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A "newbie" is someone who is new at SCRABBLE club. A newbie may have been a very competitive player at-home player, someone who has played on-line, or may just be starting to play the game.

We jave several ways of helping newbies get acclimated if they wish. These aids may be used or not.

  • Using a "Cheat Sheet" during games until the newbie has won three games. This sheet has lists of short words acceptable in the Official Tournament and Club Word List, affectionately known as the "OWL".
  • Getting free challenges until the newbie has won three games. By this we mean that if you challenge someone unsuccessfully, you will not lose your turn. Also, if you are challenged and lose your word, you may replay without penalty.
  • Playing without losing 10 points per minute if you go overtime on your clock until you win three games.
    However, if a game goes overlong, the director may call an end to the game in order that the club session may progress smoothly.

Did you say "clocks"?

That's right! We play tournament-style SCRABBLE, which means players use a clock during their games to help keep things moving along and to help practice for tournament play. When you are new at club, we try to help you remember to hit your clock at the end of your turn.

We use a timer (see example) which is actually two individual timers, only one of which is running at any point in time. Each player is allowed 25 minutes.

Your timer runs when it's your turn. When you complete you turn, you press a button which stops your timer and starts your opponent's timer.

The clock can also be paused, or neutralized, for special situations like challenging, checking the score, questions for the director, questions for the director, and at the end of the game.

If you happen to use more than the allotted 25 minutes, an overtime penalty of 10 points is subtracted from your final score for each additional minute. This penalty DOES NOT apply to newcomers who are unfamiliar with timed play until they have won three games.

As mentioned above, we use the Official Tournament and Club Word List, or "OWL" for short. This word list includes acceptable words up to 9 letters in length. At club and tournaments, we use a computer program called ZYZZYVA, which includes words up to 15 letters in length.

The Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary 4th edition (OSPD4) is sold in major bookstores throughout North America and contains most of the words (and some extra ones) used in organized play. This family-friendly version includes brief meanings. We don't use it for official adjudications, but it's great for finding definitions.

What if your opponent plays a word you think is not really a word? Can you challenge it? How?

You may challenge any word or words made on the current play. You say "Challenge", stop the clock, and go to the computer with your opponent to look up the play.

If an adjudication computer is not available, you just raise your hand and say "Challenge!" A director or other capable person will hasten to your side to rule on the play, deem it acceptable or unacceptable after consultation with the OWL. If you are still not satisfied with the human ruling, you may request a second opinion, in which case another adjudicator will check the word.

In a tournament situation, you will fill out a challenge slip containing the challenged words to either take to the computer or hand to the word judge.

Almost all of us got thrashed at first! One of us holds the club record for most games played at club before finally winning a game. Ask around when you visit our club! We do have several things that can help you prepare and study. Please check the "Preparation" and "Links" pages for suggestions. We are a small, casual club, and while we tend to pair players of similar skill, all players who come regularly will play every other player from time to time. We promise to make you feel welcome, regardless of how much or how little Scrabble® you've played - we love helping others enjoy playing as much as we do!

Since we are a North American Scrabble® Players Association- sanctioned club, we use the rules provided by NASPA.  Our Top Ten List is found here.  Comprehensive rules directors use in club and tournaments are found on the NASPA web page.