1. Don’t become too engrossed in your own world.
It’s easy to keep your eyes focused on your own letters, putting on blinders to everything going on around you, until you realize that you just set up your opponent for a perfect Triple Word Score. Taking a second to look at the grand scheme of things pays off in the long run.
2.It pays to go off the beaten track.
At a young age, my dad taught me all of the words that have a Q without a U. Sometimes a vast knowledge of obscure facts, or a passionate and quirky obsession, has a bigger pay-off than sticking with the norm, so don’t be afraid to be a little weird.
3. Don’t take things too seriously.
I actually cannot relate this life principle to Scrabble because Scrabble is taken very seriously in my household.
4.You can’t control the hand you’re dealt, but you can make the most of it.
In the wise words of the great philosopher Jack Dawson (aka Leonardo DiCaprio), “You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next.” Sometimes you get 7 vowels or all V’s and C’s, and all you can do is make the best of a bad situation. Deal with it.
5. There’s no rule that you can’t go back to the beginning and start fresh.
To counter point #5, however, sometimes you need to drop whatever you’re doing, take a deep breath and start from the beginning. It’s not giving up or quitting; it’s just cutting your losses and realizing that you’ve done all you can with what you had.
6. Pay respect to your roots.
As ambitious and driven as you are, you will not get very far if you think you’re too good for the basics. Sometimes a two-letter word will be the link to a three-digit seven-letter word, or a two-letter word could be high-scoring in itself. (For reference, “A” forms a two-letter word with every letter in “BRIDGE” and “XU” and “QI” are both valid.) Don’t get caught up in thinking bigger is better; the little things will take you far in life.
7. Be considerate of others’ thoughts.
We all get caught up in our own thoughts from time to time and forget that other people have just as complex, sometimes over-active minds. If you spend the whole game thinking about your own letters and don’t pause to realize that your opponent has seven tiles to work with as well, your ego will get the better of you.
8. Silence can be a good thing.
I’ve played Scrabble with my dad every morning that I’m home and sometimes, we go entire games without speaking. It’s not that we’re concentrating too hard or that we’re bored; we just both appreciate our ritualistic hour of quiet in a world that can be too loud. When you find people who you can be comfortably silent with, keep them in your life.
9.The best thing at the moment could be a little better if you wait.
You have a seven-letter word and could throw it down for a relatively weak 60 points, or you can wait a turn to see if your opponent will set you up for a double triple-word score (easily 110 points). There’s a time to seize an opportunity, but there’s also a time to take a little risk and see if something better will come up.
10.The best competition is good competition.
The best competition, actually, is a friend or teammate. The people you want to spend time with aren’t those who can beat your 100 points with a 400 point landslide; they’re the people who realize you’ve been dealing with a difficult situation (a rack of all F’s and a Q) and remind you that “FAQIR” is a word. They’re the people who help you out but also challenge you, never reminding you that they’re a much better player than you’ll ever be. And for me, my best competition is my dad, the stage mom equivalent of the Scrabble world, because he made me memorize index cards of two-letter words when I was in the fifth grade.