Ask people to name some board games and a lot of answers will be the same. I bet a majority of answers given will either be Monopoly, Cluedo, Chess, Draughts (aka Checkers), Trivial Pursuit and of course, that old favourite word game, Scrabble. Scrabble has been played by families and friends since the 1930s. There are even Scrabble tournaments held throughout the world. In fact, it is still one of the world’s bestselling and most played board games. Over the years, Scrabble has had many incarnations with themed versions (Harry Potter, Star Wars etc.), large print versions, junior versions, travel versions and even a trick version (Scrabble Trickster). There is even a card-based version, Scrabble Cards, which is what we have been playing.
Scrabble Cards is a card game for 2-4 players, aged 10 and upwards. It is still a word-building game like its board game counterpart, except that it has no board, no tiles or tile racks and has three different ways to play it. The letter cards are even worth the same points as the tiles we all know and love.
In the box:
- 136 Scrabble Cards – 100 Letter Cards, 10 Premium Cards, 16 Action Cards and 10 Rummy Round Cards
- Rules / Instructions
Scrabble Cards is a word-building game, just like its board game counterpart. Whilst the board game version uses tiles laid out across a board and displays every word played, Scrabble Cards is played with cards and only shows the current word(s) in play. You can play in three ways: Classic, Forfeit and Rummy.
- Classic: make the best words you can from the cards in your hand and get high scores with Double and Triple Word Cards.
- Forfeit: with new action cards you can choose to increase your score – or take points away from another player.
- Rummy: race to match a different target in each of ten rounds – but be quick or miss out on the points!
As Scrabble is such a well-known and popular game, most of us will be familiar with the rules and how to play. The concept of Scrabble Cards is the same, build words to score points. Trying to use high scoring letters and using double and triple letter/word scores. As there is no board in Scrabble Cards, there are no double and triple letter/word squares to land on and some words get removed from play after a turn. There are the same number of letter cards in the deck of Scrabble cards as there are tiles in the board game version and the cards all have the same points value as the traditional board game.
With Scrabble Cards being just a deck of cards, you can play it anywhere. No board, no tiles to lose and so easy to just throw in your bag. Whilst Scrabble Cards has three ways to play, the Classic game play is still pretty much played the same with cards as its original tiled version.
To play, each player receives 7 cards. These will be a mix of letter cards and premium cards. The premium cards allow players to use a card, if they have it, for a double or triple word score. Players then take it in turns to lay down a word. Or they can expand a word that has already been played using the cards in their hand. Players can exchange cards or miss a turn just as you would in the board game. And you get an extra 50 points if all 7 cards are used.
With the classic board game version, all words played are laid out in a grid pattern for everyone to see and make use of. But Scrabble Cards is a bit different. Scrabble is played in a relatively small space on a board with tiles, but the Scrabble Cards are the size of a standard playing card so you couldn’t lay out every word in the same way. Most people wouldn’t have the space to do this. Once a word has been played and scored, only the words which have been created or modified on that turn are be left on the table. Any words from previous turns are removed and placed in the discard pile. The instructions explain it in detail with examples of how this works. It may take a couple of reads through the instructions to fully grasp the concept, but it isn’t that complicated and works well. When all cards from the draw pile have been used and players can no longer make any more words, the scores are added up and the player with the highest score wins.
There are also different versions that you can play, Forfeit or Rummy.
If you want to play the Forfeit version, Action cards are used. The Action cards (these are easy to distinguish from the other cards as they have an exclamation mark on the back of the card) are added in. You play this in the same way as in the classic game but with each player having an Action card. When played it can increase their own score or take points from another player. You might have an Action card that says 5 letter word or contains “H”. If you play that card when you lay a five letter word or a word with the letter “H” in it you get the + value of that category added to your score. Alternatively if another player lays a 5 five letter word or one with “H” in it, you can play the card and they lose the negative value on the card from their score. It makes it a slightly more interesting variation of the game.
If you want to play the Rummy version, the Rummy Round cards are brought into play. Whilst playing the classic version you turn over the top Rummy card and players must complete the task on the card to score the points for that round. Play lasts for 10 rounds and the player with the highest score wins.
Overall, I have loved playing Scrabble Cards. It is perfect for playing anywhere as the size of the box is the size of two decks of standard playing cards, making it easy to fit in your bag (a perfect travel game). Gameplay is pretty much the same as playing the board game version except that you remove cards that have previously been played and don’t have all the words on display. But once you get used to that you don’t really notice the difference. Plus, there are also two bonus games to expand on the word building fun. It is just as much fun as the board game.
The Scrabble cards are the size of a standard playing card and feel good quality and durable. My only slight issue was with the box the cards are in. It’s fine when it is being stored in a cupboard, drawer or on the games shelf, but if you throw it in a bag to take on your travels the lid could easily pop open. This could result in cards all over the place. I have placed an elastic band around the box to stop this. I feel that the box could be improved by featuring a more secure lid (maybe a hinged lid with a magnetic closing or a popper fastener). Other than that, it is a great game and travel game.
I think that Scrabble Cards is lots of fun. Excellent for helping kids with vocabulary and spelling and perfect for adults to display their vocabulary skills. It has the same word building fun as the classic board game but can be played and enjoyed anywhere.