Scrabble Blank Tile Rules
Join us as we discuss every rule surrounding the unique blank letter tile in Scrabble from its point value to what letters it can be used to represent and much more.
In this article
- Blank Tile Basics
- Scoring Blank Tiles
- Letter Representation
- Start & End Game Rules
- Blank Tile Tactics
Blank Tile Basics
What is the blank tile?
The blank tile in Scrabble is literally a blank plain tile without a letter printed on it. Blank tiles can be used by players to represent any letter of their choosing in the standard English alphabet (A-Z).
How many blank tiles are in a game of Scrabble?
In a standard Scrabble game, there are a total of 2 blank tiles that players can draw from the tile bag. This is set out by the overall Scrabble tile distribution.
Scoring Blank Tiles
The blank tile points value in Scrabble
The blank tile scores 0 points when played in Scrabble. Unlike other characters, the blank is the only one which doesn't have a positive score associated with it.
Do the blank tiles inherit points value from the letter it's played as?
No. Regardless of what letter the player chooses to play the blank tiles as its score is always zero.
- If player A uses the blank as an "A" in the word "BLANK", the overall score is 10 points (B: 3, L: 1, A: 0, N: 1, K: 5). Note the A becomes worth 0 instead of 1.
- If player B uses the blank as a "K" in the word "BLANK", the overall score is 6 points (B: 3, L: 1, A: 1, N: 1, K: 0). Note the K becomes worth 0 instead of 5.
This is a common mistake we see players make by scoring the blank to inherit the value of the letter it's played as. However, this is incorrect.
Double & triple letters squares
Words with a blank tile are permitted to be played across a double or triple bonus square.
However, as the tile value is worth 0 points, doubling or tripling it effectively has no difference on a letter bonus square.
On a word bonus square, the word total score is doubled or tripled keeping the blank as 0 points.
What letters can the blank be played as?
A blank can be played as any other valid tile in Scrabble from A through to Z. It is entirely up to the player playing it in that turn.
Can you replace/change a blank tile in Scrabble?
Once a blank tile has been played on the board, the letter it represents cannot be changed from that point forward.
Players wishing to play across the blank tile on the board cannot choose a new letter either. It must always remain the letter it was originally played as.
Blank tiles can also not be removed from the board to be replaced with a normal letter tile after being played.
Can I exchange a blank tile in the letter bag?
It is acceptable to do a tile exchange with a blank. An exchange is when a player forfeits a turn to put tiles from their letter rack back in the bag for new tiles.
This is perfectly fine to do with a blank, although, probably not in your best interest as the blank is considered one of the most powerful tiles in the game.
Start & End Game Rules
Selecting who goes first
Before play even starts, all players must draw a tile from the bag. Whoever has the lowest letter in the alphabet (closest to A) goes first. The blank tile is classified as before A. Hence, those who draw the blank go first.
If two players draw blanks, they should redraw until a winner is decided.
Blank tiles during the end game
When a Scrabble game is officially deemed finished, players should deduct the value of their leftover tiles from their total game score.
As the points value of a blank tile is 0, no points are deducted for blank tiles at the end of a game.
Blank Tile Tactics
One of the reasons blank tiles are so powerful in Scrabble is that they can be substituted for any letter of the players choosing. This makes them ideal for getting bingos.
As blank tiles essentially act as a wildcard, it gives players more flexibility and options for words to choose from. Consequently, increasing the likelihood a bingo can be formed out of the tiles a player has.
Defensive blocking strategies
Due to the freedom blank tiles offer, they're great for strategically blocking opponents' moves. A blank tile will be easier to play in a critical section of the board your opponent may be targeting such as triple word square. Use blanks to prevent potential word formations and limit your opponent's options.
Another more subtle benefit of blank tiles is that they can help you keep a good balance between vowels and consonants. Most words in the English language require some vowels and consonants to be valid. Scrabble sometimes throws you bad luck and you could end up with a rack full of one type of letters. Blank tiles can be used to cover the absence of either.
In short, blank tiles are a powerful and flexible letter tile in Scrabble that can stand in as any letter of the alphabet but will remain as zero points. Make sure to use them wisely as they're rare at only 2 per game.
Happy playing everyone!
For a comprehensive overview of the complete Scrabble game rules, see the following links:
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