I am going to break most of the rules of Scrabble today. During my freshman year of college, when I should have been studying more, I was playing the game a lot. And when I wasn’t playing with someone else, I was just playing around with the letters. At some point I thought, what if you could play diagonally? Just look at all those double-word scores and triple-word scores you would hit!
So naturally, I decided to try to come up with some 15-letter words that would stretch corner-to-corner on the board, and add up their totals. The only word I can remember coming up with was INTERBALLISTICS, because at the time I was hearing a lot about ICBMs on the news. Unfortunately, ICBM stands for Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles, and there is no such word as “interballistic” nor its plural. But hey, you try coming up with a 15-letter word off the top of your head. It’s not easy!
I should say, it wasn’t easy, because back then we didn’t have the internet. We couldn’t just Google “15-letter words” and go right to a website such as this:
That means I had to pick a different word for today’s post. I stuck with the prefix INTER- because that’s one third of a word by itself. Slap a suffix on the other end, such as -TION, and I only needed six more letters to complete my word. Interpreting this as a good way to form a 15-letter word, I found INTERPRETATIONS.
A whopping 124,416 points!
But I decided to go all Mythbusters and find something really ridiculous, over the top, to get even more points. Why? Because I could. From the website above, I picked ISOIMMUNIZATION.
Anything with a Z is going rack up some big ones. Here’s how I figured such a word would be scored:
You do letter bonuses first, so
- M x 3 = 9
- U x 2 = 2
- I x 2 = 2
- Z x 3 = 30
- 11 more tiles on no letter bonus squares = 13 points
- 9+2+2+30+13 = 56 points
Now, there’s no rule for which you would count first, a double word score or a triple word score, if you were to play on both of them in one turn, because that is literally impossible. But logically following the rule of taking the smaller bonuses first, I took the double word scores first. So…
- 56 x 2 = 14,336
That’s 56 points doubled eight times for the eight DWS in the diagonal.
- 14,336 x 3² = 129,024
That’s 14,336 tripled twice for the two TWS at either end of the diagonal.
Finally, the entire thing is doubled again for being played on the center star to start a game:
- 129,024 x 2 = 258,048
If it has occurred to you that there are more triple word scores touched (three) if the word is played horizontally or vertically along one edge, don’t give it another thought, as that would earn the word only 270 points, because you would miss out on eight word bonus squares.
I guess you would have to count the bonus for playing all of your tiles, too, which is 50 points for seven letters, so let’s assume it would be 100 points if you could hold and play twice that many letters in one turn:
- 258,048 + 50 + 50 = 258,148
Not a bad way to start a game, if this were you. The good news is you would have a seemingly insurmountable lead. The bad news is, if this play is allowable, the next player could go diagonal to and from the other two corners of the board, and then you would have yourself a close game again. The good news is you’ve already used up 15% of the tiles. The bad news is there are some big ones–and both blanks–still out there.
The rest of the bad news is the additional rules you broke:
- You cannot play diagonally
- You only have seven letters at a time
- The word played must be verifiable in an agreed-to dictionary, and good luck finding that one
- You can’t pick the letters you want to use (duh)
But, this is my challenge:
How many points can you come up with? Leave a comment and share your score!
ISOIMMUNIZATION, 28 points face value in a real game
(playable in pieces only)