How to Play Scrabble Slam
Scrabble Slam is a Scrabble card game designed for fast, kinetic play. It's suitable for kids with just enough strategy to appeal to adults.
The object of the game is to lay out four-letter words, beginning with a starting word, then alter that word with the cards in your hand to form other valid words. The game ends when one player has played all their cards, or when there are no more legal plays available.
The winner is the player who runs out of cards first or has the fewest cards remaining when the game ends.
Step 1: Choose Your Players
Scrabble Slam is a Scrabble card game for up to 6 players. The standard deck is 55 cards, most suitable for groups of 2 to 4, with an 84-card variant available for up to 6 players. Note that, after the starting word is laid down, the entire deck is distributed among the players.
If you have young children playing who may struggle to manage that many cards, consider forming teams instead. Also, as with Scrabble, agree beforehand on what dictionary you'll be using to check the validity of words (we have a modest recommendation) and make sure it's available.
Step 2: Choose Your Starting Word
Pick a player to play a starting word from the deck. The starting word should be four letters. Ideally, it should offer multiple ways to form new words. GAME, for instance, is a good starter, allowing for CAME, GALE, or GATE, among other possible plays. QUIP, by contrast, is a much harder word to start with.
Step 3: Deal
Once you've laid down your starting word, shuffle the deck well and deal the cards out to all the players equally. Depending on how many players you have, you may have players with different numbers of cards in their hands. That's OK: the game plays so fast that an extra letter or two is negligible.
Make sure your fellow players understand the basics.
The fundamental mechanic is simple: just play a letter card on top of another letter to create a valid four-letter word. Cards are two-sided, with either a letter on either side or a letter and a blank face. A blank works just like a blank in Scrabble, standing in for any letter the player wants.
Step 4: Ready, Set, Slam!
Apparently, that's what you're supposed to say when the game begins. We're fine with "Go!" ourselves. Regardless, once the word is given, the game begins.
There are no turns in Scrabble Slam: the objective is to lay down your letters and make valid words as quickly as you can. Players must call out the word they're playing before playing it. Players can also put up the classic T sign to call a timeout and to challenge a word.
Unlike Scrabble, there are no penalties for a false challenge. But, obviously, excessive time-outing is a gaming faux pas. As mentioned above, the first person to play their whole hand wins.
Like its parent, Scrabble Slam is an elegantly simple game. That said, serious gamers out there may hunger for more. For serious Gs seeking depth and/or party gamers in search of greater randomness than Scrabble Slam provides, seek out Scrabble Turbo Slam. Turbo Slam introduces a new deck, new Action Cards and a more complex turn order.
Scrabble Slam uses creative assets from a classic game to create a kinetic new play experience. In-depth opinionating will have to wait for a full-fat review. But, at first glance, Scrabble Slam seems to be exciting enough for a young audience and deep enough for grownups to enjoy.
Matt Salter has been a professional writer for over 10 years. He is a gaming and technology expert, and world-class word nerd.