When Is a Game of Scrabble Over?

Scrabble game
Gwyn Fisher / Flickr / CC By 2.0

Scrabble is the most popular word game ever published. It has been owned by the Hasbro company since 1989, and the official rules of the board game are provided on the company's website as well as in the literature sold with each game. Interestingly, while the rules surrounding the end of a Scrabble game seem to be universally accepted, the proper method of scoring—which determines the winner of the game—depends on which set of rules you follow. The game manufacturer's scoring rules differ from those of the North American SCRABBLE Players Association (NASPA), host of the annual National SCRABBLE Championship and the world's leading organization of Scrabble enthusiasts.

End of the Game

According to the official published rules of the Scrabble game, the game ends only when all of the letters from the letter bag have been drawn and one of two things happens: a player uses all of his or her tiles or all possible plays have been made on the board. In the case of the latter, there is no remaining space on the board for creating new words, or no words can be created with the remaining letters in play. Scoring begins at the end of the game to determine the winner.

Scrabble Game Scoring

The player who has no tiles at the end of the game earns the sum of the points on all of the tiles remaining on all of his or her opponents' racks. The other players subtract from their point total the sum of the points on the tiles remaining on their own racks.

If the game ends because all possible plays have been made, rather than a player using up all of his or her tiles, each player subtracts the sum of the points on all of the tiles remaining in his or her rack. There is no adding of one player's score to another's.

NASPA Scoring

According to NASPA tournament and club play, the player who ends the game earns double the points on all of the tiles remaining on all of his or her opponents' racks. The other players subtract nothing from their totals.