Scrabble/Playing the Q
The Q is a double-edged sword. It is worth ten points, so if played correctly it can give you a big point boost. However, it is also one of the hardest letters to play, and it is very dangerous to be saddled with it at the end of the game.
A few tips on what to do if you have the Q
- Memorize the Q-without-U words. The following Q-without-U words are valid in OSPD5 and TWL14:
- Each of these words, except QINDARKA and SHEQALIM, can be extended at the end by an S.
- If you also have a U, consider keeping it in order to use the Q with. For example, if your opening rack is AGPPQUY, it would likely be better to play GAPPY 8H 34 (keeping QU), rather than GUPPY 8H 34 (keeping AQ).
- Look for an open I or AT, if you don't have an I or U.
- If there is nowhere to play the Q, and if the Q seriously hampers your rack, consider exchanging it, along with other poor tiles. Note that you can only exchange if there are at least seven tiles in the bag.
This sometimes occurs in the endgame, where one player is stuck with the Q and cannot play it. This is especially dangerous in close games, since the opponent will gain 20 points from an unplayed Q. If your opponent is stuck with the Q, make sure you do not open up a spot for him to dump it. If you are coming from behind and wish to maximize point spread, a "slow-play" strategy works, where you slowly play off your tiles to maximize total score, while preventing the opponent from playing out.