allow players to collect more points. Depending on the multiplier on the square, tiles placed there will increase in value by 2 or 3 times. Squares may also multiply the value of the total word and not the tile itself. Premium squares may only be used once. These squares apply to blank tiles.

2x Letter Tile Value: Isolated light blue squares double the point value of the individual tile put on that square.

3x Letter Tile Value: Dark blue squares triple the point value of the individual tile put on that square.

2x Word Value: The light red squares, which run diagonally toward the corners of the board, double the value of the entire word when a word is placed on these squares.

3x Word Value: Dark red squares, which are placed on the four sides of the game board, triple the value of a word placed on these squares.


Using a scoring pad or piece of paper, tally each players points collected on each turn.

At the end of the game, players will tally the remaining value of tiles not played to be deducted from their final score.

If a player uses all their letters during play, the sum of the unplayed letters of other player’s is added to their score.

Player with the highest score wins. In the event of a tie, the player with the highest score before unplayed letter modifications (addition or subtraction) wins.


9 Tile Scrabble

Played exactly like original scrabble but uses nine tiles as opposed to seven. Fifty point bingo can be achieved with 7, 8, or 9 tiles.

Finish Line Scrabble

Instead of playing until no plays or tiles remain, players will play until one player reaches a specified score decided at the start of the game. This variation allows mixed-level groups of players because the score needed to win is dependent on skill level.

Beginner                    Intermediate                        Expert

Two Players:                        70                                120                                  200

Three Players:                     60                                100                                  180

Four Players:                       50                                 90                                   160

Scrabble Resources:

Scrabble Dictionary 

Scrabble Word Builder

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