Fed up with the restrictions limiting how many people you can meet? I have devised and tested a way of playing Scrabble, using a real board and playing at the same time as your friends and family. Its fun and sociable and helps to have a semblance of normality in these times of Covid-19.

Since March 2020, I have played Scrabble regularly using this method with friends across the UK and in France. I hope by putting together this page on my website, we can share experiences and any other board games or activities you can play in a similar way.

Happy Scrabbling! 
Nicola - Member of London Scrabble League and Association of British Scrabble Players

How to play real Scrabble with your friends:

15 easy steps:  

  • Each player needs their own Scrabble board

  • Stack the letters face up in alphabetical order on a tray or table

  • Set up a zoom meeting or Skype group chat or any other way of communicating online eg Facetime, What's App etc.

  • Allocate one person to time a minute per go or however long you want, probably no more than two minutes to keep it snappy. You can find a timer online.  - choose a sound that everyone can cope with e.g. buzzer or chime

  • Allocate one person to use a random letter generator online:

  • Allocate one person to check words in a dictionary if you want to challenge words or find out their definitions

  • Generate the first seven letters. Each player puts the same letters on their individual racks

  • Set the timer for one minute

  • Players put their words on their own boards and score them individually on their own score card.

  • Whichever word scored the most is the one that everyone has to put on their board in exactly the same position. Make sure you describe or show the other players where you have placed the word, so everyone has the same configuration

  • Select more letters using the random letter generator, to replace the ones used in the winning word

  • You may want to manually choose at least one vowel per round, rotating A-E

  • You can also decide when to use the blanks possibly one in the first round and one in the last round

  • Keep going for a set amount of time. Its best to set a limit of an hour to an hour and a half, as the available letters starts to dwindle

  • Add up individual scores to see who has won.

"Scrabbling during the pandemic has been a great way to remain sane - but best to have a reputable dictionary on hand to sort out those arguments. Better than shouting at the news!"
Eithne Nightingale,




Interesting snippet from Wikipedia

Duplicate Scrabble is a popular variant in French speaking countries. Every player has the same letters on the same board and the players must submit a paper slip at the end of the allotted time (usually 3 minutes) with the highest scoring word they have found. This is the format used for the French World Scrabble Championships but it is also used in Romanian and Dutch. There is no limit to the number of players that can be involved in one game, and at Vichy in 1998 there were 1485 players, a record for French Scrabble tournaments.


Other Games
I also worked out how to play Connect 4 with my nephew we Skype each other, I set up the frame in front of the laptop, we choose red or yellow and then he tells me where he wants his piece to go from 1-7 if 1 is the first slot on his left and my right. It works well, as long as he wins!

You can also play Boggle in a similar way, with one of you shaking up the letters and positioning the grid, so the others can see it and setting a timer. Just dont shake it too loudly if people are wearing headphones.

Other games weve tried on Zoom are Charades and Pictionary, which work reasonably well.

Please share any other ideas for games to play with friends and family during a Pandemic. Even when its over, its a way of keeping in touch with friends and family who live on their own or dont live nearby.

The Game Gal - Giving you lists of awesome, fun family games!

It's a good way for families to play variations on Pictionary, Charades, Taboo, Who is in the Bag and other parlour and board games. It has different levels of difficulty and Christmas themed versions.

All you need is a zoom link or other way of communicating online and pen, paper and a timer. If you are playing a variation on Pictionary, you need to be able to clamp your phone, so the opponents can see your paper. With the other games, you can sit back and guess the answers and tot up who gets the most correct answers in the set time.

Hopefully, it will help some families through this difficult time.


History of Scrabble:

Useful books
Arneson, Erik (June 26, 2019). 
"How To Win at Scrabble and Words With Friends: How to Practice, Play, and Win Strategically". The Spruce Crafts.

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How to play real Scrabble with your friends: