SCRABBLE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - GAME PLAY
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What are acceptable plays in SCRABBLE?
- In SCRABBLE, it is acceptable to simply add one or more letters to a word, to either the front or back or to both the front and back.
- If you want, you can add just an S to a word already on the board.
- You may play at right angles to a word.
- You may play parallel to a word as long as adjacent letters form words horizontally and vertically.
What is an unacceptable play in SCRABBLE?
- You may not play tiles diagonally across the board in SCRABBLE.
- Note: The tiles you play must be contained in one word or played in a straight line.
Can you extend a word in two directions simultaneously in one turn?
For instance, ARM is on the board, and I'd like to extend it to CHARMED in one turn? Is that within the rules of SCRABBLE?
Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to extend in front of and/or at the end of a word in one turn, as long as all the letters are played in the same turn. So, in this case, since the C, H, E and D are all used to spell CHARMED, it's well within the rules of SCRABBLE to do so.
What happens if a player discovers eight tiles on his or her rack instead of seven?
There is no discussion in the boxed rules of SCRABBLE about what to do in this situation. The National Scrabble Association has devised a rule that seems to work very well for our SCRABBLE clubs and tournaments: The opponent randomly draws three tiles from the offending player's rack, looks at them all, and then chooses which two to return to the pool of letters. The remaining tile goes back to the player's rack. If a player overdraws two tiles, then the opponent randomly draws four tiles from the player's rack, chooses which two to replace in the pool, and returns the other tiles to the player. And so on. In each case, the offending player may see all the tiles seen by the opponent.
This overdrawing penalty influences most players to draw their tiles more carefully. One further note about overdrawing: If the overdrawing player realizes s/he has overdrawn before mixing any of the new tiles with the old ones, then the opponent should randomly choose tiles only from the group of newly drawn tiles, while following the instructions given above.
Are there special rules in SCRABBLE for playing the blank tiles?
The official rules of SCRABBLE do not allow a player, later in the game, to change the letter that the blank represents. Likewise, a player may not replace the blank with the letter it represents and use the blank in another word. At the National Scrabble Association's clubs and tournaments, this rule is strictly enforced. The National Scrabble Association also advises that to avoid later confusion, both players record on his or her score sheet what letter the blank represents at the time it's played.
Those of you who'd like a game with more scoring chances may play the variation that allows players to replace a blank on the board with the letter (from your rack) it represents. The drawback (or advantage) to this version of SCRABBLE is the increased luck factor.
Can I exchange tiles whenever I want?
A player may exchange tiles (from one to seven) as long as there are at least seven tiles still in the bag. Decide which tiles you want to exchange first. Then remove them from your rack and place them facedown on the table. Only then may you draw your new tiles, place them on your rack, and replace the exchanged tiles back into the pool.
When playing Scrabble, how do I challenge a word played by another player?
When can I challenge? What is the outcome if the challenge is incorrect?
Any play may be challenged before the next player starts a turn. If the play challenged is unacceptable, the challenged player takes back his/her tiles and loses that turn (and any score.) If the play challenged is acceptable, the challenger loses his/her next turn. All words (not just one) made in one play are challenged simultaneously. If any word is unacceptable, the entire play is unacceptable. Only one turn is lost on any challenge.
When is the game over?
The boxed rules in SCRABBLE mention that the game is over when a player uses all of his or her tiles and there are no more tiles to draw. That player then earns the points still remaining in all the other players' racks, while the others subtract from their point total the sum of the points still on their rack.
In National Scrabble Association Club and Tournament play, we use a slightly different rule. The player who ends the game earns double the sum of the letters on the other players' racks, and the other players subtract nothing from their total. Example: Player #1, with 323 points, ends the game while Player #2, with 320, still has EMP on his rack. Player #1 should receive 2 x (1 + 3 + 3) = 14 points extra. The final total would be Player #1 337, Player #2 320.
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