Calgary Scrabble Group


Playing Equipment

The amount of specialized Scrabble® playing equipment is quite remarkable. Here is a small sample of what to look for:


The standard tiles included with Scrabble® sets are despised by most experienced players. The main reasons for this include their touchability (you can, with practice, learn to tell the letters by touch inside the bag), and the similiarity between front & back (many experts like to draw one tile at a time, placing them face down on the table as they go).

ProTiles are officially licenced tiles that do not have the above drawbacks, and are widely used in clubs and tournaments. Contact your local club to find out how to purchase them, or go here or here for more information.

SamTiles are another viable option with over 20 different colour choices. Click here to learn more.


The Deluxe Scrabble® Set is accepted by most players. Many, however, have purchased customized boards. Customized boards are usually round and have a better turning mechanism, allowing more handlability (especially on small tables).

Board preference is largely a personal thing, so no specific type will be recommended here. Check with your local club for recommendations and purchase information. Factors to consider are: Roundness, turning action, height, cost, colour, personalization, extras (e.g. specialized racks).


Organized Scrabble® uses chess clocks to time games. Many people like to have their own clock, for home play or just to put themselves at ease during a tournament.

There are two types of clocks: Analogue and Digital. Over the last few years, digital clocks have largely replaced analogue clocks in most clubs to the point where analogue clocks are a much rarer sight. Where only experts and other highly-dedicated players once owned clocks (let alone digital clocks), digital clocks are now owned by experts and novices alike. This change has come about thanks to cheaper electronics, increased production, and competition amongst clock makers. Digital clocks are widely preferred for two reasons: 1) the digits make for a more exact reading, and 2) the reading cannot be changed by bumping the clock.

There are several types of digital clocks available, but there are two dominant digital clocks on the Scrabble® scene. Both of these clocks are designed with Scrabble® in mind, and as a result they are vastly preferred by Scrabble® players over more general digital clocks. Furthermore, they are the only two clocks which fully meet all of the "preferred criteria" for clocks laid out in the NSA Tournament Rules.

The two major manufacturers of clocks for Scrabble® are SamTimer and Adjudicator. Visit their web sites for model information and features, and choose the clock that you are most comfortable with. If possible, ask local club members who own clocks to let you see them up close.

Although digital clocks are now cheap enough that most people can afford them, players may be able to find analogue clocks for significanly less. These clocks are fine for players who wish to play with a clock at home. Of course they can also be used at clubs and tournaments, but the digital clock explosion means you probably won't be using them there very often. Digital clocks have preference over analogue according to NSA rules, and very few players who own a digital clock will ever play with an analogue clock now!