Back to index of Scrabble pages by Donald Sauter.
Scrabble For Word Lovers navigation:
    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

Scrabble II For Word Lovers

The wonders of the 8th tile!

The Rules

Here are the rules for Scrabble II For Word Lovers. As discussed in the Scrabble II introduction page, Scrabble II goes beyond Scrabble I in these three ways:

1. 8-tile rack.

2. Big Play and Stretch Bonuses adjusted for the 8th tile.

3. Small Word Point Cap rule.


RULE 1 (Scrabble II) - The word set

The word set will be based on a regular American college dictionary.

For more discussion, refer to the corresponding section in the Scrabble For Word Lovers common rules page.

RULE 2 (Scrabble II) - Good words only (the "challenge rule")

"Good words only" simply means, if you you play a valid word you score points. If you play an invalid word you score no points, your word comes off the board, and play passes to the next player.

For more discussion, refer to the corresponding section in the Scrabble For Word Lovers common rules page.

RULE 3 (Scrabble II) - Three letter minimum

"Three letter minimum" simply means the main word of a play must be at least 3 letters long.

For further discussion, refer to the corresponding section in the Scrabble O rule page.

RULE 4 (Scrabble II) - 8-tile rack

Scrabble II uses an 8-tile rack. And with the 8-tile rack, the requirement on tiles needed in the bag for an exchange is upped to 8.

I have no doubt that studies would show that 8 tiles is the optimum number for Scrabble. Seven is just not enough to sink your teeth into; nine is an overload. Of course, I'm not the first to think of playing with extra tiles. The box top rules have suggested a 9-tile variant for years. The epiphany was "stepped bonuses" (see the next rule.)

Notice Scrabble II presents a new possibilty, the quintuple word score, by hitting a double and triple word score on the opening play. And with that we now have a very satisfying progression of single, double, triple, quadruple, quintuple, and sextuple word score possibilities. Neat!

For 8 tiles you'll want a longer rack than the standard Scrabble rack. Take one rack from a set of four and cut three 1.5" segments from it to glue to the ends of the other three racks.

RULE 5 (Scrabble II) - Stepped bonuses

With 8 tiles in the rack, Big Plays are now considered to be plays of 6, 7, and 8 tiles. As with Scrabble O and Scrabble I, finding two or less tiles on your rack after a play tells you, "You did good!"

The bonuses are balanced around the familiar 50-point bonus for playing all 7 tiles in the classic game.

                 BIG PLAY BONUSES
    Tiles Played   Bonus Points      Name
    ------------   ------------     -------
      6 tiles         20 pts        6-tiler
      7 tiles         50 pts        7-tiler
      8 tiles         80 pts        8-tiler

If you read the brief history of Scrabble For Word Lovers in the intro page, you know that the stepped bonuses began with Scrabble II. I think of them as the heart of Scrabble For Word Lovers; the main force in moving you from "playing the board" (finding a juicy premium square to plunk your biggest consonant on) to "playing your rack" (finding an impressive word.)

RULE 6 (Scrabble II) - Stretch bonus

Scrabble II offers stepped bonuses for stretching a "decent" word on the board by two letters or more. With the extra tile to work with, a "decent" word is now one of at least five letters. Think of 4-letter words and below as "riff-raff".

The Stretch Bonuses have been adjusted to mesh with the new Big Play bonuses.

     (on "fives" and up)

  Tiles Added  Bonuses Points
  -----------  --------------
       1              0   
       2             30   
       3             50   
       4             70   
       5             90   
       6            120 * 
       7            150 * 
       8            180 * 

  *Bonus incorporates BIG PLAY bonus.  

As always, there is no bonus for stretching a word by one letter.

A memory trick for the small stretches is, "number of tiles added; double it; subtract 1; slap a zero on." So, for example, the stretch bonus for adding 3 tiles is: 2x3=6; 6-1=5; 5->50. Got it? - "double minus one."

As the table indicates, for stretches of 6, 7, and 8 tiles, the stretch bonus incorporates the "big play" bonuses of 20, 50, and 80 points. You could view it as a 100 point cap on the stretch itself, at which point the "big play" bonus kicks in. Notice the extra boost in the stretch bonus pattern going from 5 to 6 tiles. As with the "big play" bonus itself, using 6 of your 8 tiles in a play is considered meritorious.

So, for example, adding UN- or RE- or -ED or -LY will net a 30 point bonus. Having an -ING or -EST at the right moment will net you a 50 point bonus. And having -LESSNESS at just the right moment (not too often!) will net you 180 points.

RULE 7 (Scrabble II) - Swap for the blank

If a player has a letter represented on the board by a blank, he may, when his turn comes, substitute the letter and pick up the blank and proceed with his turn.

For more discussion, refer to the corresponding section in the Scrabble O rule page.

RULE 8 (Scrabble II) - Hitting multiple premium word squares

Double and triple word score squares act individually on the score of the word, not piled one on top of the other. So, hitting two triple word score squares yields a 6x multiplier, not 9x.

For more discussion, refer to the corresponding section in the Scrabble O rule page.

RULE 9 (Scrabble II) - Extended board

Scrabble II uses the extended board with "wings" of 3 rows on all four sides. Every square in the wings is basic, single letter score. The main word of your play must connect to the classic, inner board.

For further discussion, refer to the corresponding section in the Scrabble I rule page.

RULE 10 (Scrabble II) - Scrabble II Letter Distribution.

A Scrabble II game is played with a random scoop of 100 tiles from a set of 300 tiles with a more natural letter distribution as shown in the middle column:

    Classic Distribution        Scrabble II        Scrabble II Adjustment
          (3 sets)          Letter Distribution     from 3 standard sets
            27 A                   25 A                     -2 A  
             6 B                    6 B                           
             6 C                    7 C                     +1 C  
            12 D                   14 D                     +2 D  
            36 E                   38 E                     +2 E  
             6 F                    5 F                     -1 F  
             9 G                   10 G                     +1 G  
             6 H                    6 H                           
            27 I                   23 I                     -4 I  
             3 J                    2 J                     -1 J  
             3 K                    3 K                           
            12 L                   13 L                     +1 L  
             6 M                    6 M                           
            18 N                   19 N                     +1 N  
            24 O                   21 O                     -3 O  
             6 P                    7 P                     +1 P  
             3 Q                    2 Q                     -1 Q  
            18 R                   21 R                     +3 R  
            12 S                   14 S                     +2 S  
            18 T                   19 T                     +1 T  
            12 U                   11 U                     -1 U  
             6 V                    5 V                     -1 V  
             6 W                    5 W                     -1 W  
             3 X                    2 X                     -1 X  
             6 Y                    5 Y                     -1 Y  
             3 Z                    2 Z                     -1 Z  
             6 blank                9 blank                 +3 blank
           ---                    ---                      ---      
           300 total              300 total                  0 tiles

For further discussion, refer to the corresponding section in the Scrabble I rule page.

RULE 11 (Scrabble II) - Small Word Point Cap rule

The Small Word Point Cap rule simply states that, in words of 4 letters or less, the value of a letter is capped by the length of the word.

Spelled out, it says, in a 2-letter word the most a letter can be worth is 2 points; in a 3-letter word the most a letter can be worth is 3 points; and in a 4-letter word the most a letter can be worth is 4 points. In 5-letter words and longer, all letters, including the J, K, Q, X and Z, are full-valued. The premium letter and word squares act in their usual way on the adjusted values of the letters.

Somehow, people have the hardest time grasping this rule. Perhaps the easiest way to think of it is to use the Q:

In a 2-letter word, the Q is worth 2 points.
In a 3-letter word, the Q is worth 3 points.
In a 4-letter word, the Q is worth 4 points.
In 5-letter words and up, the Q is worth 10 points.

The Small Word Point Cap applies to all the letters in all the newly formed words, regardless of whether the letter was newly played or already on the board.

For the rationale behind the Small Word Point Cap rule, revisit the top of the Scrabble II introduction page. In the TAX/OX example, the X would be worth 3 points in TAX, and 2 points in OX.

Personally, I would implement the Small Word Point Cap right from the start, in Scrabble O. But I recognize that many Scrabble players still get their thrills from scoring big points with tiny words. I wait till Scrabble II to bring it on figuring that accepting the challenge of an 8th tile to work with signals a readiness to leave the cheap points behind.


*** Summary of differences with "regular" Scrabble ***

Here, at a glance, are the differences between modern, "regular" Scrabble and Scrabble II For Word Lovers.

  "Regular" Scrabble               Scrabble O                      Scrabble I              Scrabble II              
  ------------------               ----------                      ----------              -----------              
  Word list memorization           Vocabulary-based                (ditto)                 (ditto)                 
  Overloaded OSPD                  Regular dictionary              (ditto)                 (ditto)                 
  Weird two-letter words           Refined 2-letter word list      (ditto)                 (ditto)                 
  Invalid words allowed            Points for good words only      (ditto)                 (ditto)                 
  Bluffing                         No bluff element                (ditto)                 (ditto)                 
  2-letter minimum                 3-letter minimum                (ditto)                 (ditto)                 

  Big points for tiny plays        (ditto, but main word must      (ditto)                 Small Word Point Cap    
                                   be at least 3 letters)

  Cheap JQXZ points                Tougher JQXZ (regular           (ditto)                 (ditto)
                                   dictionary, 3-letter min)       
  Classic 7 tile rack              (ditto)                         (ditto)                 8 tile rack
  Single bonus for playing         Stepped bonuses for Big Plays   (ditto)                 Bonuses for Big Plays
  all 7 tiles                      of 5, 6, or 7 tiles                                     of 6, 7, or 8 tiles     
  No reason to stretch words       Stretch bonus                   (ditto)                 (ditto, adjusted 
                                                                                           for 8 tiles)                 
  Classic 100-tile set with        100-tile set with               Nice 300-tile letter    (ditto)
  "I" overload (9 I's)             one "I" removed (8 I's)         distribution            
  Same 100 tiles every game        (ditto)                         Fresh 100-tile scoop    (ditto)
                                                                   for each game           
  2 blanks                         3 blanks                        Average 3 blanks/game   (ditto)
  Single use blanks                Reusable blanks                 (ditto)                 (ditto)                 
  Classic 15x15 board              (ditto)                         Extended board (3       (ditto) 
                                                                   extra rows each side)   
  A few thousand players           Tens of millions of players?    (ditto)                 (ditto)                 

  Top players wallow in obscurity  Top players rich $uper$tars!    (ditto)                 (ditto)


*** Scrabble II on a slip ***

Here is Scrabble II on a Slip, suitable for printing in a fixed-width font, and keeping by your rack at the Scrabble II table:

      SCRABBLE II     
                      Two-Letter Words    
      MAIN WORD                           
  3-letter minimum   AB  DO  ID  OF  TA   
                     AD      IF  OH  TI   
   BIG PLAY Bonus    AG  ED  IN  ON  TO   
     Tiles  Pts      AH  EF  IS  OR       
       6     20      AI  EH  IT  OS  UH   
       7     50      AM  EL      OW  UM   
       8     80      AN  EM  LA  OX  UP   
                     AR  EN  LI      US   
    STRETCH Bonus    AS  ER  LO  PA  UT   
  (on fives and up)  AT  EX      PI       
     Ltrs   Pts      AW      MA      WE   
       1      0      AX  FA  ME  RE  WO   
       2     30      AY      MI           
       3     50          GO  MU  SH  XI   
       4     70      BE      MY  SI       
       5     90      BI  HA      SO  YE   
       6    120 *    BY  HE  NO      YO   
       7    150 *        HI  NU           
       8    180 *        HO               
  Regular dictionary; all words checked.  
  Random scoop from nice 300-tile set.    
  Extended board; 8-tile rack.            
  SWAP for the blank.                     
  Small Word Point Cap.  
  *Bonus incorporates BIG PLAY bonus.     


*** Legal Statement ***

I retain the rights to these additions, adjustments, and modifications giving rise to Scrabble II, singly or in combination, insofar as I may be allowed.

Having said that, I would be happy to give Scrabble II to Hasbro for free if that's what it takes to make the Scrabble world safe again for word lovers. Anyone out there with the connections to talk to them?


Contact Donald Sauter: send an email; view guestbook; sign guestbook.
Back to Donald Sauter's main page.
Back to the top of this page.