The key to winning a Scrabble game is to finish with the highest score when all the tiles have been laid down on the table – with emphasis on the phrase “to finish with the highest score.” I said this because many players, mainly beginners, only try to come up with words regardless of the point-value. As a result, they may have laid all their tiles down but still score low at the end of the game.
As with most games, constant practice makes one perfect, or at least, better. In Scrabble, however, you have to know some tricks in order to win.
1. Work with the Q
The letter ‘Q’ is perhaps the most dreaded letter in scrabble, especially if it is not hooked with the letter ‘U’. But did you know that there are 21 words that use a Q without a U? They are: FAQIR(S), QAID(S), QANAT(S), QAT(S), QINDAR(S), QINTAR(S), QINDARKA, QOPH(S), QWERTY(S), SHEQEL, SHEQELIM and TRANQ(S). Other words that may come in handy are QIVIUT(S), MAQUI(S), SUQ(S), UMIAQ(S) and BUQSHA(S).
2. Learn the X, J, Q and Z words
The letters X, J, Q and Z have the highest point-value. Ironically, beginners hate these letters. But if you will just study words that have any of these letters, not only you will have a higher score, you will also prevent your opponent from scoring a bingo.
3. Don’t waste your S’s
Surely, the easiest way to score is to add an S to an existing word on the board. This is good if you will land on a double or triple word score. But if you are just using S without any reason or simply because it is the first possible move you see on the table, you are just giving your opponent an extra move and at the same time, wasting a valuable letter. Play the letter S if the value yields to at least 10 points, lower than that and you are playing to lose. For example, ROLL is just 4 points. If you add S to make it ROLLS, it will just give you 5 points. But if the word is JUMP, adding S on a double word score space will yield 26 points. Keep your S for a while until you can maximize its value.
4. Go Bingo Hunting
Another trick you have to remember is to look for prefixes and suffixes. The word PAIR can become REPAIR or PAIRING or even, REPAIRING. TAIL can be linked with RE- to make it RETAIL or RE- and -ERS to make it RETAILERS. Having the letters S, R, E, I, N and G can be very, very useful.
5. Learn the 2-letter words
When the board begins to get crowded and long words begin to lose their place, you start going for 2-letter words. But if your vocabulary is limited, you cannot simply invent words, right? QI, SO, TO, UP, OW, OX, XI, KI and HO are just an example. There are more. Learn them.
6. Keep your eyes on the board
The ability to spot scoring opportunities is one of the key elements in winning the game. Obviously, you can easily play your S, R and E if you want to score in a hurry. But as much as possible, combine high- or mid-value tile in your rack with colored squares on the board.