NOTICE: during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Madison Scrabble Club will not be holding in-person meetings. Check our Facebook page for information about virtual gatherings.

About Us


The Madison Scrabble Club was founded in 1984 by Richard Lauder. Three decades later we're still going strong!

How We Play

Play in our club is split into two divisions: intermediate and expert. Expert players generally average above 355 points per game; intermediate players generally average below 355 points. New players are placed in the intermediate division unless they have prior tournament/club/online experience.

Matches are played one-on-one. Players keep score for both themselves AND their opponents. Expert players use a clock, which allots them 25 minutes to make all of their moves. Clock use for intermediate players is optional. We want to fit in four games a night, so games taking longer than an hour will be stopped and the final score recorded as-is.

New players are provided a list containing two/three-letter words (plus some other useful words) for use during games if they desire. Other than that, no word sources are consulted at any time during a game except to adjudicate challenges.

The cost to play is two dollars a night, except in the case of new players, who play for free on their first night. Entry fees pay for prizes, photocopies, and this website. One $4 prize is awarded each round for either high play using a certain letter or low play using a certain letter. Additional prizes are awarded for triple-triples (plays that make use of two triple-word scores at once) and for either achieving a ten-game winning streak or being the one to end the winning streak of another player.


We generally play by NASPA tournament rules. New players are not expected to know the entire rulebook cover-to-cover. If a rules question arises during a game, one of our directors will be happy to address it.

All players are expected to have knowledge of how to play the game of Scrabble.


We use the Official Club and Tournament Word List (OTCWL) as the official word list at our club. This dictionary is mostly the same as the red-colored "Official" Scrabble dictionary you can get at the bookstore, except it is expanded to contain the "offensive" words which were expurgated from the publicly available dictionary.

Fake or "phony" words are an accepted part of the game. Word challenges are adjudicated by fellow players who either will consult a dictionary, use a word-lookup device, or, in the case of egregiously phony words, just tell you that the word is no good. New players, as well as intermediate players playing against expert players, are allowed a number of "free" challenges, meaning they can challenge any word they want without the usual penalty (loss of turn after a valid word is challenged).


Players with rotating "deluxe" boards are encouraged to bring them. Many players splurge on fancier boards, timers, and tournament-legal "smooth" tiles. Both scratch paper and dedicated Scrabble scoresheets (to write down words, track tiles, etc.) are available for keeping score.