Scrabble is a word game in which two players score points by forming words from individual lettered tiles on a gameboard marked with a 15‐by‐15 grid. The words are formed across and down in crossword fashion and must appear in a standard dictionary. Official reference works provide a list of permissible words.

DOWNLOAD THE RULES: Rules of Scrabble

Official NAPSA (North American Scrabble Players Association)Tournament Rules shall apply, with the exception of using the SCRABBLE Dictionary, current edition (refer to current Alberta 55 Plus Games Activity Information Book for details). Current rules can be obtained by searching

or by contacting:

North American Scrabble Players Association
P.O. Box 12115
Dallas, Texas 75225-0115

1. Age groups, events, tournament format, and competition procedures (including tiebreak guidelines) for an Alberta 55 Plus Games are specified in the current Activity Information Book.

2. General Overview

a) SCRABBLE is a Game that has only been around since 1948. It is a Game that combines the vocabulary skills of crossword puzzles and anagrams, with the additional element of chance. The Game was originally named Lexico, but Butts, the Game inventor decided to call it “Criss-Cross words.” SCRABBLEis so popular that it can be found in one of every three American homes.

3. Setup

a) Begin with a gameboard, 100 letter tiles, a letter bag, and racks.

b) Before the game begins, all players should agree upon the dictionary that they will use, in case of a challenge. All words labeled as a part of speech (including those listed of foreign origin, and as archaic, obsolete, colloquial, slang, etc.) are permitted with the exception of the following: words always capitalized, abbreviations, prefixes and suffixes standing alone, words requiring a hyphen or an apostrophe.

c) Place all letters in the pouch, or facedown beside the board, and mix them up. Draw for first play. The player with the letter closest to “A” plays first. A blank tile beats any letter. Return the letters to the pool and remix. All players draw seven new letters and each place them on their racks.

4. Game Play

a) The first player combines two or more of his or her letters to form a word and places it on the board to read either across or down with one letter on the center square. Diagonal words are not allowed.

b) Complete your turn by counting and announcing your score for that turn. Then draw as many new letters as you played; always keep seven letters on your rack, as long as there are enough tiles left in the bag.

c) Play passes to the left. The second player, and then each in turn, adds one or more letters to those already played to form new words. All letters played on a turn must be placed in one row across or down the board, to form at least one complete word. If, at the same time, they touch others letters in adjacent rows, those must also form complete words, crossword fashion, with all such letters. The player gets full credit for all words formed or modified on his or her turn.

d) New words may be formed by:

i) Adding one or more letters to a word or letters already on the board.

ii) Placing a word at right angles to a word already on the board. The new word must use one of the letters already on the board or must add a letter to it.

iii) Placing a complete word parallel to a word already played so that adjacent letters also form complete words.

e) No tile may be shifted or replaced after it has been played and scored.

f) Blanks: The two blank tiles may be used as any letters. When playing a blank, you must state which letter it represents. It remains that letter for the rest of the game.

g) You may use a turn to exchange all, some, of your letters, provided the bag contains seven or more tiles. To do this, place your discarded letter(s) facedown. Draw the same number of letters from the pool, and then mix your discarded letter(s) into the pool. This ends your turn.

h) Any play may be challenged before the next player starts a turn. If the play challenged is unacceptable, the challenged player takes back his or her tiles and loses that turn. If the play challenged is acceptable, the challenger loses his or her next turn. Consult the dictionary for challenges only. All words made in one play are challenged simultaneously. If any word is unacceptable, then the entire play is unacceptable. Only one turn is lost on any challenge.

i) Overdraws: If a player draws too many tiles from the bag, or players become aware at any time that one person has more than 7 tiles on their rack, the clock should be neutralized, and the non-offending player randomly draws the number of overdrawn tiles blindly from the offending players rack. These tiles are replaced back in the bag.

j) The game ends when all letters have been drawn and one player uses his or her last letter; or when all possible plays have been made.

6. Scoring

a) Use a score pad or piece of paper to keep a tally of each player’s score, entering it after each turn. The score value of each letter is indicated by a number at the bottom of the tile. The score value of a blank is zero.

b) The score for each turn is the sum of the letter values in each word(s) formed or modified on that turn, plus the additional points obtained from placing letters on Premium Squares.

c) Premium Letter Squares:

A light blue square doubles the score of a letter placed on it; a dark blue square triples the letter score.

d) Premium Word Squares:

The score for an entire word is doubled when one of its letters is placed on a pink square: it is tripled when one of its letters is placed on a red square. Include premiums for double or triple letter values, if any, before doubling or tripling the word score.

e) If a word is formed that covers two premium word squares, the score is doubled and then re-doubled (4 times the letter count), or tripled and then re-tripled (9 times the letter count). NOTE: the center square is a pink square, which doubles the score for the first word.

f) Letter and word premiums count only on the turn in which they are played. On later turns, letters already played on premium squares count at face value.

g) When a blank tile is played on a pink or red square, the value of the word is doubled or tripled, even though the blank itself has no score value. Rules of the Games – Scrabble

h) When two or more words are formed in the same play, each is scored. The common letter is counted (with full premium value, if any) for each word.

i) BINGO! If you play seven tiles on a turn, it’s a Bingo. You score a premium of 50 points after totaling your score for the turn.

j) Unplayed Letters: When the game ends, each player’s score is reduced by the sum of his or her unplayed letters. In addition, if a player has used all of his or her letters, the sum of the other players’ unplayed letters is added to that player’s score.

7. Time Limit There are two commonly accepted methods for controlling the time of a SCRABBLE game.

1. A three-minute hourglass may be used to time each play. After 54 minutes the game is over and both players each have one more play before totaling the final scores. (One hour time limit for completion of the game).

2. Chess clocks are set up so that each person is given 25 minutes to complete all his/her turns. A player may play quickly for easy plays and save up time in order to take five or more minutes for the difficult plays. If a player uses more than 25 minutes, then she/he is penalized 10 pt. every minute or fraction of a minute used more than the original 25.


For all NSA sanctioned tournament games using clocks, you are allowed exactly 25 minutes to complete all plays, after which an overtime penalty applies. There is no limit on the time taken per turn.

Clocks are preferred in this order:

1. Digital or analog clocks that count down and show exact minutes and seconds, both of time remaining and of overtime.

2. Digital clocks that count down and do not show exact minutes and seconds of overtime.

3. Digital clocks that begin at zero and count up, or analog clocks that do not show exact minutes and seconds.

4. Sand timers

Do not use a clock for which minutes of overtime cannot be readily determined.

A quieter clock is preferred to one whose loudness is objectionable, as verified by the Director.

8. Tiebreak Guidelines – Alberta 55 Plus Games

If ties exist at the end of a game, the player with the best single word in the game (i.e. word which scored the most points in a single turn) receives the higher placing.

If two or more players are tied after the tournament, the player with the highest score (i.e. most word points in tournament) will be declared the winner.