WordSmith is a free, open-source program that lets you play Scrabble against a computer opponent. It’s a great way to train yourself against a hard opponent if you want to become a better Scrabble player (or to just learn some new words).
Currently the program is only available in Windows and source-code versions. If any savvy reader can compile a Mac or Linux version I’ll be happy to include it as well (and a link to their website):
- Download source. This requires Python and Pygame installed to compile. I used Python 2.6.1 and Pygame 1.9.2-pre-py2.6 for Snow Leopard. To play run the file scrabble.py.
- Download Windows executable. Unzip the file and double-click scrabble.exe to run (Note, not scrabble.exe.log which is only a text file). The program requires no installation so if you ever want to remove it, simply delete the file.
How to Play
There are two modes in the game, Training and Challenge. Training allows you to play with a HINT button which lets the computer play your turn. However, no achievements are kept in training mode. Challenge mode is the same, but without any hints–it’s you versus WordSmith with no help!
Here are the controls:
- Tiles can be selected by clicking them and placed by clicking again.
- Clicking PLAY will confirm your move. If the move is valid you’ll hear a *ding* and the computer will begin its turn. If the move is invalid for any reason, you’ll hear a shuffle sound and the tiles will be returned to your tray. There is no penalty for making illegal moves.
- Clicking on a tray tile while a tile is selected switches their positions. This is useful to see what possible words you might be able to make in your tray.
- Clicking on a tile on the board (which has not been played in a previous turn) will return it to your tray.
- Clicking on REDRAW forfeits your turn but redraws your tiles from the bag. Good if you can’t make any plays.
- Clicking QUIT will end the game (although number of games played in achievements counts incomplete games)
- Pink tiles have Double Word Bonuses, light blue tiles are Double Letter. Red tiles are Triple Word Bonuses and dark blue tiles are Triple Letter Bonuses. There placement and effect are the same as in regular Scrabble.
Some helpful hints:
- If you don’t know what a word the computer played means, check it here. This will return a definition in almost all cases.
- Learn the 2 letter words for Scrabble. These are, by far, the most useful words to know, even if they are not common.
- If a word you played wasn’t valid there could be a few reasons:
- The word was a proper noun. Places, names and acronyms aren’t valid in Scrabble.
- The word formed a crossword which was invalid. All words formed must be in the dictionary for a play to validate.
- The word simply isn’t in the Scrabble dictionary.
- For some reason, my dictionary is missing your Scrabble-dictionary valid word. I’ve played it extensively and rarely noticed a deviation, but it could happen. You’re free to swap out my scrabblewords_usage.txt for any other dictionary text file as long as the words are all stored in capital letters and each form there own line of text. You can also add or remove words from the dictionary and the computer will adapt.
Click here to read an article describing how WordSmith works.
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