Scrabble Tournaments to the Letter: Online and In-Person
Created by Nick Frazier for WordFinder
Where to Play Scrabble In-Person
The first step to having fun at Scrabble tournaments is to find a tournament where you can play. There are Scrabble groups all over the world, but you need to know where to look. Our guide for finding a local Scrabble club is a great place to start. Another good way to find a tournament is to learn about the biggest Scrabble organizations.
All three of the groups below should be your starting points for finding Scrabble tournaments. When you visit their sites, you’ll find directories that list upcoming tournaments that they manage and sponsor.
The North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) is the prevailing tournament organizing group for Canada and the United States. To better suit competitive players, NASPA manages, promotes and lists tournaments happening all over North America.
NASPA provides full information on how to find, join and participate in any of their tournaments. Their site also provides detailed information for tournament organizers on how to manage and schedule their events.
The World English Language Scrabble Players Association (WESPA) is in charge of organizing tournaments and groups in all regions outside of North America. The organization has the same goal of NASPA: to bring players together under a unified system. But, WESPA uses different rules and a different dictionary than NASPA does. If you are looking for events outside of North America, you need to visit WESPA’s tournament page to find them.
WESPA’s tournament page provides a list of all upcoming, currently happening and recently ended events. Scrabble tournaments are color-coded according to their progress; tournaments highlighted in green are still open. They also show the country for each of the tournaments.
The Collins Coalition (CoCo) is similar to NASPA. It is an organization dedicated to helping Scrabble players, providing resources and supporting a unified community. An important difference between the two groups is that CoCo follows the same rules and uses the same dictionary that WESPA does. Check CoCo’s list of tournaments if you are looking for a tournament in North America that opts to use the international system.
CoCo also promotes and shares information about virtual tournaments. These are the best tournament options for players who cannot travel to an in-person competition. Coco’s online events are played on the Woogles.io website, described below.
Where to Play Online Scrabble Tournaments
Playing Scrabble with people in person is typically the best way to play. But, when that’s not an option or if you prefer to play remotely, there are ways to play with real people on the web. Online Scrabble tournaments can be a bit tricky to organize, as players need to agree upon the rules and find ways to communicate. But, if everyone involved agrees on how to play, it is possible.
To find a tournament online, you can visit the same sites that you do for in-person events. Their lists will feature events for both in-person and online Scrabble tournaments. Beyond those sites, you might also explore Scrabble GO and Woogles.io.
Scrabble GO probably isn’t the best option for hosting a tournament. It’s not suited for communicating with a large number of people. Even so, you can use Scrabble GO to practice with other competitive players or to play less-strict tournaments.
The mobile app is Scrabble’s answer to the hugely popular Words With Friends. It connects friends with each other to play Scrabble, and it mostly follows the same rules as the original game. The difference is that Scrabble GO automatically reveals the validity of a word. It also has certain power-ups that players would need to agree not to use.
Woogles.io is a relatively new site built by word game fans for word game fans. The elaborate chat function makes it easy for players to meet and talk. And its main feature, the game OMGWords, is a Scrabble clone that plays exactly the same way as normal Scrabble.
You can often find a tournament to play there too. The Woogles club directory offers a full list of clubs to join, as well as a full list of upcoming tournaments. Woogles has Sunday Funday tournaments too. These are more casual events that anyone can join.
The site features a ranking system as well. This means that players can stick to playing other people with similar skills to learn the game, then move up to better players as they improve. As an added bonus, you can also play against a computer opponent.
Scrabble Tournament Rules
To play in any well-organized Scrabble tournament, you will first need to know what the rules are. That can require a bit of research if you are only used to playing the game according to Hasbro’s or Mattel’s rules. NASPA and WESPA have their own rules for how to play the game. After you find a tournament, take the time to learn the specific rules for that tournament.
To learn more about NASPA and WESPA’s rules, read the official player rules created for both organizations. Both sets of rules explain important information such as player conduct, every step in playing a game and every step in finishing a game.
NASPA Tournament Rules
NASPA’s players rules are the standard for most North American Scrabble tournaments and include guidelines for a number of important factors. The following are a few examples.
Player conduct and general rules: This covers concepts such as playing a fair game without cheating and adhering to the rules the tournament director enforces.
Playing games: These step-by-step instructions describe how to perform your turn and pull tiles from the tile bag, as well as board etiquette.
Ending games: These are the steps to follow when a game is over. They explain things like what the win conditions are and how to calculate scores.
NASPA has an expansive ruleset that covers how to properly manage tournaments, too.
WESPA Tournament Rules
WESPA’s player rules, which cover all other international Scrabble tournaments, are more comprehensive than NASPA’s player rules. These are a few examples, many of which are similar to NASPA.
Official game equipment: This section of the rules explains which game pieces are acceptable for tournament play and how they should be used.
Starting a game: These are detailed rules that explain each player’s responsibilities to be present and ready to play their games at acceptable times. It also explains the consequences of being absent.
Ending a game: The steps for how a game ends and how scores are determined must be followed carefully. Each step, such as tallying scores and factoring in time penalties, must be completed to determine a game’s winner.
Take the Initiative and Create a Club
If you can’t find a tournament group for Scrabble in your area to join, you can always create your own. It takes some planning and work, but if you stay dedicated and are thorough, you can get a club up and running. Learn more about how to do this by reading our complete guide for how to start your own Scrabble club. Good luck!
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.