General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Where do you place your first Scrabble move?

Asked by elbanditoroso (22224points) July 2nd, 2014

This was a matter of MUCH discussion over the weekend.

You’re starting a new scrabble game – blank board. Obviously you have to cover the pink star in the middle.

I have always felt that playing the first word vertically with the last letter sitting on the star is the best placement and leaves the most flexibility for future moves in the game. (Note: If I have a high value letter that sits on the double letter above, I’ll adjust downwards)

The other person felt that horizontally to the left (with the last letter on the star) was the better way to start.

Of course, neither of us was willing to concede to the other. However, I tend to beat her 5 games out of every six.

Where do you place your first word?

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15 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Varying strategies depending on my creativity in the moment. haha
Sometimes I play the 1st word vertically and centered on the star, other times I start horizontally either centered or with the 1st or last letter on the star.
I’m a mix it up type, rarely do the same thing twice.

JLeslie's avatar

Usually horizontally. I place the letters according to the word. I try not to let a double letter or triple letter easily be used by an X, J, Q, or Z.

Coloma's avatar

You all know that the first word does count as a double score right? Soooo….if you can use a high point letter, all the better. :-)

QUACK! score 40! lol

JLeslie's avatar

I’m talking about the other player, I’m not sure if I was clear. I try to get triple and quadruples for high scoring letters.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I look at what’s in my rack for that first play. If I have a bangin’ set of letters, I will do like you. if I have a great root word, with an easy prefix or suffix (common letters), I count the spaces neccessary to make that play next, or soon, to involve that triple word at the edge of the board. That strategy has made me lotsa points down through the years.
Before my bad accident which left me some brain damage, most of my games ended 250 – 414 points for me, 79 – 122 points almost any other opponent.
I’m a nut about the seven letter plays, and really love when I can squeeze more than one into a game.

Coloma's avatar

^^^ I wish we could all play, I love a worthy Scrabble opponent. haha
Nothing worse than playing with weak spellers that take 8 minutes per turn to spell something like “Cat.” lolol I always scope out my next play in advance too, hoping my spot doesn’t get taken first.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

^^^^^^ Yeah, but what a pisser when it does get taken, for something weak.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@coloma – I usually have a couple of games going on Facebook – scrabble.

talljasperman's avatar

First one to the right to left.

gasman's avatar

The game board is symmetric—it doesn’t matter whether you play horizontally or vertically.

I usually play horizontally, and most computer programs I’ve played against also play horizontally when they take the first turn.

You could take any game and transpose it so every vertical word is horizontal and every horizontal word is vertical—the points, play of the game, and strategy are not affected.

Besides covering the central star square, if your first word is 5 letters or longer it should also cover one of the light blue double-letter squares, if possible with a higher-value tile.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I’m new to Scrabble. I usually places the first letter on the star. Well, sometimes I place the middle letters on the star, when I want to prevent my opponent from getting points.

I’m more comfortable with horizontal direction.

ucme's avatar

I played scrabble with a teacher once, was amazed when she slapped my face during our game.
All I said was, “wow, you have a nice rack”
Anyway, my first word goes vertically through the star…mostly.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@ucme – I have the feeling that your story is apocryphal and is not to be believed.

But it’s a good chuckle, nonetheless.

ucme's avatar

A fabricated gag is a good gag, ask Groucho…except you can’t coz he’s dead.

dappled_leaves's avatar

The board is symmetrical, so it doesn’t matter whether you choose to place it vertically or horizontally. Any perceived difference in outcome exists only in your mind. Of course, that difference may exist in the mind of your opponent also – so if your placing the word vertically freaks him out, maybe that gives you an edge. But I doubt it.

So I usually choose to place the first word horizontally, because it’s more visually pleasing to me, and always make the most of that nearby double letter score if I can.

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