General Hacks Ideas

A Slower and More Strategic Variation to Playing Scrabble Slam! Card Game

My wife and I have been on a bit of Scrabble kick the past couple months–it’s good cheap and fun entertainment that makes you think. A few weeks ago we were in Wal-Mart and picked up a card game called Scrabble Slam! It looked interesting and was very inexpensive so we thought we would try it out.

The original rules of Scrabble Slam! are pretty simple:
– Begin by using 4 of the cards to create a 4-letter word, such as PARK.
– Deal the remaining cards between the players equally. Note that there are 55 cards total.
When the game begins, players change the word by changing one letter at a time. For example, PARK may be changed to MARK, then MARE, the CARE, then CORE, the BORE, etc…
Each player plays as fast as they can, announcing each word as they make it.
The winner is the first player to play all their cards.

We played one game by these rules and realized we didn’t like it. It was just too fast for us. It may have been more fun with 3 or 4 players, but we didn’t care for it with just the two of us. So, we were stuck with these 55 Scrabble Slam! cards. I thought about how we might be able to play a game with them that was slower paced and allowed the players to add some strategy to their play of the game. I was able to come up with a variation that has worked fairly well for us.

Here are the rules we play by now:
– Play begins by choosing a 4-letter word for a base and spelling that word with cards from the deck. This can be a mutually agreeable word, or you can take turns selecting the word. In this example, we’ll assume we begin with the word PARK again.
– The remaining cards are dealt and divided equally amongst the players. So, if there are 2 players playing, they each get 25 cards and the last card to be dealt is set to the side and will not be in play. If there are 3 players, they each get 17 cards. If there are 4 players, they each get 12 cards and the last three cards to be dealt are set to the side and will not be in play.
Scrabble Slam Card Game– The first player must change the first letter of the word to form another word. In our example, we’ll assume the player changes it the word to MARK.
– The second player must form a new word by changing the second letter of the word. If he can’t form a word by changing the second letter, then he loses his turn and the next player gets to try forming a word by changing the second letter. Let’s assume the next player forms the word MIRK. Yes, Mirk is a valid Scrabble word!
–  The next player has to form a word by changing the third letter. We’ll assume he changes it to MILK.
– The play continues with each player having to change the next letter of the word. Any player that can’t form a word with the cards in their hand by changing the next letter loses their turn. If all the players should be unable to play on a particular letter, then play will continue to the next letter. For example, if no player could change the K in MILK, then play would continue to the next letter, which also automatically rotates back to the beginning of the word.
– The first player to get rid of all his cards is the winner!
– A couple of important notes: Word can not be repeated. For example, you couldn’t play an S on the S in SILK to make SILK again. However, after SILK had been changed to  FILK, it could be changed to SILK again later. Also, the regular rules apply regarding acceptable words as in Scrabble. Words may be challenged. If a word is found to not be legitimate, then the last card played is removed and the player loses his turn. If it is found to be legitimate, then the player who challenged it will lose his next turn.

So, it’s still a pretty simple game, but it slowed it down enough to make it more enjoyable and to make us think a little more. It also allows you to use some strategy as you think about what words your opponents may, and may not, be able to play on.

If you have a deck of Scrabble Slam! cards laying around, give this variation a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    10/29/2017 at 12:05 am

    Thanks for the idea! I’m going to try it asap. – Jane 10/28/17

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