I have been the organizer of this casual Scrabble Club that meets in Davis Square, Somerville, MA since 2009 (hard to believe!). We are not associated with either NASPA, the officially licensed Scrabble players organization, or WGPO, the splinter group that formed in 2015. Beginning players will find our club welcoming; we do follow official club rules, but at a moderate level of play, above living room but below the obsessive memorizing of the full word list level. Our dictionary is the Official Tournament and Club Word List (2014).
We meet on First and Third Sundays at the Au Bon Pain, 18 Holland St, Somerville, MA from 12:00 PM until everyone is played out (usually by 3 or 4). If you’d like to attend, please RSVP on Meetup.com.
To improve your play, learn these helpful lists first:
- The “Cheat Sheet“: two pages of useful words to know.
- OTCWL2014 two and Three-letter word list: just the two and three letter words, acceptable to have during play for newer players at our club.
- Club tips to improve your Scrabble play
Scrabology (teaching session for new players)
In 2015 I organized a short 3 session “class” for new Scrabble players to boost their skills. Feel free to read over the materials below.
- Scrabble College Syllabus
- Scrabble puzzles
- Scrabology number 2
- Scrabology number 3
- Scrabble puzzles number 1-answers
- Common prefixes, suffixes, and consonant combinations
- Everything Scrabble (this is the best one to start with; examples are not up to date with the newest word list, but enjoyable to read even straight through and full of useful tips, very good for someone new to studying Scrabble)
- The Scrabble Player’s Handbook (most examples use the international word lists, not North American, but more advanced strategy aimed at current tournament players; less friendly to read, but free and has useful tips)
- Breaking the Game, a newer paid book and ebook with Scrabble strategy and tips, with some tips and community links included for free on the website.
Links to the wider Scrabble World
- Mike Wolfberg’s List of Massachusetts Scrabble Clubs and Resources
- Cross-Tables: learn about upcoming tournaments, links to strategy, connect with other Scrabble enthusiasts.
- NASPA (Officially sanctioned Scrabble organization that organizes tournaments)
- Word Games Players Organization (Organizes tournaments as an alternative to NASPA)
A very weird thing happened in 2014. For decades, computer enthusiasts and Scrabble enthusiasts had a natural nerdy overlap, and each one helped the other. There was a wild proliferation of free and open source tools, games, and other resources to help with studying the Scrabble dictionary, breaking it down into useful word lists and helping with memorization techniques. In 2014, with a release of a new word list, some combination of Hasbro and NASPA cracked down and asserted a copyright. The split was bad enough that a splinter organization has formed, the Word Games Players Organization. NASPA’s assertion of copyright over the word list has made it much more difficult to start studying Scrabble for free and in my opinion hurt the competitive Scrabble community. Here are some resources you still may find helpful. In some cases you will need to find a text file that contains the full dictionary and load it into the tools listed.
- Free Zyzzyva, a cross-platform, free and open source anagramming tool that includes a spaced repetition flashcard technique for memorization (long story, but the official NASPA version is crippled unless you are a NASPA member who is up to date with your annual dues)
- WHAT: MIke Wolfberg’s Windows-only desktop program that includes the Word Judge 3 word list, which includes all of the OCTWL2014 words and words up to 21 letters long for use in Super Scrabble. One of the early computer Scrabble aides and still has an older interface, but many useful features for word study.
- Zarf free iPhone anagramming and word study tool: use the free Zyzzyva link above to learn more about how to obtain the 2014 OTCWL word list to upload into Zarf
- Word App, a free anagramming tool for Android which includes OTCWL2014.
- Classic Words, a Scrabble clone for Android which is 100% better than the official Hasbro app and includes OTCWL2014. Buy it for the ad-free experience which the official Hasbro app no longer offers.
- Quackle, a free and open source tool which rivals the best Scrabble players in the world.
- Elise, an alternative computer player to Quackle (does not seem to have been updated for the 2014 word list changes)
- Anki: a flashcard program that uses spaced repetition techniques to help you learn anything. I made these useful Scrabble word lists that you can import into Anki: Scrabology study decks (for Anki).