Scrabble for iPad: Play the Old Game in a New Way

In the world of intellectual board games, one favorite has been around for decades, and that’s Scrabble. When the iPad came out, it became the perfect platform for a digitized board game, and Scrabble has taken it up to another level. Innovative gameplay around a familiar theme makes this app even more fun than the original. So what makes this one so special in an App Store packed with other options? Hit the jump to find out.

Today we’ll take a look at Scrabble for iPad in addition the awesomely integrated iPhone tile rack options.

The Interface

We’ve all played Scrabble before, right? Well if not, here’s how it works. Up to four players huddle around a board full of blank spaces, with 7 tiles in front of them on a tile rack. Each tile has a letter on it and a corresponding score, plus there’s a few blank tiles in there to mix it up. The game starts with a word written out of Player 1′s tiles going across the star in the center of the board. The next player has to make a word off of the first, using their own tiles. Then the next player has to integrate their tiles with any of the tiles on the board, and so on. There are bonus points available throughout the game, and you can occasionally do two words at one time.

See? It's just like the actual board game - assuming you have a red tabletop.

See? It's just like the actual board game - assuming you have a red tabletop.

Scrabble for the iPad works the same way. The board looks the same, has the same bonus points scattered throughout the board and a tile rack positioned at the bottom. In fact, it makes player one player Scrabble pretty addicting, to the point where you can lose yourself for a few hours in a game before you know it. Of course, that’s assuming you like to play by yourself.

Multiplayer

Of course, you have other options as well. For one, you can play against your friends on Facebook if you like. Just sign into your Facebook account and off you go. You can also play on a local network if you’ve got an office partner who wants some action. Hit the Local Network Play option and the app hunts down your opponent. Alternatively, you can just do a pass and play match, where you physically hand the iPad between each player. But what fun is that, right?

Multiplayer Plus

Chances are, if you have an iPad, you’ve got an iPhone too, right? If so, one option is to download the free Scrabble Tile Rack game from the App Store. Then turn on Bluetooth on the iPad and 1-4 iPhones with the Tile Rack app installed, and get ready for the fun.

Pick out your tiles and flick them up and away from the screen ...

Pick out your tiles and flick them up and away from the screen ...

... and the tiles appear on the board, just like magic.

... and the tiles appear on the board, just like magic.

This is by far the best integration of the iPhone and iPad that I’ve ever seen. Each iPhone now becomes an individual tile rack, one that you can hold tight to your chest just like the real game. Flick the tiles away from your iPhone’s rack, then they appear on the iPad’s tile rack. Move them into your desired placement, and you’re good to go.

Although this is pretty cool by itself, there’s another added wrinkle that picks it up a notch. Let’s say the iPad is on your dining room table, with you at one seat and your competition sitting across from you. You play first, with the board in front of you. Tap the Rotate button on your iPhone and spin the board around 90 degrees, then another 90, until it’s facing your partner. Now they play their turn, and you repeat the process, right? Nope. Now when Player 2 finishes their turn, the game remembers your previous location and spins the board your way. From here on out, the board rotates automatically for each turn, without having to manually tap a button.

The Payola

As usual, the big question here is whether or not this is worth the cost of entry. So is it?

Scrabble is one of those addicting games that I would play with my folks every holiday, but only when we had a few people free for an hour or two at a time. With the game on my iPad, I find myself frequently playing the game solo, whenever I have a free moment. But if I’ve got a buddy with an iPhone nearby, or I want to match up with a partner on Facebook, then I pull it up again and pound down some virtual tiles. The game is just so polished and fun to play that it becomes a mild addiction.

So would I recommend it? Of course I would. Granted, it’s best to find the app when it’s on sale because it’ll save you a few bucks, but even regular price isn’t bad for a game of this quality. For fans of the board game, or people who just like word play, give this one a shot. It’s worth the buy.


Summary

Play the popular board game on your iPad with friends online or locally

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  • Jonathan Gold

    How does it compare to Words With Friends?

  • http://hexl.co.uk Adam Hughes

    I got this over Christmas and my girlfriend and I had a few intense games with it. It works great and is really fun.

    The built in dictionary is pretty cool as well. Just unfortunate they had to take out certain obscene words. It means I’m at a disadvantage as I’m missing a large part of my vocabulary.

  • Erik

    The multiplayer plus is awesome – I was solo excited when I realized we had 4 iPhones between my friends to play. Any other games do this?

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      Check out ISO Cards, a fantastic little app for playing any card game with your friends. (Full review to come!)

  • http://monixweb.com Bruno Moniz

    I love Scrabble but I want this in another language… :\

  • Tom

    What about sites like http://www.freescrabbledictionary.com where you can play the same game online. Scrabble on the iPad is fun but that site also has a way to cheat at scrabble. Yeah I know its not nice, but it does help :)

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