NASPA: The Scrabble Organization for U.S. and Canadian Players

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A game as widely popular as Scrabble needs to have a way to regulate tournament play. The rules for the game vary. Issues such as how long a turn should be and which words are legal continue to pop up. That’s why NASPA, the North American Scrabble Players Association, exists. It is the organization that every avid Scrabble player in Canada and the United States needs to know about.

What Exactly Is NASPA?

The North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) is the official governing body for competitive Scrabble play in the United States and Canada. For more than a decade, the association has provided dedicated Scrabble players with valuable resources, information and a sense of community.

NASPA is a nonprofit organization. Passionate Scrabble players formed the group in 2008 so people could go online to connect with the Scrabble community. The site is maintained by its organizers and supported by dues from its members. 

John Chew from Toronto has been CEO of NASPA since July 2019.

Relationship with WESPA

NASPA is associated with the World English Language Scrabble Players Association (WESPA). WESPA serves a purpose similar to NASPA. They create a uniform structure for Scrabble players and tournament play. This structure includes establishing uniform rules and promoting a calendar of events.

The difference between NASPA and WESPA is, of course, that WESPA oversees Scrabble tournaments and communities on an international scale. NASPA is one of several groups that work with WESPA to maintain a unified worldwide Scrabble community.

What Does NASPA Do?

Reading NASPA’s mission statement gives a clear picture of what the organization’s goals are:

We are a community of tournament, club and avid home players of the SCRABBLE® Brand Crossword Game. We foster a safe environment for people of all skill levels to play their favorite game, improve their abilities and above all, meet people who share a similar love of the game.

All elements of the group and its website are built for the purpose of fostering a healthy community for players. The following are examples of their most important functions.

Establish Uniform Rules

As mentioned earlier, NASPA established and has maintained the standard rules and regulations for all recognized Scrabble clubs and tournaments in North America. Without this uniformity, the differences in procedures would make it nearly impossible for Scrabble players to connect across such a wide territory.

The main standards that NASPA defines are its code of conduct, tournament rules and official word list. 

  • The code of conduct sets the standard for what is considered acceptable behavior for club members. It also outlines the actions that must be taken when players do not follow them. 

  • The tournament rules provide a breakdown of how tournament organizers should operate tournaments and games. 

  • The official word list provides a comprehensive list of all acceptable words for official North American Scrabble tournaments.

Promote and Coordinate Events

Scrabble tournaments that the NASPA recognizes are listed and promoted on their website. The site also keeps a full list of tournaments in a calendar of upcoming events

People can request their tournament be added to NASPA’s list of events. However, only NASPA members are allowed to request this. They must also fill out a tournament listing request form.

One of the most important tournaments NASPA supervises is the North American Scrabble Championship (NASC). This is the largest Scrabble competition in North America. The tournament has taken place since 1978, and NASPA has organized it annually since 2009.

Connect Players Through Social Media

The association also strives to connect with its members and other Scrabble fans by way of social media. NASPA has a presence on nearly every major social media platform. On these platforms, players can find updates and news, video highlights of tournaments, upcoming events and much more. 

All of their accounts connect to their main site. Likewise, the site has links to their social media accounts.

NASPA’s Extra Benefits for Players

To support its mission for the Scrabble community, NASPA also offers a number of helpful and convenient benefits. These are some of the perks anyone can use by exploring their official website.

  • Find Clubs: This is a full list of clubs recognized by the association. Clubs are conveniently organized by state and province. This is one of the best ways to find a Scrabble club near you.

  • Find Tournaments: This is the yearly schedule of registered tournaments. It also provides information such as format details, entry fee costs and contact information for each event. Put your Scrabble word finder skills to the test against other top players!

  • List of records: This is for players who want to learn some interesting trivia and history about tournament Scrabble play. It’s an extensive list of statistics. These include details like the highest winning game score, most consecutive games won and longest word played.

  • NASPA membership: Becoming a paid NASPA member gives players access to certain benefits. The most important of these are eligibility to play in NASPA tournaments and eligibility to participate in rated international events.

Tournament Rules Keep Games Fair and Fun

Learning about all that NASPA is and does might seem a little overwhelming at first. It could also seem a bit unnecessary. But, the benefits of the organization far outweigh the challenges from learning its details. Keeping up with the rules of any game is important if you plan to compete. Want to know more about what it takes to excel at Scrabble? Read about these three essential Scrabble rules to prepare for your next game session or tournament.

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.


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