Word Buff's Totally Unfair
Scrabble Guide

What is it about grandmothers and Scrabble?

Although I don't remember my very first Scrabble game, I remember my opponent vividly. Here she is now...
Grandmothers and Scrabble I know she looks harmless enough. But don't be deceived! Like a lot of grandmothers, mine was a crossword veteran of 30 odd years, with a word knowledge that made her unbeatable.
This annoyed me deeply.

Anyway, years later, I stumbled upon a kind of underworld, inhabited by addicts who lived and breathed this game. I'm talking about people who anagrammed in their sleep!

It was a place where people routinely pulled 50 bonus points, not once, but twice or more per game, and racked up scores of 500 like it was child's play.

But I also discovered that much of what looked like inspired genius, was actually the result of many hours of intensive study and carefully-directed practice.

After they shared their secrets with me, my grandmother was history! Now please don't think I have some kind of sinister vendetta against grandmothers or anything, but in these pages I'll teach you how to do the same to yours.

Before I can help you, though, you're going to need a few things...

FIRST — I know it sounds a bit silly, but you do actually own a copy of the game, right? Is your set a hand-me-down from the 1950s when your grandmother was swooning over Elvis? That's ok - the game hasn't changed a bit since then!

But just check to make sure it isn't too much like my beloved set (yep, that be him)...

Do you have a full set of 100 tiles? Or have you hand-written an X on one of the blanks, got two different colored Q's, and three missing I's?

Do you have a nice, flat Scrabble board with legible colored squares? Or do you weigh down the board with a salt and pepper shaker in two corners, and just ignore the childhood genitalia scrawled on all the pink squares?

If not, maybe it's time to invest in a new set. Hey, I know the new ones aren't as elegant and sturdy as those handsome early games, but the upside of this is that they're very inexpensive.

SECOND — If you're at all serious about this wonderful game, then this one is crucial. The reason it's crucial is that it underpins just about everything else you're going to learn here. In fact, it's so important that I'm afraid I'm going to have to yell...


Ok, no more yelling. I promise ;-)

THIRD (Optional) — This one is only for the real diehards. Those of you who want to become invincible at lounge-room Scrabble. Get yourself a copy of How to Win - the best book about this game in existence. There really isn't much you need to know about Scrabble strategy that you won't find between the covers of that book. (Unfortunately, it's unlikely that any copies of this rare book will be available - another reason you'll have a definite edge if you find a copy!)

All check-boxes ticked? Good! Now it's time to start learning more about our favorite game. So here are the sorts of things you'll find here at Word-Buff...


With around one quarter of a million words allowed in the Official Dictionary, you really have to get systematic about word-learning to get on top of this game. That means knowing which words are more important than others, and grouping these words into cohesive lists to help make them stick.

So I've put together some of the most important word lists you'll need to get your head around, and also explained why each list will help you win more games. Here they are...

Collins Scrabble Words (CSW12)

Q Without U Words
All Two Letter Words
All Three Letter Words
Most Useful Four Letter Words
100 Most Likely Seven Letter Words
100 Most Likely Eight Letter Words
US Memory Champion's List-Learning System

Tips & Tricks

Having played Scrabble competitively for over a decade, and having interrogated dozens of expert players in the process, I've accumulated a pretty hefty swag of tips, tricks, and tools over the years.

I've summarized much of what I have learned in the form of brief 'how-to' articles. These short Scrabble lessons are full of practical expert advice to help you improve your game — one bit at a time. Here's what I've got for you so far...

Beginners Guide to Scrabble Words
Talk the Talk - Scrabble Jargon
How to Resolve Common Scrabble Arguments
3 Ways to Improve Your Rack
Anatomy of an Expert Scrabble Game
How To Play Scrabble On Facebook


In the last year or so I've become something of a roaming reporter, scouring the world for serious word gamers and puzzlers to entertain Word-Buff readers. Here are the interviews I thought might appeal to you the most...

Andrew Fisher
Bob Jackman
Trip Payne
Michael Thelen


Whenever I come across a book, movie, application, game, or other resource that looks valuable, I try to put up a review here at Word-Buff. I'm a bit behind in my write-ups right now, but here's a tasty morsel to get you started...

3 Very Handy (FREE) Helpers
Scrabble Word Builder


Every day, thousands of people play this addictive game, and communities of like-minded souls are popping up everywhere to support it. There are clubs, tournaments, online games, cruises, forums and mailing lists galore, but.... how to find them?

Below are the details of some of the organized groups and activities that I thought might get you started in finding your tile-mates...

World Youth Scrabble Championship
World English Scrabble Players Association
World Online Scrabble Challenge

Tell Us About YOUR Scrabble Activity

Ask a Question

But of course, no matter how many pages I write, and how many topics I cover, there will always be that one nagging question in your mind that I just haven't addressed. Well, guess what? I've got it covered! How?

I've put together a Scrabble Help Line where you can ask any question you like about Scrabble, and I'll do my best to answer it for you within 48 hours. Heck, I'll even hassle expert players on your behalf if I have to!

In fact, even if you don't have a question, you might like to browse through the existing questions and answers (there are plenty!). You might just learn something interesting.

And speaking of learning something interesting...

If you'd like me to drop you a line from time to time with interesting tidbits from the world of Scrabble, as well as other word games, just pop your contact details into the box below and click 'Subscribe'. You'll be ready to start receiving my free Word-Buff Stuff! newsletter in no time.

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