In 1933, during the height of the Great Depression, an out-of-work architect named Alfred Mosher Butts invented a game that would bring joy to millions of Americans.
Fast forward to today, and Scrabble continues to delight millions of people all over the world.
We compiled a list of tips and tricks players of all skill levels can use the next time they play this iconic game. So call up your friends and schedule a game night because you’ll want to put these 12 Scrabble hacks into action.
Place letters around bonus tiles.
Even if you aren’t able to get a high-scoring word, use these spots. It will cut off your opponents and prevent them from running up the score.
Keep your eyes on these eight magic letters: A, E, I, L, N, R, S, and T.
Memorize two-letter and three-letter words so you can rack up points.
They’re hard to pull off, but knowing two-letter and three-letter words can be the kiss of death for your opponents if you place them on bonus spaces.
Be on the lookout for Scrabble “bingos.”
So keep your eyes pealed! A move like this could decide the winner.
Know your prefixes and suffixes.
Common examples for suffixes include S, -ED, -ER, -ING, -LY, -ENT, -IEST, -FUL, -ITY, -NESS, -CY, -AL, -TION, -ITE in addition to prefixes NON-, EX-, TRI-, PRE-, and MIS-.
For example, if you add the suffix “ER” to “JUMP,” you can make the word “JUMPER.” Or if your opponent played the word “VERBAL,” you can add the prefix “NON” to make “NONVERBAL” and rack up points.
These prefixes and suffixes can also be handy to make Bingo and get the 50 point bonus.
Use Q sooner rather than later.
As Scrabble pros know, Q is perhaps the toughest letter to use during a game because there aren’t many words that use the letter. Your best bet when getting a Q on your letters deck is to use it the first opportunity you can.
Moreover, if there’s a power spot open, placing your Q there can give you the edge over your opponents.
And learn words that use Q but don’t need a U.
You might be saving that Q because you’re missing a U in your rack — don’t! There are 33 words in the Scrabble dictionary, from Faqir to Tranqs, that use a Q but no U.
Save letters J, X, or Z for double or triple points.
Besides the letter Q, another way to get big points on the board is with the letters J, X, and/or Z. You’ll have a much easier time using these letters than Q since they’re more commonly used in the English language.
Furthermore, if you use them in the right spaces — double letter, double word, triple letter, and triple words — you can rack up double or possibly even triple digit points in a single round.
Try to find opportunities for “hooks.”
A hook in Scrabble is when you alter an opponent’s word with a letter of your own and build a whole new word in the opposite direction. This not only allows you to get the points from your new word, but your opponent’s word, too.
Take the photo above as an example. By adding an S to “ZIP,” the player was able to build off a new word and get points from “ZIP,” too.
S words are only the beginning — here’s a full list of some good hook ideas in Scrabble.
And use parallels wisely.
If you want to get rid of your vowels but still rack up points, parallels are a great idea. You play them parallel to another word already on the board, and get points for every new word you create.
Experts recommend waiting for a sweet spot that’s near a bonus square or with a high value letter. Knowing your two- and three-letter words will come in handy here.
Read the dictionary or subscribe to a word of the day.
Relive the days of preparing for the SAT by subscribing to a Word of the Day newsletter or even reading the dictionary! You’ll improve your vocabulary, which will make you a more formidable Scrabble opponent.
Plus, having a bigger vocabulary can’t hurt you in your professional life.
If times get tough, trade in your letters.
Even though you give up your turn, swapping tiles on your letters deck during tough times can help your chances of scoring the next time around.
Only exchange letters if you’re truly desperate — it forces you to give up your turn, which is a major downside — and be sure to follow rules for trading them in.