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Scrabble started as a game called Lexico invented during the depression by an unemployed architect. But the game we know today was born in 1948 when the original rules were refined, and the name was changed to Scrabble. Now, half a century later, the game is not confined to board and tiles, but can also be played on computers, Palm Pilots, and over the Internet. My kids are third-generation Scrabble players and I’m quite proud of how frequently they beat me.
Eric Harshbarger’s Scrabble Challenges
Eric Harshbarger is a programmer, Web designer, Lego maniac and Scrabble competitor. He’s a curious and creative fellow who like solving puzzles, many of his own invention. One day while thinking about Scrabble tiles, he started dreaming up challenges to solve. “Using the Scrabble letter tiles and their associated point values, which integers (0, 1, 2…), when spelled out, equal the value of their tiles? Do not use the blank tiles, and assume no bonus scoring (no Double Letter Scores, etc)?”
Hasbro has quite a few goodies on their site, starting with a dictionary based on the Scrabble player’s bible Merriam-Webster’s “Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary” (OSPD) and an anagram lookup. Anagrams are all the words you can make with a specific set of letters So if your tiles are “abdefty,” this handy tool lists the seventy-four valid Scrabble words that can be created. Explore “Play to Win” for word lists and exercises to improve your game. Visit “About Scrabble” for tips on introducing young children to the game, and “Scrabble 101: The History of Scrabble.”
Mattel owns the rights to Scrabble outside of the US and Canada . So, if the spelling seems odd here, remember this is the Queen’s English. Best bets are the games and puzzles. There are three Shockwave word games (Scrabble Hangman, Scrabble Invaders and Scrabble Snake) on the kid’s menu (follow the pig) and four Scrabble challenges. The challenges are in the form of a turn in an existing game. You are given seven tiles and asked to maximize your word score. You’ll find these listed as Scrabble Puzzles on the adult (but not the kids) game menu.
Playsite is a free Java-based gaming site that hosts hundreds of simultaneous Scrabble games in lobbies divided into Beginner and Advanced; Social and Competitive. You can play as a guest, but registered users (registration is free) can chat and get a Playsite Scrabble rating that increases or decreases with play. Other Playsite games include chess, Monopoly, checkers and backgammon.
The Scrabble Rack
If you play Scrabble on your computer, and your competitors don’t object to an “open-computer-tool” policy, you’ll enjoy the tiny pop-up Scrabble Buddy. Be sure to resize the window so all three buttons are visible: Check, Match, Anagram. Check is a dictionary lookup. Match provides a list of hooks (words created by adding letters to the front or back of a base word.) Anagrams are all the possible words that can be created from your tiles. The results can be sorted by score (very cool) or word length.