I've recently gotten into playing Scrabble and I was wondering, what's the deal with Scrabble programs? I come from the world of computer chess where chess engines are distributed independently from the user interface (UI). The engines communicate with the UI with one of two standards: the Chess Engine Communication Protocol, aka. the XBoard protocol, or the Universal Chess Interface, UCI. Now I'm wondering if Scrabble has anything like that?

Programming a simple Scrabble bot would seem like a funny exercise, but I'd rather not delve into the boring UI creation. So are there any free programs that would just display a game of Scrabble but would accept the commands from and relay them to an external program? The program should also enable the user to play against an engine. Maybe I'm using the wrong keywords or something, but Google doesn't seem to give me anything relevant.

  • I've also looked for such a thing, but there doesn't seem to be one. PyScrabble is a possibility but its protocol is not designed for interoperability. I ended up adding some features to a friend's web scrabble program to allow programmatic access.
    – Max
    Jun 16, 2012 at 14:06

2 Answers 2


The most widely used interchange format for Scrabble games is documented at


It's used for example by cross-tables.com, Quackle, (Mike Wolfberg's program) WHAT, and proprietary software for webcasts of national and world championships.

The so-called .gcg (for "generic crossword game") format is a human-editable text file with one line per move played so far in the game, with a list of pragmata for identifying players, current rack if game in progress, etc.

  • Cool, thanks! Seems like it would be a good idea indeed to have a Scrabble program output its moves in the .gcg format. I'm still unsure if any of those programs can display the moves live and relay the response back, but I should be able to work that out now that I know what I'm dealing with. :)
    – ZeroOne
    May 14, 2012 at 20:18

WordBiz is a simple and efficient Scrabble playing program with a reasonnably big community. See the I.S.C. website.

  • OK, thanks. So that's for playing live online games, but can that be used offline as well, for playing against an opponent (an artificial intelligence) on the same computer?
    – ZeroOne
    May 11, 2012 at 11:42
  • There is no I.A. as far as I remember. An I.A. for Scrabble should not be very difficult to code. However, I doubt that it would be very much interesting to play against it. Being a chess player, you will probably want to play stategically and most element of strategy in Scrabble are based on things like « I do not think my opponent can find a 30+ word in 3 minutes so I will play this 15 points words and pressurized him while I think of something better with my new letters ».
    – M. Toya
    May 11, 2012 at 12:19
  • But if I created that AI, would it be possible to connect that with WordBiz so that I could play against my AI? Being a programmer too, creating the AI would be an interesting challenge in itself, even if it turned out to be a lousy opponent.
    – ZeroOne
    May 11, 2012 at 13:46
  • There are bots on ISC, so it must be possible. But I don't know how.
    – Max
    Jul 28, 2012 at 18:39

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