Scrabble is a game that’s becoming increasingly popular the whole world through, especially in Canada. Scrabble is a word game where two to four players score points by placing tiles, with letters on, onto a board that is divided into 15 x 15 squares. The tiles placed by each player must form words which, just like a crossword, read left to right or downwards. They must also, more importantly, be defined in a standard dictionary of lexicon.

The game name is a trademark of Hasbro Inc. It is an incredibly popular past-time, being available to play in 121 countries and available in 29 languages. An astonishing 150 million sets have been sold all over the world and nearly a third of households in Canada own a scrabble board. The game is so popular, that there are over 4,000 scrabble clubs all around the world.

Here at, we are going to look at how to play scrabble in Canada, the clubs you can join, the tournaments available. We’ll be looking at how to make the most of this spell-binding game.

The Rules of Scrabble

Scrabble is a very simple game, but the rules are very strict. When you start playing it is important that you swat up on what you can and can’t do.

The game starts off with a board, 100 lettered tiles, a letter bag plus four racks. Before the start of the game, all players must agree on which dictionary they can use in case another player challenges your word. Any word that is labelled as part of speech (including words listed as being of foreign origin, archaic, obsolete, colloquial or slang) are permitted in the game. The only exceptions are words that are always capitalised; abbreviations of words; prefixes and suffixes used as a stand-alone word and words that need a hyphen or apostrophe.

Getting Started

The lettered tiles should all be placed in the letter bag and mixed up. Players must then draw for first play. The player that draws the letter closest to ‘A’ gets to go first. However, if you pick a blank tile this will beat any letter. When the player going first is established, the tiles are returned to the bag and remixed. Players then draw 7 tiles each and put them on their racks.

Playing the Game

The first player combines two or more of his/her letters to make up a word. They place it on the board with one letter on the centre square. Words cannot be placed diagonally.

The turn is finalised when a player counts and announces their score to the competitors. The player then draws the number of letters that were laid down. There should always be seven letters on each letter rack.

Play then goes to the person on the left. Each player in turn adds one or more letters to form new words. Any letters touching other letters must form full words. The player will then get credit for every word formed or changed on his or her turn.

You can make a new word by:

  1. Adding letters to a word on the board.
  2. Placing a word at right angles to a word already on the board.
  3. Placing a complete word parallel to a word already played so that adjacent letters form words.

Tiles cannot be removed after they have been played and scored.
Blank squares can be used as any letter.

Players can use their turn to exchange all, some or none of their letters.
Players can challenge another player before the next player starts their turn. If the word is unacceptable the player takes the tiles back and loses their turn. If the word is acceptable, the challenger loses their turn.

The game ends when all letters have been drawn and one player has used his or her last letter or when all possible plays have been completed.

Scrabble in Canada

So, you know the rules, you know how to play, but how do you get started? Well, there are clubs that you can join. Officially sanctioned clubs began in North America with Toronto SCRABBLE Club being founded in 1975. It is owned by NASPA (North American SCRABBLE Players Association) which is licensed by Hasbro to govern competitive play in both Canada and the US.

As well as this, NASPA is responsible for organising the North American SCRABBLE Championship. It also certifies official clubs as well as tournament directors. There are now hundreds of clubs across both America and Canada. The clubs vary in level of play but are all good places to improve your game and hone your skills.

The SCRABBLE tournaments are generally played by the NASPA Tournament Rules, which use the Official Tournament and Club Word List as well as the 25-minute time controls. NASPA ensures that its certified tournaments in Canada are spread evenly throughout the months and it maintains a very comprehensive calendar of upcoming tournaments.

There will be all different types of tournaments you can enjoy as a member of a NASPA certified club. These tournaments can be local (only members of the particular club may enter); open (organised by a certain SCRABBLE club but allowing players from hundreds of kilometres away); they could also be major – a nationwide event that is sponsored by Hasbro and is often by invitation only. The most recent major tournament was the 2016 Canadian National SCRABBLE Championship, with the next one being the 1028 Canadian National SCRABBLE Championship.

There are many ways you can get into SCRABBLE and get the mind working and the brain exercising. It’s a popular game that attracts all sorts of characters throughout Canada and throughout the world. What are you waiting for? It’s time you fell under the SCRABBLE spell.