Never played in a Scrabble club before? Don't worry: the basic rules of regular Scrabble apply in our club, and you'll get used to the differences pretty quickly. Before long, you'll never want to go back to playing the old way.
Players have seven tiles with letters available on racks in front of them. The players take turns making words on a standard board from these tiles, scoring the plays in the usual fashion (including the fifty-point bonus for using all seven tiles in a single turn). After a play is completed, the player replenishes his or her rack from the tiles remaining. When a player has no more tiles left and there are none left to draw from, he or she is "out" and the game is over. The player with the highest score is the winner.
A player may also exchange any or all of the seven tiles, pass a turn, or challenge the previous play.
The important differences between club play and "kitchen table" play are:
- Only two players compete in a single game.
- Games are timed. Each player receives 25 minutes to complete all plays, and 10 points are subtracted for each minute (or fraction thereof) of overtime.
- In North America, there are two valid word sources for challenged plays: the Official Tournament and Club Word List Second Edition (OWL2) for words from two to nine letters in length, and the Long List for words from ten to fifteen letters in length. Please note that the OWL2 incorporates the contents of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary Fourth Edition (OSPD4) and has some additional material (primarily offensive terms and trademarked words which have been accepted into the English language); however, the OSPD4 by itself is not a valid word source.
- Blanks must be designated in writing to avoid confusion.
- The player who goes out receives double the point count of the tiles remaining on the rack of the player who does not go out.
In addition to these, there are various other differences for irregularities in play and the proper protocol to follow during a game. NASPA provides an updated copy of the complete rules, it would be wise to at least get familiar with these.
Remember: If you're ever in doubt, ask one of the club directors. (That's why we're here!)
Exceptions for new players
New players at our club are allowed certain rules exceptions for their first two meetings. These are:
- No fees. Play for free and see what you think. If we're not for you, you've not lost anything!
- No overtime penalties. Since you may not have played Scrabble with a clock before, there will be no penalty if you exceed your allotted 25 minutes. However, please use the clock so you can grow accustomed to the rhythm of playing this way. Once you get used to it you'll never want to play without it. (Note: If you're taking a very long time, the director may call an end to your game to keep things moving along.)
- Free challenges. To make sure we're not up to any funny business, you may challenge your opponent's play without penalty. But be careful... your opponent can challenge your words too, and you can lose your turn in this situation. Basically, if you're going to be courageous enough to play a questionable word, be prepared to stand behind it. (We like courageous new players!)