The Rules for How to Play Scrabble


Scrabble Rules

The rules to Scrabble are simple enough for children as young as 8 to understand on a basic level, but the game is challenging enough for even those with the most extensive vocabulary. A round of Scrabble may be enjoyed by two to four players. The objective of the game is to score the most points.

The Board

The game board is made up of 15 by 15 squares. Each square is either blank or has an assigned point multiplier value. These special squares have their value written on them, and they are also color coded for easy recognition.

While there are several modern versions of the Scrabble game board, the classic board follows this pattern- pink squares indicate a double word score, red squares indicate a triple word scores, light blue squares indicate a double letter score, and dark blue squares indicate a triple letter score.

Important Note About Multipliers - Only the first player to lay a tile down on a multiplier square receives the multiplied point value. While future players may modify the played word, they will only receive credit for the face value of tiles which are in play unless they themselves have played a tile on a new square indicating an additional point multiplication.

The Tiles

Scrabble includes 100 letter tiles per set. All of the tiles are inscribed with letters, except for two blank tiles. The blank tiles act as wild cards. They can be counted as any letter of the alphabet. The one drawback from the benefit of the blank tile is that it has no point value of its own.

Every tile with a letter has its own point value. The more tiles there are of any particular letter, the lower the point value is for that letter. A, E, I, L, N, O, R, S, T, & U all earn one point. D and G earn two points, B, C, M & P earn three points, F, H, V, W & Y earn four points, K earns five points, J and X earn eight points each, and the highest value tiles, Q and Z earn ten points each.

Tile Values

  • 0pts blank tiles
  • 1pt A, E, I, L, N, O, R, S, T, U
  • 2pts D, G
  • 3pts B, C, M, P
  • 4pts F, H, V, W, Y
  • 5pts K
  • 8pts J, X
  • 10pts Q, Z

Getting Started

Setting ground rules is the first step of the game. While what is listed here are the traditional Scrabble rules, many people prefer to play their own variations of the game. It is important that all players understand the rules exactly from the beginning in order to ward off any disagreements.

A dictionary must also be agreed upon. There are many different English dictionaries available, and each differ in which words are included. There is even and official Scrabble dictionary. It does not come with the game, but is available in any reputable bookstore.

All tiles should be placed into the tile draw bag before the game begins. Make certain the tiles are mixed well.

Each player should be given a tile rack to place their unused tiles upon when they are drawn. Each tile rack should be placed facing in a direction which is not visible to other players.

After rules are explained and a dictionary is decided upon, players will each draw one tile from the draw bag. The player who draws the letter closest to A goes first, and the other players go in a clockwise direction. If two players draw letters equally close to A, they will set their tiles aside and redraw until the tie is broken.

After the order of play is decided, players return their tiles to the tile draw bag and mix it again. They then each draw seven tiles in the order of play.

The first player plays a word based on the star at the center of the game board. This star indicates a double word value for the first player, but not subsequent players on this word.


All words played must go in either a horizontal or vertical direction, and must read from either left to right, or top to bottom.

All words must be attached to other previously played words (except the first word, which is attached to the star).

Any word that is played must make a legitimate word any way it is read on the board. For example if the word "DOG" was the first word in play, and someone played "GO" vertically from the "G," there would be an open "O" to play from. However, any word played from the "O" in "GO" must be careful to not interfere with the word "DOG" unless creating multiple words with one direction of play.

Each player may only lay down tiles in one direction per turn.

At the end of each turn, the score is totaled according to point value and applicable multipliers. Players redraw tiles from the bag to maintain seven tiles on their rack.

The game ends when one person has played all of their tiles. The person to do so first receives the points from the tiles that remain on the racks of all other players. These players then have the value of their remaining tiles subtracted from their total scores. The player with the highest score after this tally is the winner.

Special Note: Any player who manages to use seven letters in one turn receives a fifty point bonus in addition to their face value score. This is called a bingo.

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