We’ve received a couple of emails lately asking about some confusion and disagreement with Scrabble scoring rules. We won’t cover everything in here, but there are a couple areas we commonly see confusion with, so that’s what we’ll address.
The first question we’re commonly asked, is whether the first play of the game is doubled or not. The answer is Yes. According to official Scrabble scoring rules, the middle tile of the board with a pink star picture on it, does count as a Double Word Score. This is denoted by the pink color that all double word score tiles have.
The next issue we sometimes have to address is the point bonus for a bingo, or for using all 7 of your letters. The answer to this one is quite simple: if you use all 7 of your letters to make a word, you score the word normally and then add 50 to that score. The 50 points is a bonus for using all 7 tiles. If your word scored 30 for example, your score would be 80.
The third question we receive very frequently is about what order to score your words in. If you land a letter on a Double Letter Score tile, and then the word extends out to a Triple Word Score tile, what order do you do all of the multiplying? It’s quite simple once you learn the basic scoring rules and the official order of adding up points. As a rule of thumb, you always want to count letter scores before word scores. So if a letter is doubled, you double that letter and count that amount toward the word score. You do not double or triple your word score until the entire word score has been calculated. So in the example above, you would double the tile, and then triple your entire score after calculating the value of all letters in your word.
Those are the 3 most common questions we hear when it comes to Scrabble scoring. If you follow those basics, you should be able to avoid confusion and have an enjoyable game without disagreements. For more complicated instances, where a letter lands on a Double Letter or Triple Letter tile going in two directions, simply double or triple it twice for a total of x4 or x6. If you manage to extend a word onto two Double Word Score tiles (this is possible with a 8-letter word that also uses one of your opponents tiles), you need to double the word twice, for a total of x4. Of course, none of this should be done before calculating all of the letter scores first. Remember, always calculate the letter scores before doing any word score adjustments. That’s the key to remembering the Scrabble scoring rules.