One of the world’s most popular board games was born from the love of crosswords. It could have ended up being called “Lexico” or “Criss Cross Words.” But James Brunot ended up calling it Scrabble.
A hundred tiles arranged in neat rows and columns still give games like Halo and Call of Duty a run for their money. And they do so without all that violence.
Today, Scrabble is also dangerously close to becoming a generic name for word games with similar gameplay. Even as the dust of copyright infringement and lawsuits settle, there are quite a few varieties of Scrabble-like games on the web.
Let’s look at a few multiplayer online Scrabble games which I managed to dig up.
The Internet Scrabble Club (ISC) won’t catch your eye when you land on the website. It’s all vanilla. But behind the registration is your best chance to team up with some of the best players of Scrabble. Register and choose your handle. Then, download WordBiz Graphical User Interface for Windows, Mac, or Linux.
ISC has a comprehensive rating system that gives this online multiplayer game its professional feel. Keep improving your play to climb up the rungs. On ISC, the average rating is around 900; expert players are around 1,800.
Quadplex is a Scrabble clone with a similar gameplay. Again, you must have Java installed to play this game. The rules are the same — form words from individual lettered tiles on a 15 by 15 game board. Just click on Auto Start and you will be paired against an opponent without the shackles of a ranking system.
The words are formed across and down in crossword fashion and must appear in a standard dictionary. So, keep an online dictionary bookmarked or an actual one nearby.
You can play as a paid member or as a guest on Quadplex. Membership gives you an uncluttered ad-free experience and the facility to take part in tournaments. Also, enjoy chats, playing against the computer, access to statistics, and player forums. This costs $13 for one month of unlimited gameplay or $40 for six months.
Lexulous (earlier known as Scrabulous) gained some notoriety a few years back when it was hit by a lawsuit from Hasbro and Mattel. The controversy has quietened down since then, and it still is one of the most popular games on Facebook. Sign up with an email or Facebook account and then choose a handle. Pick a room for your first word battle across the board.
Lexulous gives you many options to flex your word muscles. You can choose to play against players from specific countries and attempt “world domination.” You can also challenge robots or try a rapid game called Lexulous Blitz. If you are too lazy for it right now, try the email version of the game or just relax and practice.
But if you want to get better at the game, do visit their Tumblr blog for advanced tips.
This is the official Scrabble you can play on Facebook. Thanks to the social network, you can play against your friends on the web or on mobile. The game plays exactly like the board game. You can also track your Scrabble ELO rating as you pick from three types of gameplay: Play with 1-3 friends, play with a random opponent, or speed play against the clock.
The game sometimes feels too easy because you can access a dictionary from the app. Plus, the “Teacher” option next to the tiles almost works like a cheat. But if you want to play against your Facebook friends, this is one of the best options available to you.
Pogo Scrabble is also an officially sanctioned version of the board game. The games are designed for all skill levels from beginner to expert, and you can choose many ways to play it. Play against the computer or challenge three friends for a complete board. Earn tokens for playing and take on challenges to win prizes. This version allows you to play with traditional rules, house rules, or choose à la carte.
The region restriction to the U.S. and Canada is the only deterrent. Also, you have to go through a free registration to play on the site. But to play ad-free, you have to pay up and upgrade to Club Pogo.
Words with Friends needs no introduction. The Zynga app is on Facebook, iTunes, Google Play, and the Windows Store. Play with friends or a random player selected by the app. You have more to play with in this Scrabble-like game, as it added more than 50,000 words to its dictionary a few months back. Now, there are more than 173,000 acceptable words you can use in the game.
Switch on the weekly challenges or go solo. Rewards and badges spur you on. Thanks to its global fame, you can play it in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and British English.
The paid option to remove ads is on the steep side ($29.99) across all platforms. This is likely an offshoot of its popularity across the world. And if you’re tired of hearing about Word with Friends, try some alternative Android multiplayer word games to perk up your interest again.
Your eyes probably inch towards a Merriam-Webster dictionary when you have an urge to cheat at Scrabble. Resist the impulse. The dictionary site has its own Scrabble game to keep you hooked. Here, you will play against the computer but with all the classic rules at your disposal.
Scrabble Sprint is one of those addictive short games you can play when on a break. As the name says — it’s a sprint. You have to fill up the 64 spaces on the board with word tiles and you get only a minute for each turn. Trust me, it’s more difficult than it sounds. And the ticking countdown in the background keeps pace with your heartbeat.
An email turn-based word game seems timeworn in the age of apps. But Pixie Pit has racked up millions of games since it started in 1998. The usual Scrabble rules apply. You just need to send over your words via email. You must make your move within seven days after your opponent plays his word or the game will expire. This can lead to leisurely games played at your own pace.
There is a small annual subscription of $15 per player and it keeps the site ad-free. However, there is a trial version available. That’s a steal when you can use this as an office game behind your boss’s back.
Do You Play Scrabble Online?
Playing it on the board is often hindered by a lack of partners. Not so with these online multiplayer online Scrabble games.
The popularity of Scrabble hasn’t diminished in the least. Options to play Scrabble or Scrabble-like word games crop up around us every day. I haven’t even touched upon the variants that exist in iTunes or Google Play. There are many word games you can play single-handedly while you wait for a partner to show up.
Do you play Scrabble (or Scrabble clones) online? Which is your favorite site? Let’s meet up — tell us in the comments.