board game with words

Scrabble is a board game that is played by 2, 3 or 4 people. It uses a 15×15 board with squares on it and a large number of letters on small tiles. In the English version of Scrabble, there are 100 tiles. Players take turns putting words on the board using any of the seven letters (seven tiles) that they have in front of them. Their word must connect to another word that is already on the board.

Scrabble logo
Years active1938-present
Genre(s)Board game
Word game
A game of Scrabble. Almost all of the letters have been used, and this game is almost complete.



Scrabble was invented in 1938 by an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. He had previously invented a similar game called Lexiko. He decided how many points each letter was worth by looking at books and newspapers and counting how often each letter was used in the English language. He called the game "Criss-Crosswords".[1] However, he was not successful in selling the game. In 1948 a lawyer called James Brunot bought the rights to make to game. Brunot made some of the rules easier, and changed the name to "Scrabble", which is a real word meaning “to scratch around frantically”. Soon other firms around the world were buying rights to make the game. It had become so popular by 1984 that it was made into a daytime TV show on NBC television.

The name Scrabble today is a trademark of Hasbro in the US and Canada and of J. W. Spear & Sons PLC in other countries.

Many people play Scrabble in clubs and tournaments all over the world. People who play in serious tournaments are given a time limit. They lose points if they spend too long thinking about their moves.

There are websites where one can play Scrabble online.

How to play

The Scrabble board

The players decide who is going to start by taking one letter (one tile) from the bag. The person with the letter closest to the beginning of the alphabet may start.

Each player takes seven tiles from the bag (without looking at what they are). The player puts these tiles on a rack in front of them. This is so the player can see the letters they have, but the other players can not.

The first player puts a word on the board using some, or all, of their seven letters. The first player has to put their word on the star in the middle. After this, players take turns putting words on the board. Each new word placed on the board has to connect to another word. Sometimes it is possible to make two or more words in one turn by touching other letters, but each word on the board reading horizontally (left to right) or vertically (top to bottom) must be a real word.

Once a player plays a word, they take more tiles from the bag to replace the tiles they played. Near the end of the game, there will be no more tiles in the bag. When this happens, players do not take more tiles. The game ends when one player has no more tiles to play. When this happens, the other players add up the points of the letters they have left, and subtract that number from their score. The winner of the game is whoever has the most points.

Allowed words


There are special Scrabble dictionaries used for the game. In these dictionaries, all the allowed words (words that can be played during the game) are listed. When playing according to the proper rules, a player can not use a dictionary. However, if one player puts a word on the board, and another player says it is not an allowed word, then the players may check the dictionary. If the word is not in the dictionary, the player who played the word must take their letters back and lose their turn.



Every letter in Scrabble has a number of points that it is worth. Letters that are used less often in the language are worth more points. For example, in the English version of Scrabble, common letters such as E, T, and A are worth 1 point, while uncommon letters such as Q and Z are worth 10 points. There are also two blank tiles which can be used for any letter. These are worth zero points. For example, a player might place the tiles "C", "A", and a blank tile on the board, and say the blank tile is a T. This makes the word "CAT". For the rest of the game, the blank tile must be used as if it was a T.

There are many squares on the board where a player can get extra points. Some squares allow the player to count that letter twice (light blue) or three times (dark blue). These squares have "double letter score" or "triple letter score" written on them. Other squares allow them to count the whole word twice (light red) or three times (dark red). These squares have "double word score" or "triple word score" written on them. The star at the center of the board is also a "double word score" square.



Player 1 plays the word "TEAR" on the board. The letter "T" is on a "double letter score" square, and the letter "R" is on a "double word score" square.

To find how many points Player 1 gets, the points of each letter are added together: (1 × 2) (T) + 1 (E) + 1 (A) + 1 (R) = 5. The letter T gets twice as many points because of the square it is on. Because the word is on a "double word score" square, this number is multiplied by 2: 5 × 2 = 10. Player 1 gets 10 points for playing this word.

Now it is Player 2's turn. Player 2 adds an "S" to the end of Player 1's word. This makes the word "TEARS". Each of these letters is worth 1 point, so Player 2 will get 1 (T) + 1 (E) + 1 (A) + 1 (R) + 1 (S) = 5 points for playing this word. Player 2 does not get a "double word score" or "double letter score". This is because these squares only give extra points the first time a word is played on top of them.

Other languages


There are many different versions of Scrabble for other languages. This is because not all languages use the same letters. Some languages also use some letters more often than others. There are versions in languages with other alphabets, such as Russian.


  1. Stephey, M.J. (2008-12-07). "A Brief History of Scrabble". TIME. Retrieved 2022-03-30.