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Scrabble Rules: How do you Play Scrabble?

Scrabble is a word game for ages 8 and up. This is a game for 2-4 players. It requires a specialized game board, 100 letter tiles, and tile racks.

Game Play

According to Scrabble rules, all tiles should be placed in a letter pouch or placed face down on the table beside the board. Ensure that letters are well mixed, and that players do not know which letter is in what spot. To determine who goes first, each player draws a letter – the player with the letter closest to “A” goes first. The ‘blank’ tile automatically goes first. Ensure you thoroughly remix the tiles before drawing letters. Each player draws 7 letters and places them on his or her letter rack.

According to scrabble rules, there are three main steps to a turn: 

1) Play a Word
2) Total the Score for that Word
3) Draw Tiles to Replace the Tiles Played

The first player must play his or her first word on the center square of the board, the spot that has a ‘star’ on it. All words must be two or more letters long. Words are played either vertically or horizontally. Diagonal word play is not permitted.

Play always moves clockwise (to the left). Each player must play off of words already present on the board. This may involve changing existing words (for example, making the word ‘play’ into ‘player’) or by incorporating a letter into the word you are playing. You may only place letters in a straight line horizontally or vertically. You can place letters in both directions on a single turn. The letters placed must form complete words. Anytime two or more letters touch, they must form valid, legal words. For example, if you add an ‘s’ to an existing word to make it a plural and then build a separate word from that ‘s’ in the opposite direction, you would get full credit for both words. No tile can be moved or shifted once it is played (baring a successful challenge). 

Whenever a word is played, other players may challenge the word if they do not believe it is a real word or it is spelled wrong. According to Scrabble rules, players should agree before the game begins on the dictionary they will use. All words in that dictionary that are labeled as parts of speech, including foreign origin, obsolete, and slang words, are permitted. The only words present in a dictionary that are not legal are as follows: abbreviations, prefixes and suffixes standing alone, words that require a hyphen or apostrophe, and words requiring capitalization. Many Scrabble players opt to buy an Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary. There is also a free online Scrabble dictionary available for use. 

If you want to challenge an opponent’s word, you must challenge it before play moves on to the next player. If the challenged word is not legal, those tiles return to the player’s hand and that player loses the turn. If a word is challenged and it is legal, the challenger loses his or her next turn. If multiple words are made in a turn, all words are challenged when one word is challenged. If any of the words are not legal, all tiles are returned to their owner’s hand and that player loses his or her turn. The dictionary should only be consulted if a word is actually challenged, and should never be used before a word is played for verification purposes.

Score Keeping

One player should be elected as the score keeper. The scorekeeper should double-check the tally for each word. Each letter tile has the value of that letter. Unless the tile is on a Premium Letter Square, these should be counted at face value and totaled for the word. 

According to scrabble rules, there are two types of premium squares: Premium Letter and Premium Word Squares. A light blue square is a Premium Letter Square and it doubles the score of the letter placed on it. A dark blue square is a Premium Letter Square and it triples the score of the letter placed on it. A pink square is a Premium Word Square and if any letter from a word is placed on this square, the value of the entire word is doubled. A red square is a Premium Word Square and if any letter from a word is placed on this square, the value of the entire word is tripled. When calculating the value of a word that is on a Premium Word Square, Premium Letter Squares should be factored into the word total first. Premium squares only count on the first turn they are used on. If a subsequent turn uses a letter that was previously placed on a premium square, the tile on that square is only worth it’s face value. The only time a premium square is active for more than one word is if more than one word is created with a letter on a premium square on a single turn. Only use premium squares that are under tiles used in a given word when calculating point totals for each word created in a turn. For example, if you create ‘jobs’ and ‘cakes’ by adding the ‘S’ tile to the end of the existing word ‘job’, and the ‘K’ tile is on a red square, you would count ‘jobs’ for it’s face value (13) but you would triple the value of ‘cakes’ (30) and your total for the turn would be 43 points.

According to scrabble rules, if a player is able to play all 7 tiles in a single turn, in addition to the score for that word, that player is awarded 50 points.

Winning the Game

When one player plays his or her last tile, and no more tiles are available to draw, the game is over per scrabble rules. Any remaining tiles should be subtracted from that player’s score. The player with the highest score wins the game. You may opt to allow each player one turn to attempt to play as many of his or her remaining tiles as possible. 

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