Back to index of Scrabble pages by Donald Sauter.
Scrabble For Word Lovers suite - main page.
Scrabble III introduction.
Scrabble III rules.
Although this page deals with Scrabble III in its finalized form, I'd much prefer you to dive in with the standardized Scrabble For Word Lovers pages. I also apologize if the tone I adopted in some of my older Scrabble pages was a bit mean towards modern Scrabble.
Scrabble III For Big Word Lovers involves the biggest, most exciting, words ever seen on a Scrabble board. To anyone who knows Scrabble, it should look almost impossible. I'll even stick my neck out and make the claim that the average length of words played in Scrabble III makes it the biggest-word word game--of any sort--to ever come down the pike.
But first of all, some quick background...
You already know Scrabble II For Word Lovers from a bunch of my other pages. (Right?) For the last 5 years or so (writing in September 2013) I've been trying to show the world that Scrabble can work marvelously as a word game, as opposed to the modern, tournament-style game which is often described as a "strategy" game, meaning something like chess or checkers using "valid letter sequences" as game pieces.
Scrabble II is nothing but pure Scrabble opened up to much longer words. In fact, the words are about 50 percent longer than on top-level tournament Scrabble boards. But since Scrabble II retains all the elements of "regular" Scrabble, you will still see the occasional, almost mindless, small-word, high-score play, such as BOX/AX for 50-plus points. And you will still play off problem tiles in short, frequently unfamiliar words in order to improve your rack.
I found myself becoming increasingly weary of small words on the Scrabble board, whether played for cheap points or for rack management. One day I realized I had no interest in ever seeing another ZIP, ZAP, ZOO, JOE, POX, QUA, AQUA, AQUAE, QUOTA, OZONE, ABA, AGA, ALA, AMA, ANA, etc., etc., etc., on a Scrabble board.
And so Scrabble III For Big Word Lovers was born.
Think of Scrabble III as the second quantum leap, in both size of words and complexity of strategy, above and beyond "regular" Scrabble.
You're not going to get the Scrabble III rules here. I'm playing that close to my chest. There will be rich rewards for anyone who brings it to the internet to my exact specifications. The first two million dollars are all yours.
It should come as no surprise that Scrabble III takes off from Scrabble II, so you will see the perfectly mated extended board, 8-tile rack, and stepped bonuses as incentives for big plays. There's no bluffing, and there's the same refreshing, random scoop of 100 tiles from a mix of three sets.
Remember also that Scrabble II has an extremely modest 3-letter minimum rule. This little fix works wonders all by itself in boosting the respectability of a Scrabble board. Scrabble fliers suggested the 3-letter minimum way back in 1950, and it's a crying shame it wasn't made an official rule.
Scrabble III ups the ante to a 6-letter minimum. The only words you will see on a Scrabble III board less than six letters are the occasional short connectors. But the thrilling thing is how Scrabble III vaults you into the realm of jumbo words of nine letters and above. How this can work at all, never mind without any significant increase in trading, is, once again, top secret. That is, highly classified. I.e., strictly confidential.
But I can show you what to expect when Scrabble III comes to an internet near you. I will pit our Scrabble III games against the top games from the recent, 2013 National Scrabble Championship.
The U.S. National Scrabble Championship was held in Las Vegas in August 2013. There were 31 rounds. The most important game of each round involves the two leading players and is called the "Table 1" game. The play-by-play for the 31 Table 1 games was posted on the NASPA web site.
Accordingly, I chose 31 consecutive Scrabble III games played in the Dover Scrabble Club, from the same time frame, for comparison.
What you see in this study are the words on the final boards, as opposed to the individual plays. Words in red would not be acceptable in the Dover Scrabble Club since we use a regular dictionary. Think of it as spotting the champs an extra 50,000 words or so.
Here, then, for your viewing pleasure, is us, regular people, playing Scrabble III, versus them, the best of the best, playing modern--I can't say "classic"--Scrabble.
Wish 'em luck! :-)
Dover: (5) DEREGULATORY HISTORICALLY REDEPOSITING REINVESTMENT UNAFFECTEDLY
Dover: (6) BELEAGUERED DISEMBARKED PARACHUTIST QUESTIONERS REDIRECTING SORROWFULLY
Champs: (1) QUARTERING
Dover: (21) DERIDINGLY DESPOILERS EPITOMIZED FRESHENERS INDECISION INSERTIONS OUTSPANNED PARALLELED PRESORTING QUIETENING RATIONALLY REDOUBLING REFRAINING REMAINDERS RENOVATION RESONATION SWEETENING UNSOLVABLE VALOROUSLY VIGILANTES VOCALISING
Champs: (6) COLORIZED REORIENTS ENVENOMED NAILHEADS TROWELERS EUPATRIDS
Dover: (49) ABROGATED ANNUITIES ASPIRATED ASTOUNDED BANTERERS BEDAZZLED BRAVERIES BUTTERING CREATURES DELIGHTED DETHRONES DEVIOUSLY DISAVOWED ENERVATED ENGINEERS FAVORABLY FLOORINGS FLOUNCIER IMPRECISE INTRIGUED LOITERING MAINLINER ORIENTATE OUTSMILES PENCHANTS PINWHEELS PLANTAINS PREFACING REENTERED RELATIONS RELENTING RELOCATED RENDITION REQUESTER RESONATES REUNITING ROQUETING RUMINATED SLACKENED SNORKELED STATESIDE STEELIEST STRAINING STREAKING TORMENTER UNEARTHED UNMARRIED VISCOUNTS WELCOMERS
Champs: (67) ADENINES AIRFARES ALBACORE ANTILIFE ANTRORSE ARMORIES ARNATTOS BARISTAS BEATINGS BRITTLER CARACOLE CINEOLES COLLIDES DEICIDAL DEMONIST DESEXING DETOXING DITHERED EATERIES ENAMORED ENHALOES ENTOZOIC EXCITANT FADDIEST FATBOATS FINGERED FLOTAGES FLYBOATS GIANTESS GRADATED HOLIDAYS INDORSEE INDUCERS JAUNTING JUVENALS MANAGERS MIGRATOR MISFILED MOTORWAY MOULDING NICTATED OBELISKS ONTOGENY OSTIOLAR OUTWILED PANATELA PANTILED PANTOFLE POSTCARD PRETRIAL RAMPOLES REGISTRY RELIEVED RETINTED ROSARIAN ROTATION ROYALISM STERLING STRESSED STUDYING SYNERGIA TANAGERS THREAPER TRAMPLED TWITTERS VENTAILS WINDIEST
Dover: (128) ADDITION ADORNING ADVOCATE AERATION AERATION AGREEING ALLURING ARTISTIC ATTAINED AUREOLAS BALONEYS BARMIEST BEAUTIES BEMOANED BLOTCHED BOTHERED BRANDING BREAKERS CALORIES CANNIEST CAPERING CARAMELS CAROLING CATERING CHAMPING CHORALES CLOAKING CRAVINGS CREATION CRITTERS CROONING CUTTINGS DEMOTING DETAINER DEVIATES DOODLING DRAWLING DROOPIER DROOPIER EARRINGS EFFICACY ELECTION ENABLING ENDURING FABULOUS FANCIERS FATTIEST GALLOPED GIVEAWAY GLOWERED GRABBING GRADIENT GRATINGS GREEDILY GREETING GROUNDED HAUNTERS HAUNTING HOARDERS HOARDING HOTHOUSE IMPULSES INACTION INCENSED INVESTED JOINDERS LANDINGS LEANINGS LEARNERS LEGGIEST LEVELING MAINTAIN MOCCASIN MOLDIEST MOURNERS MUCILAGE MUCILAGE MUFFLERS NARROWER NOSTRILS OPERATED OUTCROPS OUTFIRED OUTFOXED OUTHOUSE OUTPRICE OVERCOAT PATTERNS PENUCHES PETITION POSSIBLE PRATTLER PREENING QUOTABLE REACTIVE REAGENTS RECOATED REMARKED REMOVING RETOTALS REVERSAL ROASTERS ROOSTING ROTATING SCATTING SCOURGED SIGHTERS SNAPPERS SNAPPING SOUNDERS SPLURGED STRADDLE STRAINED TIPPLERS TRAMPLED TRAWLERS TWENTIES UNAMAZED UNTRACED UNWASHED VIADUCTS VOYAGING WARBLING WAVELETS WEBBINGS WHOOPING WORKADAY
Champs: (59) ABDUCTS AERIEST AGOROTH ANTLERS ARENOSE ARGOTIC BATTUES BEGORAH BOOGERS BOSQUET BRUTISH CANDIED CHAUFER CORNICE CRISTAE DAIRIES DECODES DEMONIC DOOLIES EXCLUDE FULLEST GORDITA HERNIAS HIJACKS HOGWEED HULLOED IDEATES INGESTA ISOLATE LIAISES LIZARDS MOUSERS NERVOUS NOTATED OVERHOT PERINEA PIGNORA PLACATE POSTURE PROTEST REAGINS REESTED RESHONE RODENTS SHAITAN SHINIER SOONERS SPARELY TEDDIES TRUNDLE UNLEARN UNRISEN UNSEXED UNSWORE URANYLS VILLAGE VINTAGE WITHIER WITNESS
Dover: (148) AIRFOIL ALREADY AMNESTY AMNESTY ANODYNE AQUATIC ARREARS ARRIVAL ARRIVED ASUNDER AVERTED BADDEST BADDIES BAWLING BEADING BEGUINE BLEATER BLEEPED BOOGIES BOOKIES BOUQUET BRAINED BRAVING BUILDER BUSIEST CANAPES CANAPES COOKIES COOPING CRAWLED CUDDLED DAMPING DANGLES DARTING DEVILRY DINGIER DIRTIER DOFFING DRAFTED DRIFTED EIDETIC ELATION ELITIST ENTITLE EVICTED EVOKING FADEOUT FALTERS FEASTED FLOWERY FOALING FRAUGHT FRILLED FRONTED FROWNER GALLOWS GAVOTTE GLARING GLOATED GOADING GROUTED HANDLES HANKERS HAWKERS HEAVENS HOBBIES HOKIEST HOLIEST HOMERED HUMANLY HUMIDOR IDIOTIC INUTILE IRIDIUM JOCULAR JOCULAR LANGUOR LATERAL LEGATES LENDING LOOPIER LOTIONS MALARIA MANAGES MANTRIC MARRIED MATINEE MATTERS MEWLING MOTORED NATIVES NUTRIAS OUTPACE OUTSIDE OUTSIDE OUTTAKE OVATION PAGODAS PALAVER PARADES PASTIME PEEKING PIGLETS POINTED POWERED PRIMMER PROXIES PURVIEW QUAKING RALLIES RETOTAL REVOLVE ROOTING ROUGHED ROUGHER SCOUTER SEDATED SERVICE SHORING SMEARER SOARING SPOUTED SPRAYED STOWING TAWNIER TEARFUL TOASTED TOGGERY TONGUES TOPPLES TRAWLED TREBLES TRIVETS UNCTION UNEATEN UNFAZED VAGRANT WADDLED WANTONS WARRENS WASTING WATTAGE WHACKER WIGGLES WORDILY WORLDLY WORRIED ZIPPERS
Champs: (73) ACETUM ADDING AEROBE APIECE APNOEA ATAVIC AVOWER AWOKEN BABIED BEWEPT BURGLE CABALA CARDIO CINEMA CLEWED CLOWNS CORNED COSHER CURVED DARNED DAWNED DIGLOT DONGAS DOTAGE DREARY DUDING ENDURO EVITED EXILIC EXTENT FINNED FLAVOR GAEING GRIDES GUAIAC GWEDUC HATING HIJRAS IODINE LEAVEN LLAMAS MAGICS MALTOL MERINO MORGAN NAMING NORITE OAKIER ODIOUS OGLING PARODY PHOOEY PIGPEN PINIER POTAGE PREMIX PUTRID QUEANS RIGGED RUDELY SAJOUS STONED TEAPOT THOUED TINEID UNSEXY UNTACK UNWIND VATTED VULVAR WANTER WINDUP WORRIT
Dover: (87) ABACUS ADIEUX AFRAID ANGORA ANSWER APRONS BABIES BANKER BEHAVE BOATED BOOTED BREACH BROOCH CACHED CASTES CLAWED COAXER COMELY COWLED DOGGED DROOPY EAGLES ENOUGH ENTICE EQUITY FELONY FILTHY FOVEAL GARAGE GOITER GOTTEN GUTTED HALVAH HANDLE HEIGHT HERMIT HONKED HOODED HOOPER HOORAY HORRID JALOPY JUNKED KNAVES LAUDED LEEWAY LINKED MAKERS MARKER MASCOT MOANED MOBBED MOPPER MUGGED MUSCLE NAUGHT NECKED NOTIFY OKAYED OUTDID PARING PAVING POOKAS POSIES PULLED QUARRY REMOVE REPAVE REVOLT ROSILY ROWING SAVANT SCORED SPROUT TALKER TANKER THRASH TOMATO UPPING VOLUME VOTERS WAITER WASTED WATERY WEAVER YELLER ZEALOT
Champs: (163) AALII ABASE ABOVE ACRED ADMAN ADZED AEGIS AERIE ALKYD ANISE AQUAE ATOMY AUNTY AZINE AZINE AZOIC BANJO BANNS BIMBO BINDI BLINI BOGEY BORNE BOXED CAGES CAPER CERIA CHOIR CLIFF CLOVE COOEE CORDS COVER CUIFS DATER DAWTS DICTY DJINS DOMAL DOOLY DULSE EAVED EJECT ENEMA ENNUI EQUAL ETWEE EVITE EVITE FAQIR FEAZE FECAL FINAL FINIS FISTS FLAWY FLOTA FLUNK FOGEY FOIST FUGIO FURRY FUSEE GADID GADIS GALAX GANOF GAUZE GENIC GIANT GINNY GLINT GONGS GREEK GRIPE GROWN GUACO GUAVA GUIDE HILLO HORAL IMIDO INDEX IXIAS JALAP JARLS JETON JILLS JOLES KELPS KINES KITHE KITTY KURUS LAUDS LEHRS LEPER LOVED LURID MEATY NAVEL NAVVY NERVY NONCE OBELI OGIVE OKAYS OVOLI PAVED PEAKY PINTS PIRNS PLUNK POCKY PUNTS QUAKE QUEEN QUOTH REINK REWAX ROMEO ROVED RUGAE SABOT SERVO SOJAS SOLEI SPOOL SQUEG TIMES TITIS TOGAE TOMBS TOWIE TREND TRIGO TROOP TROPE TUMID TUNED UNMIX UNMIX UVEAS VELAR VENUS VEXIL VINYL VIRAL VIRLS VIZOR WADDY WARES WEDGY WHETS WINCE WINCH WRONG WYNNS YAIRD YEAST ZAIRE ZLOTY ZOEAL
Champs: (196) AERO AFAR AGUE AJAR AJEE AMIA ANOA ARIA ASHY BABY BARK BEAU BEDU BEEF BETH BEVY BORN BULL BUMF BUTT CAGE CAME CATE CAVE CHEW CHOP COLT COMB CORM CUES DAGO DAME DEFI DEFT DELL DEME DENT DEVA DIFF DIKE DOTH DUIT DUIT EAUX EPHA ETIC EXEC EYED FANO FEAT FIAT FIRE FOIN GETS GOAD GORP HADE HAEN HAIR HEHS HERB HIES HIKE HIST HOBO HOPE HOPS HUNG IDEM ILEX ILKA ILLY JADE JEEP JEER JIAO JIBE JIBE JIGS JIVE JOBS JOES JOLE JUGA JUGS KEIR KING KNEW KUNA LETS LIEU LINY LIRE LOAF LOID LOOK LOUP LOWE MAAR MAIM MANY MARK MEME MEOW MEZE MIRK MIRY MOON MORT MOTT MOWN MUGG MURE NAPA NEBS NINE NINE NOIR NUMB NURD OBIS OBIT OGEE ONUS OOZE OOZY ORYX ORYX OUZO PATY PEGS PHEW PINT PIXY PLUG PLUM POIS PRIM QADI QADI QAID QUAD QUAY QUAY QUIN QUOD RAJA REEL ROUE ROUX SEEP SENT SITH SMEW SPAR SWIM TALE TOFT TOOM TOTE TUCK TUCK TULE TYNE VAIR VALE VARY VERA VERA VIDE VIDS VINY VUGS WAIR WEAK WEEL WEEN WEKA WENT WHEE WHEN WIRY WISH WITE WITE WYTE YARN YAUP YELK YIRR ZARF ZEBU ZERK ZINS ZITS ZORI
Champs: (275) ABA ABA ABO ABY ADO ADO AFT AGA AGE AHA AHI AID AIN AIN AIT AIT ALE ALS AMI AMU ANE ANT APO ARE ARF AVE AWA AWA AWA AWE AWE BAH BAN BAR BAT BEN BET BIO BIT BOD BOO BOP BUT BYE CAM CAR CEL COB CUR DAL DEE DEF DEF DEL DEV DOW DUP DYE EAT EAT EDH EEL EFS EKE ELK ERA ERE ERN ERS ESS EVE FAB FAG FED FEH FEN FER FES FEY FEZ FOB FOB FOE FOE FOR FOX FOY GAL GEM GIP GOB GOD GOD GOT GOT HAD HAG HAG HAO HAT HEH HEP HEY HOG HOT HUH IFS ION IRE JAY JIB JIG JIN JOE JOT JUN KAE KEG KEX KOA LAD LAG LAR LEX LEZ LEZ LIE LOG LOO LOX LOX LYE LYE LYE MAD MAW MAW MEL MIG MOL MUD NAE NAE NAE NAE NAY NET NOH NOO NOO NOR NOR NUN NUN NUS OAF OBE OBI ODA ODE ODE OES OFT OHO OIL OIL ONE OOH OOT OPS ORA ORA ORE ORE ORT OUD OUT OWE PAM PER PES PET PET PEW PIA PIU POH PRO PUG PUN PYA PYE QAT QIS QIS QIS QIS QIS RAI RAN RAS RAT REF REF REI REX REX RIA RUT RYE SAW SHE SIC SIR SUK SUP SUQ TAD TAE TAE TAE TAS TAT TAU TAV TIN TIP TOM TOO TOT TUP TUX UDO UDO UPO UTA VET VEX VEX VIA VOE VOW VOX VUG WAR WED WEE WEE WHO WIG WOE WOG WON WON WON WON WOO WOP WYE XIS YAG YAP YAY YEP YOW ZAG ZAG ZAX ZAX ZAX ZED ZEE ZIG ZIN ZOA
Dover: (7) ARE ERE EWE REB RED SAD WEN
Champs: (385) AA AA AA AA AA AA AB AB AB AD AE AE AE AE AE AE AE AE AE AG AG AG AG AH AI AI AI AL AL AM AM AM AR AR AR AS AS AT AT AW AW AW AX AX AY BA BA BE BE BE BE BI BI BI BI BI BI BI BY BY DE DE DE DE DE DO DO DO DO ED ED ED ED ED EF EF EF EF EF EF EH EH EH EH EH EH EL EL EL EL EL EM EM EM EM EN EN EN EN EN EN EN ER ER ER ER ER ER ER ES ET EX EX FA FA FE FE FE FE FE FE FE FE FE FE FE FE GO GO GO GO GO GO GO HA HA HA HA HE HE HE HE HE HE HI HM HM HO HO ID ID ID ID ID ID ID ID IF IF IF IF IF IN IN IN IS IS IS IS IS IS IS IS IS IT IT IT IT JO JO JO JO LA LA LI LI LI LI LI LI LI LO LO ME ME MI MI MI MM MM MM MO MU MY NA NA NE NE NE NE NE NE NO NO NO NU NU NU NU NU NU NU NU OD OD OD OD OD OE OE OE OF OF OF OH OI OI OI OI OI OI OI ON ON ON OP OP OP OR OR OR OR OR OS OS OS OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OX OX OY OY PA PA PE PE PE PI PI PI PI PI PI PI PI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI RE RE RE RE RE RE SH SI SI SI SI SI SO SO SO SO TA TA TA TA TA TA TA TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TO TO TO TO UH UH UM UM UN UN UN UN UN UP UP UP UT UT WE WO WO WO WO XI XI XI XI XI XU XU XU YA YA YA YA YA YE YE YO YO YO ZA ZA ZA ZA ZA ZA ZA ZA ZA
Dover: (103) AD AD AD AD AD AD AD AD AG AG AG AG AG AH AN AR AR AR AS AS AS AT AT AY AY BE BE BE BE BE BI BY BY BY DO DO DO ED ED ED ED EF EL EL EM EM EN EN EN EN ER ER ER ER ER ER FA HE HE HE HE HO IF IS IT LO LO MA ME ME NO NU ON ON OR OR OS OW OX RE RE RE RE RE RE SH SO SO SO SO TI TI TO TO UP US US US US WE WE YO YO
Champs: (299) ARNATTOS DEICIDAL ENHALOES ENTOZOIC FATBOATS FLOTAGES JUVENALS RAMPOLES SYNERGIA THREAPER ARENOSE ARGOTIC BEGORAH CHAUFER DOOLIES GORDITA PIGNORA WITHIER ATAVIC BEWEPT CARDIO DIGLOT DONGAS EVITED GAEING GRIDES HIJRAS MALTOL OAKIER SAJOUS THOUED TINEID WORRIT AALII BINDI CERIA COOEE CUIFS DAWTS DICTY DJINS DOOLY ETWEE EVITE EVITE FAQIR FEAZE FLOTA FUGIO GADIS GUACO HILLO HORAL IXIAS JETON JOLES KINES KITHE LEHRS PEAKY PIRNS ROMEO SOJAS SQUEG TOGAE TOWIE TRIGO VENUS VEXIL VIRLS WEDGY YAIRD ZAIRE ZOEAL AJEE AMIA BEDU DAGO DEFI DEVA DUIT DUIT EAUX FANO HEHS HIST JOLE KEIR LINY LOID LOUP LOWE MEZE MUGG MURE PATY POIS QADI QADI QAID QUIN TOOM TYNE VERA VERA WAIR WEEL WYTE YAUP YELK YIRR ZERK ZINS ABO ABY AHI ALS AMI AMU APO ARF AWA AWA AWA DEV DOW DUP ERS FEH FER FES HEH JIN JUN KAE KEX LAR LEZ LEZ MIG NOH NOO NOO OBE ODA OES OOT OPS PES POH PYE QAT QIS QIS QIS QIS QIS RAS REI REX REX RIA SUK SUQ TAE TAE TAE TAS TAV UPO UTA VOE VOX WOG WOP YAG ZIN AA AA AA AA AA AA AE AE AE AE AE AE AE AE AE AL AL BA BA DE DE DE DE DE ES ET FE FE FE FE FE FE FE FE FE FE FE FE HM HM JO JO JO JO MM MM MM MO NA NA NE NE NE NE NE NE OD OD OD OD OD OE OE OE OI OI OI OI OI OI OI OP OP OP OY OY PE PE PE QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI QI UN UN UN UN UN XU XU XU YA YA YA YA YA ZA ZA ZA ZA ZA ZA ZA ZA ZA
Note that since Scrabble III (like Scrabble II) is played with a random scoop of a hundred tiles from a mixture of three sets, not every game will have a Q. The Dover Q-words above were from 31 consecutive games showing a Q.
Note that, based on length consideration alone, only the first three Q-words on the champs' list would be allowed on a Scrabble III board.
Serious Scrabble players have to memorize word lists. That wouldn't be so bad, except that, by some sort of process of osmosis, the most "useful" of those funny little "game pieces" have infiltrated even the most casual Scrabble boards.
One of the wonderful things about Scrabble III is that it flies above the word lists. So your opponent has spent hours of his life memorizing weird little Scrabble words so he can merrily slaughter friends and family? He's got all the little J, Q, X, and Z goodies down? All the funny little vowel dumps? And maybe even all of the threes and most of the fours? Fat lot of good it will do him with a 6-letter minimum, ha!
If you take another look at the words played by the champions, you'll see a general trend that the shorter the word, the more oddballs mixed in; and the longer the word, the more familiar they are. So the lopsided advantage that the word lists give to expert Scrabble players is largely nullified. Now, it's your vocabulary and anagram skills against your opponent's. Now, all intelligent word-lovers--yes, even college professors, renowned authors, and crossword puzzle enthusiasts!--can compete at the Scrabble board.
I present the number of words on the final board as a very telling statistic. For the champs, there were a total of 1225 words on the 31 boards. That works out to a walloping 39.5 words per final board. For merely mortal modern Scrabble players, of course, the figure is still higher--around 45 words per final board. (Hmmm, 98 letters... 45 words... What's that say about the length of Scrabble words?)
In Scrabble II, the first quantum leap beyond modern Scrabble, the longer words bring the average down dramatically, to about 27 words on the final board.
And now, in Scrabble III, the second quantum leap, the average plummets to an impossibly slim and trim 18 words on the final board!
In all fairness, though, it has to be admitted that many of the short, short words on a modern Scrabble board are formed as byproducts of putting down the main word. Even so, if you examine just the main word of each of the champs' 763 plays, you would find that 54% (411 out of 763) are four letters or less, and 74% (563 out of 763) are five letters or less. The average length of all the main words played works out to 4.6 letters. Think about that.
In Scrabble III, the minimum word length is 30% longer than the average word length played in the highest level tournament Scrabble!
In all other games and sports, the biggest plays generate the greatest excitement. I promise you that Scrabble is no different. It's just that, until now, no one has even imagined big words on a Scrabble board.
The small tile rack, the constricted board, the densely packed premium squares, a ridiculously inclusive official word set, and little incentive for stringing out long words, have conspired to give us the modern "strategy" game. The best players carefully work up to a big play, the bingo, little by little over many turns. Recreational players might luck out on one in a blue moon.
In regular, modern Scrabble, the main strategy is playing the board; that is, letting the board tell you where to place your highest-value tile. "connecting the dots"
In Scrabble II, the balance was shifted. Digging nice words out of your rack takes precedence over playing the board.
In Scrabble III, the balance is shifted almost completely towards digging words out of your rack, and playing around with words in your head. The board still adds a fun touch, though. Take a look at the natural Z in BEDAzZLED on the first board below. There's still a strong pull towards the triple word scores, and the great thrill of hitting two of them simultaneously. Whenever you have choices--which is almost always--you will need to weigh the pros and cons of playing this word here versus that word there.
In Scrabble III, every play is a big play. The fireworks are continuous - blam! blam! blam! If that sounds cheap to you, coming from the familiar, staid, modern game, please understand that those big words don't jump out of your rack by themselves.
Whereas Scrabble II is pure Scrabble opened up to much longer words, the spirit of Scrabble III has undergone a sea change. In high-level, modern Scrabble, playing small words for big points or rack improvement makes up perhaps 80 percent of the game; closer to 100% for intermediate and recreational players. In Scrabble III, this often mindless, "hurry up and wait" component is done away with completely. Gone. Finished. Through.
Scrabble III - all wheat, no chaff!
Or, if you'd like a somewhat more headbanging mental image...
Scrabble III - a slugfest with words!
Imagine word Titans hurling boulders at each other.
Look like fun? Want to try it? Find me a programmer!
Note: This is the board shown at the top of this page. Total tiles played: 94 Unplayed tiles: 13 G G G N C A M F W E N V V Tile oddities: 5C 6G no J no Q 4V no X Words on final board (17 = 13 BIG + 4 small) 11: PARACHUTIST 10: PRESORTING RENOVATION 9: BEDAZZLED UNEARTHED 8: REVERSAL CAROLING 7: BUSIEST COOKIES BADDIES 6: HEIGHT MUSCLE YELLER 2: US US HE ED
Total tiles played: 101 Unplayed tiles: 8 A E O Y A E A A Tile oddities: 15A 5G no J no K 13O no P no Q 10R no X Words on final board (21 = 15 BIG + 6 small) 12: HISTORICALLY 9: FLOORINGS 8: CALORIES AERATION REAGENTS SCOURGED UNAMAZED BOTHERED 7: GLARING TOASTED 6: AFRAID ROWING GOITER ANGORA VOTERS 2: IF EL SO AH TO ON
Total tiles played: 103 Unplayed tiles: 8 A I I T I N T T Tile oddities: 13I 4M no Q 10T no X no Z Words on final board (18 = 15 BIG + 3 small) 11: SORROWFULLY 9: IMPRECISE SNORKELED UNMARRIED 8: ARTISTIC HAUNTING 7: GROUTED WARRENS AMNESTY DAMPING POINTED EIDETIC REVOLVE 6: JUNKED BEHAVE 2: ED RE AG
Total tiles played: 90 Unplayed tiles: 6 V I I I U U Tile oddities: no B 6G no J no P no Q no X no Z Words on final board (13 = 12 BIG + 1 small) 12: UNAFFECTEDLY 11: REDIRECTING 9: OUTSMILES ORIENTATE FLOUNCIER 8: MAINTAIN GIVEAWAY SIGHTERS 7: DANGLES MATINEE OUTTAKE 6: DOGGED 2: EN
Note: 4 nines. Total tiles played: 100 Unplayed tiles: 8 F N R I O _ I Z Tile oddities: no J 10R 4V no X Words on board (15 = 15 BIG + 0 small) 9: INVENTORS IDOLATERS OUTWORKED ENVELOPED 8: MARINERS DIVIDERS BESTIARY REALIZES 7: FRAMING LANOLIN COATING WARTHOG 6: VOLUME PIQUED PALLID
Note: 3 tens! Total tiles played: 99 Unplayed tiles: 10 O O Y B H O W E S T Tile oddities: 10N 11T no Z Words on final board (19 = 14 BIG + 5 small) 10: CAPTIVATED UNEXAMINED QUARTETTES 9: PROBATION WINTERING 7: THANKED LEEWARD JOCULAR CANNOLI ADORING TEKTITE 6: ENABLE VOLLEY FATING 2: EL EF AD WE IS
Total tiles played: 109 Unplayed tiles: 3 U L V Tile oddities: 5C 10N no Q no Y no Z Words on final board (20 = 16 BIG + 4 small) 11: EXHORTATION 9: ADVOCATES BEMOANING 8: MECHANIC BASILISK ABUTMENT ENSNARED 7: CENTURY OUTGROW TEKTITE RECUSED AVERRED FUNNIER 6: TUGGER PALLOR JAILED 2: BE AD ER AY
Note: Played on my 1949 board, using the standard tile set. Total tiles played: 95 Unplayed tiles: 5 T G U T I Words on final board (18 = 14 BIG + 4 small) 12: INEQUALITIES 9: BALCONIES 8: BLEEDING SPEEDIER UNSHAPED ENSLAVER 7: WARBLED WOOFERS MOOCHER TOPIARY 6: AVIATE MUTINY FAKING OUTFOX 2: BY TI EN MY
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Abbreviations: naspa=north american scrabble players association.
Help! I am trying to give Scrabble II to Hasbro, so that the Scrabble owners can take back what is rightfully theirs from that rip-off, Words With Friends, and make the internet Scrabble board safe for word lovers. Is there anyone out there with the connections or clout to help make that happen?