Frankenscrabbards: DIY 9-board Cooperative Scrabble

Several years ago I invented a 9-board (3×3 grid of Scrabble boards) Scrabble that operates on cooperative rules, as opposed to player-vs-player. It didn’t really catch on among my friends I tried it on, but after mentioning it a few times online, several people have asked me to put the rules online somewhere.. here ya go =)

(caveat: “Scrabble” is a property and trademark of Hasbro, of which I have no connection.)

I started buying old Scrabble board game sets from garage sales, and actually physically cut (gasp!) these boards so that their edges would line of suitably to each other, leaving the borders only on the exterior of the 3×3 grid, and then mixed all of the tiles together, and collected the racks, etc. You need to be familiar with the/your traditional Scrabble rules first, although many of those rules are suspended for this version (such as scoring).

The object of the game is to connect all 9 boards’ center stars to a single branching shape in the fewest total plays. After setting up the boards in their 3×3 configuration:

1. Players each draw (via the standard Scrabble method of selection) 15 tiles for the making of words. Letters may be visible or hidden from other players at the individual player’s discretion.

2. The first nine plays must be played across one of the 9 center stars of each board (and no certain order for which star). Each play is recorded on a separate tally sheet of which word is played, but only scored as 1 for each word (irrespective of the tile value). Only the single word play is counted; for example if POORLY is played horizontally, and EDITED is played horizontally with the first E below the Y (to form YE going down) only EDITED is scored as the 1 for that play.

3. After the 9th play, players may choose whichever board they wish to play a word off of in traditional Scrabble connection style and their words documented as before.

The person who makes a word that connects on board to another becomes the Frank, and the “Frank” figurine (which I made of a picture of Frank Sinatra) is placed before them to indicate their status, and the first two connected boards become the main cluster.

If desired, another tally with a tic-tac-toe shape drawing is kept indicating which boards are connected, as a quick reference.

If someone else makes a word connection between a board and the main cluster, that person now becomes the Frank and is granted ownership of the figure and title.

4. When the final move is played which connects all boards into a single 9-board cluster, the title of ‘Final Frank’ is awarded to that player. The list of which words were played, the date of the game, the names of the players in that match, which player was the Final Frank, and how many words total were played, is kept with the game set in storage between games (and optionally, a photo/drawing of the final layout of the match) for future glory.

Subsequent attempts at this game seek to connect all 9 boards in fewer total words played, but, must be played with the same number of players as before. The title of Final Frank may be upset by a tie on total word scores, as being the most recent Final Frank on that game set.

An example of a tally sheet and game in progress is as follows (but arrange however you wish)..

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