Scrabble rules and gameplay

In this game, each player has a turn when it is their turn. A move means the opportunity to put a word.

Rules and guidance

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Data & facts

Spielalter‎:ab 10 Jahren
Spieldauer:ca. 50-90 Min.
Spieleranzahl‎:2-4 Spieler
Ersterscheinung‎: im Jahr ‎1949
Spieleverlag:Hasbro (USA) Mattel (weltweit)


Mix all the pieces in the bag vigorously. Each of the players then draws a stone. The player with the stone closest to the beginning of the alphabet goes first. Then the letters are put back in the bag and each player draws seven letters after shuffling them and keeps them on his bench. Then the game of Scrabble can begin.

How to play Scrabble:

How to play scrabble

Scrabble rules and gameplay: The first player places a word made up of 2 or more letters on the playing field. It has to be in such a way that the star is covered in the middle. The word can be placed horizontally or vertically. However, diagonal is not allowed. After the player has done this, he has to announce the points and these are noted. In addition, he takes stones from the bag so that the player has 7 stones on the bench again. Then it is the turn of the player to the left of the previous one.

In Scrabble, this player must now add a meaningful word of more than 2 letters to the words that have already been placed. The only exception is when adding only one letter changes the meaningfulness of an existing word. Then the whole word counts again. Again the points are noted and the letters are filled in again. It is the next person's turn. With the following exceptions:

  • Proper names (also geographical names)
  • Abbreviations and
  • Words that are joined by hyphen,

all words that can be found in a German dictionary are allowed. Therefore it is absolutely necessary to get a dictionary together with Scrabble. Since this can always be used when the discussion about the validity of a term flares up. And that's often the case with Scrabble. However, it is not allowed to use the dictionary to search for words during the game.

It is only allowed to object to one word until the next one begins to add a word. After that, wrong words are also valid. If a word does not actually exist then the player has to take back his letters in Scrabble and is skipped this round.

Additional rules

Since it is allowed to add words horizontally and vertically, the following rules are explained:

More Scrabble rules

  1. It is allowed to add one or more stones to an already existing word. This is called an extension. For example, it is possible to make the words rice or old man out of ice. You then get the full number of points for the word.
  2. Placing one or more stones at right angles is also allowed. However, every letter has to be part of a new word and the corner letter has to interact with rule 1.
  3. With Scrabble you can also lay parallel to the respective word, but for this at least one stone must be attached to the existing word and everything must make sense.

Once a stone has been placed, it cannot be exchanged or moved. If a joker is used, it must be said which letter it replaces. This joker then retains its meaning throughout the game of Scrabble and may not be used otherwise by other players if you intend to put a word on it.

When it is your turn, instead of placing a word, you can swap any number of your stones with those from the sack. To do this, the Scrabble player has to place his stones face up and takes the same number from the bag. Put the rest in the bag and mix well. However, it is not allowed to put words on the one hand and swap them on the other. Scrabble is played until all stones are used up or the game possibilities are exhausted. In any case, there won't be many stones left when Scrabble is over.

How are the points counted?

scrabble words

The total points of a word result from the letter value and the value of the respective award fields on which the word is located. Each letter has a value that is indicated on the wooden plate. As mentioned, the jokers do not count. The award fields only count for those who reach them first. If you add a word, only the letter value counts. If a Scrabble player places a joker on an award field, the award counts, even if the joker has no letter value. If a new word is created by adding a letter, the entire word counts again.

Logically, the rewards do not count. When you create several words, they all count. In this case, newly filled award fields apply to all words. A scrabble is when a player can put down all eight letters at the same time. In this case you win 50 points extra with Scrabble. At the end, the number of points is reduced by the value of the stones that he still has in the bank. If the game is ended by a player putting down all letters, the points that were deducted from the others due to letters still available will be added to this player in Scrabble.

Download the instructions as a PDF for free

Scrabble rules explained in the video


An American architect named Alfred Mosher Butts invented the archetype of Scrabble in the early 30s of the last century. At that time, however, it was called Lexico. Scrabble's corporate history goes back to the fact that he wanted to create a game that needed half the skill of the player and the other half luck. The basic version of Lexiko was already very similar to today's Scrabble, except that there was no board and the points were awarded according to the length of the words. Of course there were already letter values, but these differed from today's Scrabble. Apparently Butts simply analyzed a front page of the New York Times for the frequency of each letter and used the respective frequencies for his version of Scrabble.


Lexiko did not sell well, however. Apart from the 200 self-made pieces that Butts was able to sell, there is no indication of further sales. Scrabble was also offered to the Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley, but they saw no market potential in the game. Butts then became aware of crossword puzzles and took inspiration from them. He now integrated a game board and from then on called the game Criss-Crosswords. But even with these innovations he could not achieve success with Scrabble. Furthermore, no large board game company was interested in buying the rights. The development was stopped until 1948.

But then came a lawyer named Brunot, who had played criss-crosswords from the start. For a small commission per game sold, he acquired the rights from Butts in 1948. On December 1, 1948, Scrabble was patented and registered on December 16 under the name Scrabble in the commercial register. In the years 1949-1952 the game was made by Brunot himself.

He sold up to 90,000 copies per year. In 1952, the renowned game manufacturer Selchow and Righter acquired the license to manufacture and sell Scrabble in the USA and Canada. In 1972 Butts sold the exclusive rights of Scrabble for the North American market to Selchow and Righter. In 1986 Coleco took over the company, which after bankruptcy was immediately sold to Hasbro. Hasbro still holds the rights to Scrabble for the North American market to this day. In 1953 Spear bought the license for Great Britain. Schowanek bought the rights for Germany in the same year. The inventor Butts died in April 1993, while the marketer Brunot had died in 1984.

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