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Facebook Scrabble Winning Strategies
Scrabble in real life is different than online
Playing for keeps: online Scrabble strategies
If you're like me, you enjoy taking time to expand your vocabulary on a daily basis, either by reading or by playing word games online (like Scrabble on Facebook, for instance). You probably also don't like losing to someone who has an inferior vocabulary, but who knows a few tips and tricks about how to score big points in the game. Don't lose on a technicality any longer- learn these five "hacks" to help you crush your opposition with your excellent vocabulary combined with the leverage of maximizing your positioning on the board and the letter values, and hey, you might even learn a few new words in the process. Let's get started!
Tip #1: the granddaddy of all scores, the bingo
The "bingo" in Scrabble is when you use all 7 letters you've been given, scoring an additional 50 points on top of the score you already got (this includes and double or triple words or letters in your word score). But bingos seem incredibly elusive: they only come along once in a blue moon, right?
Wrong. You can utilize a strategy to help bingos become considerably more frequent. On average, I manage to hit one bingo every game when I'm using this strategy (and I do frequently employ it as a primary tactic simply because 50 points is a great boost, and often decides right then and there who the winner is). There's always a down side to playing one specific strategy, in that you might give up certain other opportunities in the hope for a bingo, but generally speaking, it's a strategy you can win with regularly.
The key: use extremely common word endings to create the bingos. The letters E, R, and S are incredibly common in Scrabble: there are 12 E's, 6 R's, and 4 S's in the board. Additionally, there are 2 blank tiles you can use in place of any of the above letters (or, of course, any letters at all in your bingo). You can make an awful lot of words that end in "ERS" - cheaters, abusers, and pointers all come to mind for some strange reason, but there are literally hundreds of them. Similarly, words that end in ING are extremely bingo-friendly.
Know your letter values!
Tip #2: know when to swap 'em
In the course of your Scrabble game play, you may feel an absolute compulsion to play every single turn, and never to trade in your tiles for an all new set. You may view trading in your tiles as lacking originality or creativity, and in some cases, you might be right. In other cases, though, it makes a lot of sense. You could either score 10 points, or you could swap in six of your letters and score 45 points on the next turn.
Consider an alternate strategy: swapping in tiles to complete a bingo or to accomplish another useful "tip" from this list. If you have an ER on your palate already, but a bunch of terrible other letters you can't make work, consider swapping in everything except the ER. The odds of you getting letters that result in a bingo are actually fairly high. You don't have to swap all of your letters in.
How frequently do you play Scrabble online?
Tip #3: use the dictionary
Online Scrabble frequently comes with a "word lookup" function, and this differs a great deal from real life Scrabble. Generally, in the "real world", you aren't allowed to consult the dictionary while playing your turn (although many groups will bend this rule). If you play a word that doesn't exist, or that your opponents think doesn't exist, your opponents can challenge you, and if it's not a real word, you'll lose your turn and not get any points.
On the web, however, because this would make game play extremely cumbersome, most Scrabble boards have a built in word search. Use this function virtually every turn in order to determine if you have a higher point scoring word than you think you have! You might be surprised at some of the words that count in the game.
Tip #4: Q without U
This is a much more conventional tip, but it's such a valuable one that I can't ignore writing about the Q without U strategy. You're frequently going to be gifted that Q tile - the one tile in there that's worth a whopping 10 points all by itself, and potentially worth a great deal more depending on the other tiles you land on. However, only occasionally are you going to also have the U and another vowel you'd need to accomplish a typical Q word like "quill" or "quintessential" or "question." What to do?
There are dozens of "Q without U" words, it turns out. You can certainly research all of them yourself, but some of my favorites for scrabble gameplay are "qi" (amazingly, 2 letters long and all over the board, there's the opportunity because of the "dangling" I out there), "qat", and "qaid." Start using these words and you'll find your scores consistently going up.
Tip #5: combining scores
Here's where things get really interesting with online Scrabble: combining scores in order to rack up an incredible amount of points. My eyes will automatically gravitate to the triple letter scores and the triple word scores (although because of their placement, triple word scores are difficult to use in combination). If you can lay a "connector" tile on the triple letter score that makes two words, you'll get triple the letter's score for both words you make. The granddaddy of all of these "double triple" letter scores would be the Q, but you're more likely to hit it with the 8 point X letter (due to the versatility of the letter).
You can also score a double word and a triple letter for the same word fairly frequently, meaning a 6x letter score for whichever lucky tile happens to land on the triple letter on the board. Use compound scores to tremendously boost individual words in virtually every game!
What are your favorite strategies?
Scrabble has been around for long enough so that there are many specific strategies on top of the ones I've laid out here. What strategies do you use in Scrabble? How about specific online strategies that differ from the way you play in person? I'd love to hear your thoughts as well, so feel free to comment here. Maybe I'll learn a thing or two as well!