Today, April 13th, is National Scrabble Day!
Scrabble is a game I grew up with and still love to play. I remember my grandmother sitting around with me many a day (or evening) playing games or putting together puzzles. My memories from that time are very pleasant, and as such it is a tradition I have carried over for my children. Scrabble is often on the game day (or night) list!
The board above shows the grid you will play on. The first thing you need to do is set the board on a flat surface, where it won't get bumped. That last tip is important. You don't want to set this up on the bed or couch because I guarantee you, you'll spend more time re-settling the letters in their proper spots than you will playing the actual game (experience is a great teacher). ;)
Each player will then randomly select (7) letter tiles from the drawstring bag, being sure the others in the game do not see them.
The tiles get placed on a wood tile bar, facing only the player to whom they belong.
Each player takes their turn to create a word with the tiles they have, building off of the words created by everyone that are on the board. You can add one letter to an existing word, make parallel words, bridge two words, or create new words, IF all of the letters involved create real words (in every direction they touch). The words have to meet the rules... no proper names, no acronyms, etc.
As a long-time player, I have five tips to offer, that I'm sure many of you can relate to in an instant.
- Keep a dictionary on hand, the longer the game goes, the more challenging it will get. When tiles start running out, and the letters available to make words are scarce, someone (or more than someone...or someone on multiple turns is going throw out a doozey of a 'word'...and you're going to have to look it up for clarification.
- If kids are playing, they're going to attempt to throw in acronyms even though they are, per the rules, clearly not permitted. Don't allow this even if the acronym is very popular...not even once, because the kids will run with it and no matter how text or social media savvy you are, you just can't compete with kids for knowing trendy acronyms.
- Someone's going to try and cheat...and you're all probably going to laugh. When you get down to just Q's and Z's on your tiles, believe you me, everyone is racking their brain to think of something that will work and get them some points.
- Blank tiles feel like you've won the lottery. You might be tempted to use them the first time you have a bit of a challenge. Don't. Hold on to those for when you get towards the end of the game and you have REAL challenges. Remember, patience is a virtue. ;)
- The game is going to get competitive, and if your family is like ours...it's going to get loud. Have fun with it, and realize everyone involved is a winner because you're getting the biggest perk of all by playing: friend/family time!
Scrabble is sold in 121 countries, with 29 different language versions. It comes in the traditional style I've photographed here, and it comes in different versions as well. I'm thinking the electronic version might be fun to get, and we already have a bookshelf travel version as well (oh yes, we do love this game). Scrabble is intended for 2-4 players, ages 8+
You can purchase it in stores everywhere, or on the Hasbro website.
Happy National Scrabble Day!