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Common intro Scrabble O intro Scrabble I intro Scrabble II intro Scrabble III intro
Common rules Scrabble O rules Scrabble I rules Scrabble II rules Scrabble III rules
If you've played Scrabble long enough to find yourself a wee bit tired of playing the same little words over and over, too many of which are never seen or heard in real life, and wishing that Scrabble were more of a word game, exercising more of your vocabulary and word search skills, consider the suite of Scrabble For Word Lovers games.
There are four games in the series: Scrabble O, Scrabble I, Scrabble II, and Scrabble III. All four games are based on the same word set and "challenge rule":
1. Word set in tune with a regular college dictionary.
2. "Good words only" - never a point for an invalid word.
For more detail and discussion, please visit the Scrabble For Word Lovers common rules page.
Scrabble O ("oh", "zero", or "ought") is what Scrabble OUGHT to have been ORIGINALLY, OFF the shelf, OUT of the box. Scrabble O is regular Scrabble with a few little fixes -- "little fixes" making a world of difference:
1. Three letter minimum requirement.
2. Swap for the blank.
3. Big Play Bonus for plays of 5, 6, or 7 tiles.
4. Stretch Bonus for stretching a word by 2 or more letters.
5. Tile distribution: remove one "I"; add one blank.
You may visit the Scrabble O rules page for more detail and discussion, but first, visit the Scrabble O introduction page to see what you're in for and how Scrabble O compares to the very best of modern championship Scrabble.
Scrabble I ("one") bursts the Scrabble board straitjacket and offers a much more natural letter distribution. It goes beyond Scrabble O in just two ways:
1. Extended board with 3 extra rows on each side.
2. Nice 300-tile letter distribution with a fresh, random scoop of 100 tiles for each game.
You may visit the Scrabble I rules page for more detail and discussion, but first, visit the Scrabble I introduction page to see what you're in for and how Scrabble O compares to the very best of modern championship Scrabble.
Scrabble II ("two") gives you an 8th tile to sink your anagrammatic teeth into. Scrabble II goes beyond Scrabble I in these ways:
1. 8-tile rack.
2. Big Play and Stretch Bonuses adjusted for the 8th tile.
3. Small Word Point Cap rule. (Huh?)
You may visit the Scrabble II rules page for more detail and discussion, but first, visit the Scrabble II introduction page to see what you're in for and how Scrabble O compares to the very best of modern championship Scrabble.
Scrabble III ("three") blows the lid off Scrabble. It makes your Scrabble board the stomping grounds for the biggest words in your brain. It goes beyond Scrabble II in these three ways:
1. Six-letter minimum requirement.
2. JQXZ wild! Play right-side up for a fitting bonus, or flip for a blank.
3. Pick off 1 or 2 letters from the end of a word in the service of stretching that word into a bigger word.
You may visit the Scrabble III rules page for more detail and discussion, but first, visit the Scrabble III introduction page to see what you're in for and how Scrabble O compares to the very best of modern championship Scrabble.
Here's a quick history of how the Scrabble For Word Lovers game suite came about.
After a few good years of the conventional, small-word, funny-word Scrabble in a club in Maryland back in the 1980s, I couldn't take it anymore. From then on, all of my Scrabbling had to have a regular dictionary, a three-letter minimum, and a mixed set of 300 tiles.
That worked wonderfully for years, but I experimented with an 8th tile and stepped bonuses for 6, 7, and 8 tile plays, and was blown away. A couple of weeks later someone alerted me to Super Scrabble with its bigger board. The goofy quadruple letter scores, etc., in the wings were strictly for the birds, but the extra elbow room was a perfect match for the 8th tile in the rack. Thus was born Scrabble II.
Scrabble II had a great run for many years until I got totally fed up with the small word component of Scrabble. I simply struck them from the game (except as connector words) and implemented a 6-letter minimum requirement on the main word.
But making 6-letter words with a more-or-less conventional Scrabble tile set would likely require a lot of trading. The inspiration was to take the J, Q, X, and Z, which have always held a special place in Scrabble, and turn them wild! You can accept the challenge of playing a JQXZ in a big word for a nice reward, or flip it over and use as a blank. That was the ticket, and Scrabble III was born. And since Scrabble III is all about the biggest words in the language, a bonus system for stretching big words into bigger words was introduced. Not long after, the inspiration struck to allow picking off one or two letters to get past stoppers like -Y, -ED, and the silent E, to get to even bigger words.
Scrabble III hasn't shown the least sign of waning; I think I could play it forever. But it is such a giant leap from the funny little Scrabble-word game that everyone plays, it would be hopeless getting anyone's attention. So I needed to go back and fill in the steps preceding Scrabble III.
It became obvious that the "radical" idea of bonuses for stretching words introduced in Scrabble III is so right for Scrabble that it had to be incorporated in the lower-level games. I see it as something the original developers simply missed.
Since Scrabbles II and III were now carved in stone, it looked like there was only one remaining slot to work with. I had the hardest time deciding whether Scrabble I should have the classic board and fixed 100-tile set, or jump right in with the extended board and the nice 300-tile mix. After all, who would choose the former over the latter? On the other hand, the extended board and nice 300-tile mix may look like too scary and radical a leap from the standard Scrabble set everyone has known for decades.
It finally sank in that there are two distinct games preceding Scrabble II, and thus was born the Roman numeral "O" for Scrabble O with its classic board and fixed 100-tile set. And Scrabble I got the extended board and nice 300-tile mix. It's funny to think that I originally chose the name "Scrabble II" to signify the first step beyond "regular" Scrabble. Turns out it's the third, haha.
Now, here's the incredible thing. I went to all this trouble of formalizing Scrabble O, Scrabble I, and Scrabble II solely in the hopes of giving the masses some stepping stones to eventually joining me in Scrabble III, hopefully sometime before I die. I had no intention of playing them, beyond testing purposes.
But, wonder upon wonder, they are all perfectly enjoyable, totally satisfying games! The experience of scaring up a 5-, 6-, or 7-tile play with a 7-tile rack is not so different from finding a 6-, 7-, or 8-tile play with an 8-tile rack. If you became insistent that Scrabble I's extended board is "not Scrabble", or you absolutely must have a fixed set of tiles (so you can know what's in my rack when the bag is empty, yee-haa!), that's A-OK with me. I'd be perfectly happy to play Scrabble O with you until the end of time.
Likewise, if you think Scrabble II's 8th tile is going jes' too dad-blamed fur, I'll play Scrabble I with you forever. And likewise with Scrabble II in preference to Scrabble III, if you absolutely can't let go of the short word component of Scrabble.
All four of them are fantastic, perfectly balanced games, which you can quickly see in the "Introduction" page for each one. I would not object in the least if somebody, somewhere, gave me the benefit of the doubt and tried one of the Scrabble For Word Lovers games.
And I will GIVE Scrabble O, Scrabble I, and Scrabble II to Hasbro if that's what it takes to make the Scrabble world safe for word lovers.
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