Noel's Scrabble Tips

New Players

Noel's Tips
Rack Management
Learning Words
Tile Turnover
Changing Tiles

Possessing the Initiative
Triple-Word Squares
Defensive Play
The Endgame

Tips for More Advanced Players
- Possessing the Initiative

This is a subtle, but, nevertheless very important aspect of the game, which is not always properly appreciated. There are many pivotal points, in any game, where a player can sense an opportunity to seize the initiative, or, simply sense that he/she already has the initiative. Often, it will be simply the case that the player who is in the lead is the one who has the initiative. The other player, being forced to try to catch up, is made to take risks, and gamble on being always ready to accept opportunities that have still to arise. This might simply mean saving for bonus-words, which may, of course, never come. Sometimes it is the margin of the lead that confirms and extends the sense of who has the initiative. If you are 60 points ahead, and your opponent changes, or merely scores very little, then you might consider using the blank, or an S, to ensure you get a score of 30-plus, to push you into a 90-point lead. Being one-and-half bonus words ahead can be very nearly as good as being two bonus plays ahead. In this case you are using the blank or the S to help you to seize the initiative. From now on, your opponent will be taking even bigger risks, and making even more compromises on score.

Conversely, the player who is forced into a change, or the one who defends as a matter of course, rather than because the game requires it, is, almost always, surrendering the initiative.

The lesson, here, then, is to be aware of the scores, and the margin between you and your opponent. It will help you to judge the true value of the opportunities that come your way, and to modify your strategy depending on who is winning, and by how much, and at what stage of the game.

Triple-Word Squares