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Related:What is a fair Scrabble handicap

Scrabble is a great game for competitive type A types and the learning curve is STEEP at first. Great game. Like most games, house rules vary and are fine as long as everyone agrees.

I enjoy introducing new people to the game, but it's not fun for anyone if I win the first game by 250 points. One thing I find helpful is giving everybody a list of 2 letter words. It's just not fair otherwise because of course I have them memorized, yet a newbie isn't going to know that QI and ZA are legal plays.

Assume relatively equal mastery of the English language. What else can be done to help those first few games be competitive?

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2 Answers 2

Time limit and patience for the experienced player.

If the experience player limits self to 15 to 30 seconds per play and is very patient with new players, the game levels without house or extensive rule changes.

For new players to get-into-the-game, competition is not needed so much as enjoyment. For a seasoned competitor, obliging a quick play (and maybe forgoing QI & ZA) is a challenge. The senior player should not look up words, but tolerate first timer's usage of such.

Other limitations require the senior playing with 5 or 6 or letting others play with 8 or 9. (I prefer the limits (time, tile count) on the experienced player rather than mess up the fundamentals for the new player.)

See Jolenealaska

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Why not do something simple like taking away some points from each word that the more experienced player scores? You could do it as a set amount of points per word which would mean low scoring words wouldn't count. Or you could set it as a percentage of each word meaning higher point count words wouldn't be worth as much. Both of these methods could help balance the game while helping the newer player learw.

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