Principles of Co-operative Scrabble,       Oct. 15, 2020


In Co-operative Scrabble, players try to get the highest combined score.  As in regular Scrabble, the players do not see each others’ tiles; they play on their own.


1.    Rather than playing defensively (trying to keep your opponent from getting triple-letter and triple-word scores, etc.), you play so that one or the other of you gets as many points as possible. 


2.    One principle is to avoid plays which cut off access to the edges of the board (where the triple-word scores are located.  Unless the word is one to which a letter can easily be added, you need to avoid beginning or ending words with letters in the row next to the top or bottom row or a column next to the far left or far right column:  you should always try to begin or extend the word in the top/bottom row or far left/right column where it’s accessible for subsequent triple-word plays. 


·         The letters “v” and “c” deserve special comment.  They are the two letters which aren’t included in any two-letter Scrabble words –- and two-letter words are critical to diagonal movement.  A “v” or a “c” at the beginning or end of a word can be a dead-end to successful movement.  (If the “v” or “c” is in the middle of the word, on the top or bottom row, or in the far left or far right column, that’s OK.)

·         Placement of the letters “j”, “z”, and “q” is also worth considering in that there are no two-letter words ending in these letters.


3.    Feel free to change letters.  Whereas in competitive Scrabble you want to avoid losing a turn, in Co-operative Scrabble, it doesn’t matter if your partner has more turns and puts down more letters than you.  (But the rule that no exchanges take place when there are 7 or fewer letters left is still in force.)


4.    If your next move will make good use of the squares, you may suggest that your partner avoid putting letters on particular squares.


5.    Feel free to pass.  As in #3, it doesn’t matter if your partner puts down more letters than you.  In particular, you want to avoid using all your letters and ending the game before your partner has had a chance to play most of their letters.


6.    It's important to try to put


·         high-value (5-up) letters on triple-letter squares


·         medium-value (2-4) letters on double-letter squares


·         high-value (12-up) words on triple-word squares, and


·         medium-value (6-up) words on double-word squares. 


7.    Long words placed on double-word squares with 1-point letters are great: they "open up" the board.  But long words not on double- (or triple-) word squares (unless they're a bingo!) are to be avoided:  you should put down just a few letters or change letters and wait until you have longer words or higher-value letters which *can* be placed on higher-value squares.  


8.    The preceding principles apply to Co-operative Scrabble generally.  The following applies to ISC online Scrabble specifically:  You need to uncheck the “rated” box since you don’t want the results (who “won”, who “lost”; by how much) to affect your regular ISC rating.  


9.    Scrabble favors shorter words.  (I love words, but have never had any desire to learn all the obscure, uncommonly-used, two- and three-letter words, which, of course, I have been forced to do….)  To counteract this, in Co-operative Scrabble, in addition to giving 7-letter words an extra 50 points, 6-letter words are given an extra 25 points.  (These extra 25-point scores need to be kept track of separately.)


10. Keep track of your scores for each game!  Since there’s no winning or losing, you need to keep track of your scores and compare to how you’ve done in the past.  The point is to try and beat your past high score!   (And those of other Co-operative players….)