No Vowels?

If I were to choose between a no-consonant rack and a no-vowel rack, I'd rather choose the latter. Since consonants have higher point values in Scrabble, you'll probably have more chances of scoring higher points using a rack without vowels than a rack without consonants. Besides, there are more all-consonant words than all-vowel words. Most of them, however, require the letter Y like THYMY, WYCH, or XYST. Those that don't need the letter Y are the following:


Click here for the complete list of words without vowels.

Playing With Vowels

Having a rack bombarded with vowels can be frustrating. It's even more frustrating if you exchange them yet end up with the same vowels. That's why it is also wise if you can play those vowels away to at least gain points while leaving a manageable number of vowels in your rack. These are some of my favorite words that are rich in vowels:

3-letter word:
EAU - this is probably the longest word and the only 3-letter word that has no consonant in the TWL dictionary.

4-letter words:

5-letter words:

containing power tiles:
letter K: AKEE
letter J: AJEE, JIAO
letter X: EAUX, IXIA

Can you still handle more? Click here.

To Challenge Or Not To Challenge

Before anything else, you can skip this post if you play the VOID option. When challenging a play, you should consider first what option you are using. If you play SINGLE, then making a challenge will not be risky so it's okay if you are unsuccessful. However if you play DOUBLE or 5-POINT, challenge a play if you are willing to risk losing a turn or 5 points. If you suspect your opponent's bingo to be a phoney (invalid word), then challenge it. It's okay if it turns out to be unsuccessful rather than letting him get away with a phoney and the 50-point bonus. But if the play is worth only a few points, then you might want to let it go to avoid the consequences. Another thing that you might want to take note of is that if you can benefit from his play, do not challenge it even if you are sure that it is an invalid word. For example, if he plays CROB and you'll be needing his C to play your bingo which is VACCINES then let him play the word. Or if he plays WARF and you have a D in your rack to make DWARF and it gives you a good spot in the triple word score then do not challenge it.

Challenges and Penalties

When a player suspects an invalid word or words played by his opponent, he may choose to challenge the play. If the challenge is successful, meaning there are words that were found to be invalid, his opponent loses one turn. If not, the player gets a penalty depending on the game.

In Gamehouse Scrabble, the game uses only a VOID option in which no challenge is necessary since the play is automatically validated. If there are any invalid words played, the program automatically rejects the play without any penalties. The player is then required to make another move.

In ISC, the game has four options namely:

1. VOID - as explained above
2. DOUBLE - a player will lose one turn for making any unsuccessful challenge
3. SINGLE - this is a "no-risk challenge" in which a player doesn't get any penalty for making any unsuccessful challenge
4. 5-POINT - a player gets a 5-point deduction for making any unsuccessful challenge

You may also NOT challenge a play even if you are sure that the word is invalid. Why, you ask? I'll explain that strategy in another post so stay tuned for updates!

Defensive Scrabble Strategies

Playing Scrabble without learning some defensive strategies will surely give your opponent the chance to take advantage of the good spots. It is best to take note of the following:

1. Do not be generous enough to give away the triple word scores. It's not worth it if you place your word on a double word score leaving the triple word score wide open for your opponent. Please, you're not Santa.

2. Avoid placing a vowel next to a premium square since your opponent will be able to place a consonant on that spot and make a two-way play. Remember, most consonants have higher point values than vowels.

3. If you have good tiles on your rack, keep the board open for more chances of scoring a bingo. If not, keep it tight. Your opponent might have a bingo and you don't want to get pummeled throughout the game, do you?

4. Avoid placing words with common hooks like S. If there is a need to place a word with a hook, make sure you have the hook and it's not a common letter so it's yours for the taking.

5. If the triple word score is wide open but you can't take it, then might as well block it. It's okay if you don't get the triple word scores as long as they don't get it either.

6. When the end is near, check the tiles that haven't been played yet especially the power tiles. For instance, if your opponent still has a Q at hand, then let him keep it in his hand and not on the game board. That will give him a 10-point deduction when the game is over.

Always remember to play it safe but if you need to take risks, then better keep your fingers crossed, buddy!