Multiple challenges and passes in a row. Does the game end?

by Brad
(Mission, KS)

My brother and I play a lot of Scrabble. Towards the end of the game I challenge one of Chad's words. He loses his turn and I can play but don't want to. So I pass. Chad then plays another word and is challenged and it is not a word. Can he just continue to play words if I pass until he matches something up?

Sooner or later he will be able to make up a word that's in the Scrabble Dictionary. Is there a limit to how many times you can continue to create new words and lose your turn?

Hi Brad. This is one of the many situations that wasn't catered for in the original rules for Scrabble, but which is covered in official Scrabble tournament rules. Unfortunately, there are different rules used in different organizations to deal with this situation.

Here's the rule adopted by the World English Scrabble Players' Association (it's the rule I like to play to)...


RULE 5.2.1/2 - The game ends after six consecutive turns scoring zero. The scores of zero may result from any combination of:

(a) passes;
(b) exchanges; and
(c) successful challenges.

If the game is ended under this rule, each player’s score is reduced by the total value of the tiles on his or her rack.


So in your situation, you would have to work out whether passing in response to Chad's false words would give you a win (assuming three false words and three subsequent passes by you).

Since you don't know what letters Chad has on his rack, you don't know how much will be taken off his score at the end. If you are miles ahead though, this can be a handy winning strategy for you. If you are behind, you're better off not passing three times in a row ;-)

As I said, this is just one of several official rulings used throughout the Scrabble world to deal with this situation. The important thing is for you and your opponent/s to agree on the rule (or another, if you prefer) before playing.

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