Back in 1933, an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts invented a board game that many people embraced and loved. To date, millions continue to enjoy Scrabble and compete at different levels. Scrabble is one of the best classic games. To some, it’s just a game to pass time and have fun, but to others, it’s a serious competition. Like any other game, beating your opponents, especially your friends, is a source of pride and gives you the bragging rights.
If you want to beat your opponents, whether online or in real Championships, then you must be a master in strategy and vocabulary. Having an extensive vocabulary will help you unscramble words easily while strategy will help you to score big and beat your opponent.
Below, we will show you how to become a Scrabble master.
Learn Board Placement Strategies
Play the “Hot Spots”
Hot spots are the bonus squares on the board. Knowing how to take full advantage of these squares is definitely one of the most important high-scoring strategies. You cannot be Scrabble master if you don’t know how to utilize the triple letter/word and double letter/word squares. Playing high-scoring letters/words on these spaces can put you way ahead of your opponent. However, you also need to play defensive moves so that you don’t give your opponent the chance to take advantage of these squares.
Lookout for Scrabble “Bingos”
Have you ever played a “Bingo?” If you have, then you know that there’s no better feeling in the game. For those who don’t know, a Scrabble “Bingo” is when you use all seven tiles in your rack to form one word. When this happens, you get 50 points in addition to the points of the word. For instance, the word “quickly” will earn you 75 points (25 points + 50 bonus points) without taking into account the bonus squares.
Hooks in Scrabble are single letters that you can add to existing words to form new ones. This is an excellent way to get the most points from a single letter as you get points from your word and the opponent’s word. For instance, you can turn the word “RAVE” into “RAVEL” or “GRAVE.”
The parallels strategy involves playing a word parallel to another word already on the board. This allows you to fetch extra points as you score for each new word formed. Played well, this strategy can win you the game.
Learn Tricks for Building Words
Know How to Use the Prefixes and Suffixes
Prefixes and suffixes enable you to get points from your opponent’s words. There are countless words that end in –ED, -ING, -LY, -CY, and many other suffixes. Similarly, there are endless words that begin with IN-, UN-, MIS-, NON-, and others. Learn to use them whenever you have the chance, and you’ll score big. In fact, they increase your chances of making a Bingo.
For a Scrabble master, the letters J, Q, X, and Z present the chance to get big points. Learn as many words that have these letters as you can to help you form high-scoring words. Better yet, save them for bonus squares.
2-letter and 3-Letter Words
These words are hard to pull off but can help you a great deal, especially if you place them on bonus squares. Words such as QI, ZA, OX, QAT, OWL, WAX, and many more can make a huge difference.
The Blank Tile
A Scrabble master must know how to use the blank tile effectively. Don’t waste it on simple words. Instead, use it for your Bingo or for high-scoring possibilities.
Master Offensive and Defensive Strategies
Open the Board
Open the game with a Bingo whenever you can, but if it’s not possible, begin with a five to six letter word. This will create more opportunities on the board, but be careful as it also gives your opponent more options.
Close the Board
Closing the board is a defensive tactic that limits the opponent. Parallels are a great way to close, but remember the more you close the board for the opponent, the more you limit your opportunities too.
Just like in a game of cards, it’s very important to track which letters are used up and which ones are remaining in the bag. This way, you’ll be able to adjust your game accordingly, especially towards the end.
Learn From the Best
If you want to become a Scrabble master, it makes sense to follow the best and learn from them. Even if you can’t be able to attend their clubs or tournaments to watch them play, you can still learn from them by reading their blogs and books. You will learn different strategies and get useful tips to improve your game.
Visual journalist/Graduating student, University of Missouri-Columbia. Lover of everything in the gaming industry and an avid fan of all films!