How to Play

Would you like to learn how to play SCRABBLE®? It’s the world’s most popular word game. Here are the basic rules.

The objective of the game is to form words using individual letter tiles. Players take turns attaching words to each other and score points for each word. At the end of the game, when the tile bag is empty, the player with the most points wins!

If you wish, you can click here to download an exercise sheet that explains the basics of forming words and scoring.

This Rules Quick Reference teaches you the essential rules for playing at an official SCRABBLE® club or tournament. The complete rule book can be found here.

The following is an excerpt taken directly from the official NASPA rule book, in the section titled Appendix: Basic Rules of Play and Scoring. For the complete rule book, visit scrabbleplayers.org.

A.I. Making Plays

A.I.A. The First Play of the Game

The first player places two or more letters on the board to form a word in either a horizontal or vertical position, with one tile covering the center square. The center square is considered a double word score square. Any player has the option of passing or exchanging tiles instead of playing.

A.I.B. Subsequent Plays

The game continues as players add one or more letters to those already played to form a new word or words. All words added to the board must join with tiles already played and must make new words wherever they join with existing tiles. The player gets credit for all words played in this fashion. Diagonal words are not permitted. All tiles added to the board in any individual play must help to spell one main horizontal or vertical word; otherwise the play must be removed.

A.I.C. How New Words are Formed on the Board

Assume  A R M is already on the board. You may:

1. Add one or more letters to a word already on the board.

Examples:

H A R M

A R M E D

C H A R M E D

A R M S

2. Place a word at right angles to a word already on the board. The new word must use at least one of the letters already on the board or must add a letter to a word or words on the board.

Examples:

H A R M
A
D

 

A R M
    I
    D

 

3. Place a complete word parallel to a word already played, so that adjoining letters also form complete words.

Example:

M E A L
A  R M

A.II. Scoring

A.II.A. Letter Values

The score value of each letter is indicated by a number at the bottom of the tile. The blanks have a score value of zero.

A.II.B. Scoring Each Play

The score for each turn is the sum of the letter values in EACH word formed or modified during the play, plus the additional points obtained from placing letters on premium squares.

A turn using all seven tiles earns a 50-point bonus. Such a play is commonly called a  “bingo.”

A.II.C. Double and Triple Letter Bonus Squares

1. A Double Letter Score square doubles the score of a letter placed on it.

2. A Triple Letter Score square triples the score of a letter placed on it.

A.II.D. Double and Triple Word Bonus Squares

1. The center square and any square labeled Double Word Score doubles the score of an entire word when one of its letters is placed on it.

2. A Triple Word Score square triples the score for an entire word when one of its letters is placed on it.

A.II.E. Score DLSs and TLSs before DWSs and TWSs

When scoring a turn, all premiums from double or triple letter values, if any, are totaled before doubling or tripling the word score.

A.II.F. Double-Double (DWS-DWS)

If a word is formed that covers two Double Word Score squares, the score is doubled and then redoubled, or is four times the total letter count.

A.II.G. Triple-Triple (TWS-TWS)

If a word is formed that covers two Triple Word Score squares, the score is tripled and then tripled again, or is nine times the total letter count.

A.II.H. Bonus Squares Score on One Turn Only

The letter premium squares and the word premium squares apply only to the turn in which they are originally covered by a word. In all subsequent turns, letters on those squares count only at face value.

A.II.I. Using the Blank on a DWS or TWS

When a blank tile is played on a Double Word Score square or a Triple Word Score square, the value of the word is doubled or tripled even though the blank itself has a zero score value.