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High Scoring Tactics Part 1

Basics of Scoring

In every turn that you play in Scrabble or Lexulous or Words with Friends, you are trying to score points. However, there is an open questions as to whether you are scoring enough points. And what is a good score anyways? The first key insight in thinking about scores is the number of starting points available. The following table shows this for the various games:

Game Tile Points Tiles Points Per Tile
Scrabble 187 100 1.87
Lexulous 206 89 2.31
Words with Friends 220 104 2.12

This shows that Words with Friends offers the most starting points for the game players. Ignoring the end game considerations, there are two ways to outscore your opponent: 1. Play through more of the points from the tiles or 2. Create a higher multiple for the tiles you play. By multiplier, I mean the ratio of the score of the word or words you play to the sum of the points that you played from your rack.

What drives the multiplier?

There area a range of factors that drive the multiplier. The first is the use of the space tiles on the board. For example, the double and triple word score squares can be the biggest drivers of the overall multiplier. The next driver of the multiplier is the double and triple letter score boxes. Using one of these is also very useful. The third way to score more points is to use existing letters on the board. Say that you play a word like CAMELS and hook the S onto another word on the board, say TAXI to form TAXIS and CAMELS. The total points that you've played are 4 for the C, 1 for the A, 4 for the M, 1 for the E, 2 for the L and 1 for the S or 13 points. However, you are also picking up the S again for 1 as well as the points from TAXI. So 1 for the T, 1 for the A, 1 for the I, and 8 for the X. This is another 12 points for a total of 25 points. This assumes that none of your CAMELS landed on a special square. Right now you have a multiplier of a little less than 2 (25 divided by 13). This is actually not very good. However, what if the S was played on a double word score box? This creates a much stronger multiplying effect.

Translating to a final score

This would double both scores, giving a total of 50 points. This multiplier is now 50 divided by 13 or about 3.8. This type of multiplier is pretty good. If you could sustain a multiplier of 3.8 for the entire game (both you and your opponent), the aggregate score would be pretty impressive.

Game Tile Points Multiplier Combined Score Average
Scrabble 187 3.8 719 360
Lexulous 206 3.8 792 396
Words with Friends 220 3.8 846 423

One can see that the totals and averages (assuming two players) are pretty good. Tallying 423 points in a Words with Friends will pretty much usually be a winning score. In looking back at my games, I've not seen a game where the combined score is at 846.

Conclusion

so as one can see, the multiplier concept is a good way to think about playing the game. If you can triple or quadruple the points you play from your tile rack and you play more than half the points available from the tiles, you'll have a very good shot at winning the game.

Copyright 2013 BattleLine Games LLC.