German Scrabble

This is a resource of the mailing list.

Click to subscribe to wordgame-programmers

Click on the image above to view a higher quality B/W image (66K)

The tiles above are from the older German set, before they reduced the number of tiles and shrunk the rack from 8 to 7 tiles: when I first played Scrabble in Germany the game rules said that you played with EIGHT tiles on your rack. Recently, no-one I talked to about German Scrabble knew anything about this and one person even suggested that I was imagining it! I later discovered that Spears had redesigned the German set sometime around 1989/1990 to fall in line with the others, and that it now uses 7 tiles per rack and a different letter distribution (fewer total tiles - from 119 down to 102). Fortunately I do still have one of the old boards, whose tiles I have scanned above. Compare the old style on the left to the new style on the right.

GERMAN (OLD STYLE)                                        GERMAN (NEW STYLE)

Letter	Distribution	Face value		Face Value	Distribution

A	6		1			1		5
Ä	1		6			6		1
B	2		3			3		2
C	4		2			4		2
D	6		1			1		4
E	16		1			1		15
F	3		3			4		2
G	3		2			2		3
H	5		2			2		4
I	9		1			1		6
J	1		6			6		1
K       2		3			4		2
L	4		2			2		3
M	4		3			3		4
N	10		1			1		9
O	4		2			2		3
Ö	1		8			8		1
P	1		4			4		1
Q	1		10			10		1
R	7		1			1		6
S	8		1			1		7
T	5		2			1		6
U	6		1			1		6
Ü	1		5			6		1
V	1		4			6		1
W       2		2			3		1
X	1		8			8		1
Y	1		10			10		1
Z	2		3			3		1
BLANK	2		0			0		2
Total	119						Total 102

Note: contrary to what you might expect, there is no "SS" tile. This is because ß is only used in lower-case, and Scrabble is played with UPPER-CASE letters, so words with ß must be played with SS. Ä, Ö and Ü may NOT be represented on the board with AE, OE or UE. Also, although the box includes three blanks, only two were used for playing. The third was simply so that the tiles could be packaged in equal sized rows. With a little ingenuity, a neat hand, and a black pen, it could also be used to replace a missing tile.

Here is a copy of the German rules (currently offline), with letter scores and distributions. Note: there is an inconsistency in this page - it describes the tile distribution for the 102 tile set, but says that you play with 8 tiles on your rack. I believe this to be wrong.

At the same site is an online Scrabble (currently offline) in German. (not interactive, as far as I know. More like a Scrabble Challenge type of thing.)
Maybe you'll have more luck with Ralph Brostedt's Web Scrabble.


Mid July 2001: NEWS! There is a German play-by-mail tournament currently being played here, for another 8 weeks or so.

Official Scrabble organization; info on tournaments, rules, clubs, membership

predecessor to the above organization; rules, tournaments, weekly puzzle

best for day-to-day info and happenings; lists of all words 5 or shorter, ranking/rating list, tournaments (winners), links to just about every major German Scrabble site, info on online leagues ( I believe they play here: ), etc.

rapidly growing forum for discussions on words, strategy, (new) tournament rules (They've been playing tournaments for years without clocks until this January.), online version of the (French) Duplicate system (everyone uses the same letters to find the highest scoring play), etc.

program that finds all anagrams and subanagrams for a given set of letters (2-8 letters only)

scrabble site run by creator of the 2-8 letter word list, downloadable program for (un)acceptability of challenged words, miscellanous links

Official German Scrabble Homepage
Official Swiss Scrabble Homepage (in German)
MSDOS Scrabbel
(Later Version 2 here...)
Scrabbit (Here too)
Skrabble (German) - this multiplayer Scrabble has been taken offline at the request of Hasbro's lawyers
Skrabble (German) - go to "online games" link.
SlimakOnline game to find the best move at each play
Timwi's Scrabble (updated 04/2003 - previously "Sarnyalo's Scrabble")
Online java game
Letter Rack
German play-by-mail? Scrabble site (currently offline)
"Crosswords" for the Palm Pilot (dictionary)
Scrabble Puzzle
Online Scrabble
Online Scrabble in German (Swiss site) (currently offline?)
German language Scrabble chat forum (currently offline)
Otto's Lernspiele - Lexikon - click on the picture to download (wordlist is 'hidden' in br.dll!)
Wortspiel - another Scrabble lookalike. (currently offline) CD only.
Postal Scrabble - rules
Newbago - a duplicate-style scribbage-type game
Heiko Tietze's Scrabble
Plays in Russian, German and English. Download here. Yahoo's list of wordgames

As best as I have been able to find out so far, there is no OSPD/OSW style book of words specifically for Scrabble. We now know for sure, thanks to mail from Peter Schmitz, that the dictionary of reference is indeed the current edition of the Duden (it's revised every year) which up to the "Rechtschreibreform" (i.e. spelling reform) has been the superior instance on spelling matters and has now been replaced in that role by a comittee working at its publishing company.
(Confirmed here - rules for postal scrabble). Peter points out that the current official status on spelling is that both versions i.e. the old and the new spelling forms are valid.
Programmers looking for a word source to write German languages wordgames might start here. This good list of links includes pointers to beginners word lists which would be suitable for any word game which tries to play at different levels of ability.

UPDATE! Andrew Solomon informs us: The first official German Scrabble Dictionary (Duden(R) Scrabble Wörterbuch) came out in October 2008. It is basically a compressed version of the standard Duden dictionary similar to the OSPD in North America. It contains minimal definitions mostly for foreign or regional words. The main problem with this dictionary is that in general no parts of speech are given except for acceptable forms of irregular verbs, adjectives that compare, and nouns that have no plural. Hence it is very difficult to compile the entire list (which by my approximation would be at least 600,000-700,000 words and likely many more than that; there are already 108,130 2-8 letter words plus German tends to have longer words). To counter this, an entire list of German grammar and word formation rules is included in the intro in addition to the general home-play rules and the official tournament rules.

Another really good quality source of words for Scrabble is a list of words played and accepted during online play

Return to Letter by Letter games, foreign Scrabble section.
Scrabble is a trademark of Hasbro Inc in the US (formerly Selchow and Righter) and Mattel (formerly J.W. Spears) elsewhere.