Five Places To
Play Scrabble Online
Here are some of the best ways to play Scrabble online without paying a cent!
With each option I've described the prerequisites and some of the major pros and cons of each.
If you're like me, nothing beats a real face-to-face game of Scrabble with a good friend, on an old worn board, with sturdy wooden racks, a pen and paper for scoring, and a coffee or cold beer on the side. But...
Sooner or later you become curious about all this talk of internet Scrabble. The thing is, playing Scrabble online is not a replacement for real-world Scrabble - it's a wonderful addition. I mean, you can't just turn up at a friend's place at 3am, board in hand, and expect to see an understanding face at the door. Nor can you hop on a plane every time you feel like a game against your overseas friends and rellies.
Here's where internet Scrabble comes into its own. Any time. Any where. Just log on, and start playing. If you're Web-savvy, you'll probably just need to know where to go to get started. If you're a bit less confident with the online world, you'll probably appreciate some gentle backdrop. Either way, this page should have all the information you need.
Internet Scrabble Club
- NOTE — These reviews are only semi-complete so far, and for the most part are a collection of important notes. The reviews should be polished very soon, but in the meantime if you have a comment to make about any of these options (or other online Scrabble games you know about) please drop me a line. I would be VERY interested to hear from you.
The following instructions are all explained pretty clearly (and in more detail) at the ISC site, but I'll list them here just to give you an idea of what you're in for. And don't worry, it's really quite easy...
- Register with ISC. This just requires you to specify a username, a password, and an email address that will be used to identify you in the ISC community.
- Download an application called WordBiz. This application will run on your computer and will enable you to connect to the ISC server (that's the computer at the other end that runs all the Scrabble games). There's some other stuff you may need/want to install on your machine, but it's all very clearly explained on the download page.
Here's what the Scrabble board will look like on your computer screen...
- ISC supports Windows, Macintosh, and Linux operating systems.
- You cannot put a Scrabble game on hold, and complete it in bits and pieces at your convenience. Once a game has started, you play it right to the end in one session. If you would prefer a game where you can play moves at your leisure, you might prefer Facebook Scrabble or eMail Scrabble (both described on this page).
- It is considered to be unethical to abandon games part way through, and players who acquire a reputation for doing this can be banned.
- Games can be played to any Scrabble dictionary agreed on by you and your opponent.
- You'll need to have a Facebook account.
- You'll only be able to play the Scrabble application appropriate to your location. If you live in England, for example, you won't be able to use the Hasbro Scrabble app to play a friend in Canada.
- As with all Facebook applications, there are privacy issues. When using a third party Facebook app, it is very difficult to know what Facebook data has been accessed and what will happen to that data.
- The Facebook app can be notoriously slow and a memory hog, to the extent that you sometimes have to close down your browser, re-log into Facebook to continue the game.
- Free version is full of ads and interruptions and limited playing rooms. Pogo Club membership (not free -free 14 day trial.)
- Over 6,000 players
- 2 to 4-player games
- Levels: Social/Beginner/
- People or bots
- Free and Paid Game Rooms
- Dictionary - North American only
- Game requires Java, and takes quite a while to load in a new browser window
- House rules - e.g. recycling blanks, peeking at the dictionary, etc.
- NSA rated section is for Members Only
- Need to disable popup blockers for pogo site
- Watch games
- Competitions and prizes going on all the time
- Flashing banners and sound effects are distracting
- Ads mid-game called 'intermiss
- Hints pop up like 'There are less than 7 tiles left - try to use them up'
- Probably best for socializing than serious play
- Email Scrabble is only available for Windows. It is compatible with most browsers, although if you have Firefox version 3.5, you'll need to install something first (although I didn't - I guess that means I already had the necessary Windows stuff on board).
- It isn't possible to bluff your opponent into accepting a false word. If you attempt to submit a move containing an invalid word, the application won't let you.
- The application uses the current North American Scrabble tournament dictionary (sometimes called TWL06). It is not possible to select an alternative dictionary (e.g. SOWPODS) at this stage, however the owner tells me that plans to allow the user to customize the dictionary are in the 'high-priority pipleline'. I'll update this note if/when that happens.
- The biggest negative about this option is that Lexulous isn't actually Scrabble! In order to replace the banned Scrabulous app, its makers had to create a game that was sufficiently different from Scrabble that they wouldn't be sued (again!). It still looks and feels a lot like Scrabble, but for serious Scrabble players, the differences (such as the number of tiles on your rack = 8) are too big a pill to swallow.
- To sign up, enter your email and they'll send you a link to confirm your request and complete the usual registration process (i.e. username and password).
- If you click the 'Seven letter version' link, the game is much closer to the real Scrabble. The premium squares and tile scores seem to be right.
- Offers three versions of play - Live, Email, and practice
- Can configure: Dictionary (UK or US), #Players (2,3,4), Game Type (Rated or Unrated), Times, Challenge (Regular, Single, Double, 5 Points, Strict)
- Can become a certified non-quitter
- Needs Java
- Unintuitive and buggy (though they say they were doing an extensive makeover at the time I trialled the game)
- Connection lost midgame
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