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Noel's Scrabble Tips

Noel's Tips
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Tips for New Players - 1

Most scoring moves, as opposed to deliberately defensive moves, of which more will be said later, will be variations on the themes that we illustrate in this game. To really underline the ideas, the highest-value tiles, the J, Q, X and Z, have been given pride of place, and the scores are all very high indeed. Apart from bonus-moves, average scores for a move are more typically around 25 points. But even scores of this size require careful assessment of all the opportunities available. Usually, these opportunities will be of a similar type to those that follow, but will use the intermediate 3- or 4-point scoring tiles in the places here exploited by the 8- or 10-point tiles.

(Purists may find better, or even higher-scoring moves than those used in this example game. The choice, however, is influenced by the need to illustrate all the common high-scoring moves, without resorting, at this stage, to specialized vocabularies.)

The First Move

The first move rarely produces a good score. It needs a 5-letter word, just to reach the double-letter score (here sitting under the Q), and 5-letter words are not always easy to find. This simple example, however, serves to illustrate two points. Firstly, the most fundamental way of gaining a good score is to try to find a move which multiplies the score of your highest-scoring tiles by as many factors as possible.

The opening move is a double-word score. A high-scoring tile on the double-letter score, as well, will count a total of 4 times over. The best moves will normally multiply high-scoring tiles by 6 times or even more, but 4 times is not bad, especially at the beginning. The second point to note is that this move does not use the Z, and yet it still scores 48 points. Instinctively playing QUIZ will only score 44 points, and will waste a tile which you would do better keeping for another high-scoring move to come later. The lesson, then, straight-away, is to look to get the high-scoring tiles on the premium squares.

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