Scrabble Blank Tile Basics
Before we start, there are some details about the blank Scrabble tile that you need to know. Scrabble rules for blank tiles are unique.
Scrabble blank tiles can represent any letter in the alphabet. When you play the tile, all you need to do is tell your opponent what the letter the blank tile is meant to represent.
The blank Scrabble tiles cannot change to a different letter. Once the tile is in play, neither you nor your opponent can change it to something else. You treat it as if the letter was printed on it.
Blank tiles in Scrabble (and Words With Friends) don’t hold any point value. Since they don’t have any letters printed on them, they are worth zero points on their own. You play letters and a blank to form a valid word.
Scores for playing a blank tile in Scrabble on a score multiplier apply normally. That means that a letter multiplier will still be worth zero points; if you double or triple zero points, it’s still zero. But, a word multiplier will still multiply the value of the whole word.
At the start of a game, if someone draws the blank tile, it beats the A tile for going first.
1. Create a Hook
Since blank Scrabble tiles can become any letter, you can use them to easily create a hook on an existing word. This can help you to either duplicate the value of a word or set yourself up for a bigger play later on as you find words to play.
Example: Your opponent plays the word “examine.” On your next turn, you add a blank tile to the end of the word to create “examines” or “examined,” earning the same points for one tile that your opponent got by playing seven tiles.
2. Block Your Opponent’s Play
Sometimes, all you can do is watch as your opponent plays a word on a nearby double or triple word score square, netting them a massive point advantage. You knew that they would be able to do that, but you didn’t have a word to play to take the square before they got to it. If you have a blank tile, however, you can steal the spot on the board before they have a chance.
Example: If a score square is on the left side of a letter tile on the board, check to see what two-letter words that tile could be a part of. Is that an A tile on the board? Play a blank tile on the score square next to the A, and tell the opponent that you’re choosing Z as the blank’s letter.
No, you won’t get 10 points for the Z, but you will keep your opponent from getting anything. Plus, the harder-to-use Z will make it difficult for them to build anything off that tile you just played.
3. Score Big With the Score Multipliers
Paired with the ability to steal the score squares away from your opponent is the ability to use them yourself to earn a massive amount of points. The only real difference between the two strategies is that you’ll typically be playing a number of letter tiles alongside the Scrabble blank tile.
Example: You see a similar situation as the previous one. A word multiplier is left wide open and close to a vertical word to its right. Unfortunately, your available letters don’t quite give you what you need to reach it. You have I, T, R, Y and C tiles, and the nearby word on the board has a V you could attach to for “victory.” You just need the O tile. That’s where the blank Scrabble tile you have comes in to save the day.
4. Earn a Bingo Bonus
Few things are as satisfying in Scrabble or Words With Friends as playing all seven tiles on your rack for a bingo bonus. Getting that massive score bonus — 50 points in Scrabble, 35 points in Words With Friends — while taking control of a portion of the board does a lot to put you on the path to victory. And as you might have guessed, the blank tiles can make getting a bingo a much easier task.
Example: You have GINNWI on your rack, plus one blank tile. You could make “win,” “wing,” “gin” or other such words, but those won’t net you too many points. However, if you play the blank tile and turn it into another N, you can play all of your tiles to spell “winning,” earning you the bingo.
5. Pair With Rare Tiles
Versatility is what makes the blank tile in Scrabble so important. And that is never as obvious as when you need something to pair with a rare and hard-to-use letter tile. Drawing the Q, J, Z or other such tiles can often leave you stumped about what to do with them. Thankfully, blank tiles can help eliminate some of that confusion as you unscramble words with those rarer letters.
Example: When it’s late in the game and most of the board is filled, one of the tiles you really don’t want to draw is the Q. And sometimes, that’s exactly what happens. You draw that stubborn tile, but luck’s still on your side, because you also have a blank tile on your rack. A quick check of the board reveals that there’s a word with an A tile you could hook to. Turning the blank tile into a U, you play “qua” for some easy points.
6. Combine the Scrabble Blank Tile With S Tiles
When it comes to having a lot of uses, the blank tiles reign supreme. But, the S tiles are in a solid second place. So, it only makes sense that using them together would give you an unbelievable advantage.
Example: Last turn, your opponent played the word “splotch.” You try to figure out what you can build off of it, and you realize that the blank tile and S tile you have can work together. You turn the blank tile into an E, and you play both tiles to turn “splotch” into “splotches.”
7. Don’t Use Blank Scrabble Tile Right Away
With all of the options for how to use the blank tiles, there’s a definite temptation to make the most of them right away. There might be a situation where you should do that, but more often than not, you want to wait. It’s not like there are Scrabble rules saying you need to use your blank tile as soon as you get it. Hold onto those miracle tiles and look for the perfect moment to play them.
Example: In the later stages of a game when the board is at least half full, your opponent plays the word “boxing” horizontally near the top of the board. Unfortunately for your opponent, this word lines up with other horizontal words beneath it. Combined with the letters on your rack, they come close to spelling “xylophone.” All you need is a Y tile. Luckily for you, you’ve been holding onto a blank tile for most of the game. You play all of your tiles, add up your score and enjoy the annoyed look on your opponent’s face.
More Pro Scrabble Strategies
Scrabble blank tiles have what feels like limitless potential in the game. They can keep you from losing, and they can help you crush your opponent’s hopes of winning. But, blank Scrabble tiles can’t help you do anything if you don’t know their best strategies. That’s how almost everything in Scrabble, Words With Friends or any similar game works. You need to know the best tactics.
If that’s something you need help with, our list of seven essential Scrabble strategies can teach you the skills you need to become a real competitor.
Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.