How to Play Scrabble
Like a Champion
Review by Word Buff
Get it here
As you can guess from the title, this is a book for the seriously ambitious Scrabble player.
I don't want to spend time here recapitulating all the well-known basics of Scrabble strategy - you'll find that subject dealt with pretty extensively throughout Word Buff. Instead, I'd like to talk about a few topics Joel covers that other authors either haven't touched upon, or haven't dealt with anywhere near as well...
Words & Word Study
In chapter 3, Joel devotes about 10 pages to the subject of Scrabble words. This chapter is not about learning them, but rather about the nature of Scrabble words.
It's a very important chapter, in my opinion, because it is a subject that both befuddles and infuriates those who are new to the competitive scene, who are usually given a 'that's just how it is' spiel without much elaboration.
Specifically, unseasoned players are forewarned about the surprising (if not ridiculous!) words allowed in Scrabble, with dozens of fun examples to illustrate.
Joel also eloquently explains the attitude he, and most expert players, have to Scrabble words. His comment below, for example, reflects what he perceives as a misplaced emphasis outsiders often place on the 'educational content' of the game:
"...it is important to remember that we are talking about a game here. Sure we can learn something about mechanical physics from bowling, or accoustics from music, or even physiology, biology, and anatomy from lovemaking. But that's hardly the point." [p44]
The other main place Joel addresses the subject of Scrabble words is Chapter 6 (Tournament Preparation) in which he says a bit more about word-study.
This is a crucial, yet somewhat understated, section of the book because as you would probably guess, word knowledge underpins the entire game of Scrabble.
study versus training
Strategy & Tournament Play
Meet Joel Wapnick, author of How to Play Scrabble Like a Champion