Scrabble Vs. Scrabble Junior – Guide To Game Differences

If you are looking to get your children into word games but are concerned about finding the correct level of difficulty so they can get the most from the game, look no further than Scrabble Junior! Based upon the basic concepts of Scrabble, Scrabble Junior features two different game modes and can be played by children of all levels of vocabulary.

Comparing Scrabble with Scrabble Junior

When comparing the two games side-by-side, there is moderate level of crossover due to both offering a variation on the same basic premise.

Game detail/elementScrabbleScrabble Junior
Recommended age range10 years and up.5-12 years.
Game durationTypically a longer game as gameplay is intended to be more difficult, appealing to adults or those who are more familiar with word games.Typically a shorter game as gameplay is intended to be more easy, appealing to children or those who are less familiar with word games.
Number of pieces98 letter tiles + 2 blank tiles.105 letter tiles + 4 tokens.
Board design Features a classic board design using iconic colors and hard letter tiles to appeal to adult players.Features a colorful theme and illustrations to appeal to younger players. Letter tiles are made of cardboard.
Board size15 x 15 (225 squares).15 x 15 (225 squares).
Premium letter squares?Yes.No.
Game objectivePlayers must form words on the board by using their available letter tiles. Words are scored using a more advanced scoring system. The player with the highest number of points will win the game. Beginner mode: Simple word creation game where players must match their letters to the pre-printed words that appear on the game board. The player with the highest number of points will win the game.

Advanced mode: Players must form words on the board by using their available letter tiles. Words are scored using a simplified scoring system. The player with the highest number of points will win the game. 
Educational focusSpelling, recall and expansion of vocabulary and strategy.Letter recognition, basic spelling and basic word formation.
Scoring methodPoints are based upon the letters used and whether or not tiles are placed on premium letter squares.Beginner mode: Points are based upon the total number of words completed. 

Advanced mode: Points are gained for all of the letters present in a new or extended word.

How to play different versions of Scrabble

There are three main versions of Scrabble in order to appeal to players of different ability levels, Scrabble Junior (beginner mode), Scrabble Junior (advanced mode) and regular Scrabble. If you would like to understand more about the gameplay of each version, WordsRated has provided the rules to each game all in one place. 

Scrabble Junior rules (beginner mode)

To play Junior Scrabble’s beginner mode, the board must be placed red-side up. This game version has been designed for kids who are learning how to spell.

  1. Each player must pick one of the 4 tokens and place it on the start square to the left hand-side of the board.
  2. Next, all of the game’s 105 letter tiles should be placed face-down and mixed, before each player chooses 7 tiles which they will look at face-up on their own. The oldest player will start the game, with following turns taking place in a clockwise motion. 
  3. On each turn, a player should try to place two of their letters on any two letter squares that match from the preexisting words on the board. Players will score points in the following ways:
  • Complete a word with a letter – 1 point.
  • Complete two words with a letter – 2 points.
  • Complete a word that is the same color as the player’s token – 2 points.
  1. Each time a player earns points, they should move their token forward the corresponding number of squares on the provided track. As an example, if a player scores 2 points on a turn, they should move their token forward 2 squares.
  2. At the end of each turn, players should replenish their letters back to 7 by taking 2 more face-down letters. When there are no letters remaining in the pile, players will only be able to use the remaining letters they have available.
  3. The game ends when each of the words on the board have been completely filled with tiles. At the end of the game, the player who has their token furthest forward on the track will be the winner. 

Scrabble Junior rules (advanced mode)

Scrabble Junior can also be played in an advanced mode by flipping the board blue-side up. This game version has been designed for kids who can spell words on their own.

  1. All of the game’s letter tiles should be placed face-down and mixed up. Each player should then select 7 tiles, before placing them face-up so only they can see them. 
  2. One person should also be chosen to be the score keeper, who will need to use a pen and a pad of paper.
  3. The first turn should go to the oldest player and following turns should take place in a clockwise fashion. When playing each turn, the current player should use their letter tiles to spell words on the board horizontally or vertically but never diagonally or backwards.
  4. On the first turn, the word played must cover over the blue central square. Every following word that is played must connect to an existing word on the board by at least one letter, to form a connected grid.
  5. In terms of scoring, players will score a point for each letter used in the word(s) they form, including any letters that were already on the board which are present in the newly played word(s). Each word played must be a real word from the dictionary. 
  6. At the end of each turn, players should replenish their rack to 7 letters using tiles from the pile. If there are not enough letters to do so, players should replenish as many letters as they can and attempt to make words with the letters they have.
  7. If a word is formed but it causes the creation of non-existent words, the player must find a different place to play the word or choose a different word to play. Players unable to form a word with their letters can exchange some/all of their letters with those in the pile, forcing them to pass their turn.
  8. The game will end when all of the tiles have been played on the board. Once this has happened, the scores should be totaled and the player with the highest number of points will win the game.

Standard Scrabble rules

In regular Scrabble there is only one board and method of play. This game version was originally designed for adult players, although younger players who are able to form stronger words on their own can also enjoy the game.

  1. Each player must compete to make the highest score possible by only forming words horizontally from left to right or vertically from top to bottom.
  2. To determine the playing order, each player must select a letter tile out of the bag. The player with a blank tile (which can be used to represent any letter for the duration of the game when used) or the closest letter to “A” will start the game.
  3. The opening word must be played upon the central star square which gives a double word score. At the end of each turn, players should replenish their rack using the letters in the bag so that they always have 7 letters.
  4. Play should continue clockwise after the first word has been played. Every word played from this point onwards must be connected to at least one of the tiles already placed on the board.
  5. Each tile has a corresponding points score written on its face. Players will score points for the rack letters they place, plus any of the letters included in words they decide to make longer.
  6. Playing words upon the board’s various premium squares (double letter, triple letter, double word and triple word) will allow players to increase the score on their turn accordingly. Premium squares can only be applied on the first turn in which they are used.
  7. If a player manages to use all of their 7 rack letters in one turn, it is called a bingo. A bingo will score the player an additional +50 point bonus due to its difficulty.
  8. Players can pass a turn to save their letters for another turn. Alternatively, they can exchange one or more letters to potentially create higher scoring words, which will also pass the turn.
  9. Towards the end of the game, if there are not enough tiles in the bag to replenish a rack to 7 letters, players should take as many tiles as there are available and continue playing the game. 
  10. Most typically, the game will end when a player has no letters or space available to make words, when all players pass or exchange letters two times in a row or if all players agree to end the game. 
  11. When the game has finished, each player’s score is summed and the player with the highest score will be declared the winner. 
  12. In the event that a player has used all of their tiles, they should add the total of all other players’ remaining tiles to their score, while other players will subtract their remaining tiles from their score.

Benefits of Scrabble Junior

The main appeal to Scrabble Junior is that it can be a great way for children to have fun while learning. In particular, the game is useful for encouraging children to build their vocabulary and learn to spell. 

  • Kids are recommended to start with the beginner game (matching letters) to get used to the concepts of learning and creating words. 
  • Once they are familiar with the beginner game and find it less challenging, encourage them to progress to the advanced game.   
  • The advanced game will help them to create their own words and recall their own vocabulary without help from the board.  
  • When the advanced game becomes unenjoyable or too easy for them, you can begin introducing your child to regular Scrabble. 

What are the tokens in Scrabble Junior?

Scrabble Junior contains 4 tokens for the beginner mode to allow each player to track their progress around the track. Each token features a fun and colorfully designed character to appeal to children.

  • Letter Sprinter (green) who wears sweatbands.
  • Word Surfer (yellow) who holds a surfboard.
  • DJ Word (blue) who wears headphones.
  • Wacky Wordy (red) who wears a party hat.