It’s Christmas which means Scrabble against the family. World Scrabble Champion Craig Beevers Shares his top tips to play like a pro this Christmas.
Short and sweet(scoring)
Two and three letter words can enable you to score 20-30 points move after move without any big plays. Once they’re second nature you’ll have lots of parallel play opportunities at your fingertips, making lots of small words in one go. This also allows you to play off unwanted tiles and get those big plays down on the board.
What’s in the bag
A feature often available in online games and achieved over a board with pen and paper by marking letters off when they’re played. Tile tracking allows you to see what tiles are left unplayed, eventually allowing you to know exactly what your opponent has at the end of the game when the bag is empty – unless there are more than two of you playing of course. Armed with this information you can block a game-winning bonus play, or perhaps stick another player with the Q. Earlier the game it is still useful to help influence your choice, maybe there are lots of vowels to come? Then try to hold on more to your consonants. Maybe there are lots of goodies left so you might try and play off more tiles to improve your odds of picking them.
Double digit delights
A single blank tile is worth around 25-30 points, that is you should only play your blank if it means you score at least another 25 points. S similarly is worth around 8 points. Other tiles you would happily sacrifice the odd point to get rid of, such as a V or U. Be aware of synergy – how well (or badly) certain tiles go together. A Q or U on their own are poor, but together they’re far stronger.
Score and leave
Scrabble is fundamentally about scoring the most points, but when you play a move you also need to think about what you leave behind on your rack. Try to balance your vowels and consonants, avoiding duplicates letters to give you more options when your next turn comes along. Don’t be afraid to change, if you’re not going to score much and you’re stuck with largely the same rubbish next time then it is often better to change.
Craig’s new book Word Addict, Secrets of a World Scrabble Champion, is out now priced £7.99 at all good bookshops and online, including at HarperCollins.co.uk
These tips first appeared in May 2015 during Scrabble Week