The goal of Scrabble is to collect as many points as possible by placing letter tiles to create words onto the gameboard. At the end of the game, when one player has gone out of letter tiles or nobody can make any more legal moves, the player with the most points wins.
First, appoint one player with good arithmetic skills to be your scorekeeper. You will need a pencil and paper to keep a tally. Place all tiles face-down on the table near the gameboard, mix them up, and have one player draw a single tile. This determines playing order; whoever draws "A", or the letter closest to it in alphabetical order, goes first. Blank is considered to be last alphabetically. If there is a tie, all the players draw again. Once the first player has been determined, play proceeds clockwise.
Have all players return their tile to the tile pool, mix it around a bit, Each player then draws seven tiles in turn. They should be placed on the provided tile racks and positioned in a way so only you can see them.
The person who goes first must place a combination of letters in a row onto the centre of the gameboard, with one tile touching the centre square (marked with a star), so that they form an English word. Proper nouns are not accepted, and tiles cannot be placed diagonally - only vertically or horizontally, from left to right or top to bottom.
After points are counted and tallied (see the Scoring section below), the first player draws as many tiles from the pool as necessary so he has seven on his rack. The next player clockwise then makes a word from his tiles the same way - except that this word must connect to or intersect a word already on the board, like a crossword. You must go in one direction; it is permissible to add a letter to an existing word to make a new one and then build a new word off of the new tile. (The most common way this happens is to put an "s" on a noun to pluralise it, and then make a new word including an "s" at a right angle to it.)
There is no limit on the length or words. Plurals of nouns, conjugated verbs, comparative and superlatives of adjectives, other inflections, etc., are all accepted.
Play continues in this manner. Eventually, the pool of tiles will be exhausted but play still continues with the tiles remaining on players' racks. The game ends when one player has either run out of tiles, or everyone still has tiles but can no longer create any possible English word.
Instead of making a word, a player may opt to trade in as many of his tiles as he wishes in exchange for tiles randomly selected from the pool. That player then forfeits his turn. Exchanging is useful for if you do not have a good combination of letters. Exchanging is not possible if there are fewer than seven tiles left in the pool.
There are two unmarked tiles in a standard set. These are called blanks and can be any the player desires. However, no points are received from a blank.
Each letter tile has a number next to it that indicates how many points it is worth. Common letters, such as vowels, are worth little, while rare letters such as "Q", "X", and "Z" score the most points. After adding a word, add up the point value of all the letters you placed plus the letter you intersected or played off of. Then, check under the letters to see if you touched a bonus square. There are four types of bonuses available:
- Double Letter Score and Triple Letter Score - a letter on this space is doubled or tripled in its point value.
- Double Word Score and Triple Word Score - if any letter touches this space, the entire word is doubled in point value. If your word includes both a letter bonus and a word bonus, apply the letter bonus first and then double the entire word's score on top of that.
Note also that the star in the middle of the board counts as a Double Word Score, so the first player to place a word can double his word score.
If you create two words at once (such as by pluralising an existing word and playing perpendicular to it), you score points for the letters in both words (but square bonuses for the existing word are ignored).
A bingo is achieved when one player plays all seven of his letter tiles simultaneously on the board. In addition to regular scoring, he also receives a bonus of fifty points.
At the end of the game when nobody can make a move or someone goes out of tiles, each player subtracts the amount of points that remain unused on his rack from his total score. If someone goes out of tiles, then the total of points on all other players' racks is added to his score as well. For this reason it's usually advantageous to be the first to dump all your tiles.