November 22, 2006 22 Comments
At the 2006 Toronto Scrabble Open, I noticed that many Scrabble players are very particular about the equipment that they use. Boards and tile racks are probably the most obvious, but I was absolutely amazed at the variety of scoring sheets being used. When I sat next to some high ranked players like Lloyd Mills or Robin Pollock Daniels (they were the only two that I could recognize), I took a peek at their score sheets and see if they wrote down anything special. As far as I could tell, they didn’t. But, that didn’t stop me from looking around.
I’ve been using the standard National Scrabble Association Official Score Sheet for about a year now (at both the club and tournaments). The form works but could be improved to make use of space a bit more (I spent some time designing forms for a hospital for a while so I’m a bit picky about my forms). At the tournament, I noticed that many people didn’t use the NSA form. A few people had customized scoring sheets – Sam (of SamTimer fame) used what looked like a poster on 11″ x 17″ paper. He had an enlarged horizontal form for words, tiles, and letters, in addition to the Scrabble board. The form was obviously a custom job that he had printed. Some people used just a simple piece of paper (Robin Pollock Daniels used a spiral bound notebook and a scratch pad) while some players like Ray Francis had a blank sheet to cover their score sheet. I later learned that they track their tiles and use the blank sheet to prevent the opponent from seeing them. Craig Rowland, the Mississauga Scrabble Club director, uses a 3 game score sheet and keeps it in his lap.
During my games against Maven and Quackle, I tried to take Tony Leah’s advice and track my tiles. I found that the NSA score sheet is a bit cramped. I tried looking on the web for some alternative score sheets and was only able to find a few from John Chew on his Tournament Supplies page (look to the bottom of the table for the score sheets). Honestly, his scoring sheets are far too complicated for me. Unhappy with the status quo, I’ve spent the past day or two working on my own score sheet that I play to test out.
Candidate #1: hans scoring sheet – legal size (download as PDF)
This form was my first attempt. I tried using legal sized to make the space larger. Everything is nicely laid out and there’s plenty of space to track tiles, write the scores, and make notes. One thing I wanted to have was a form that was very usable, even when I was rushed. Having a very small space, while more efficient in terms of being able to write more, isn’t very useful when you have to rush.
Candidate #2: hans scoring sheet – letter size (download as PDF)
The problem with my first attempt was that the form was legal sized, meaning that I would need to get a new clipboard (do you know how hard it is to find a decent legal sized clipboard?). So, I took as much of my original design and tried to fit it onto a letter sized page. There isn’t much space for anything else, but I think this form is much better.
I’ve been in contact with ScrabblePhreak regarding my form, and he decided make a custom form too. I plan on testing out his form to see a) if it works, and b) if it’s better than my attempts. If you decide to try out my forms, I’d love to hear back from you with any feedback (good or bad) to see how I can improve these forms. If you know of any other score sheets, I’d appreciate getting a copy of them to try out.