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15 Disadvantages and Drawbacks of Playing Scrabble (Game)

Last Updated on January 7, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Scrabble board game with letters
Kasakphoto /

If you are reading this, you are probably wondering if there are any downsides to playing Scrabble. Most of us would not believe that there are actual disadvantages to playing Scrabble, but after doing a bit of research, I discovered that there are, at least, 15!

Are you a little surprised that there are so many drawbacks to the game of Scrabble? I must admit that I was because it seemed almost unbelievable that such a fun and an educational game could have a “bad” side to it! Most people don’t know this, but playing Scrabble is not all good. It comes with its drawbacks and disadvantages too.

Below are 15 drawbacks (and disadvantages) for you to consider when playing, or thinking about playing, Scrabble. If you are curious, read on!

Scrabble: 15 Drawbacks and Disadvantages

1. There is a limit on the number of players.

Scrabble comes with limits? It does indeed! Unfortunately, Scrabble is not a big-group or party game. It is designed for either 2 or 4 players, which means that if you have a bigger group, some people are going to be left out. Of course, that does not mean that you have to let the gameplay get the best of you. There’s no need to get disappointed and give up. 

The limited number of players problem is really not that serious. You could make your own rules, and instead of playing with 2 or 4 players, you can play with two teams of multiple players. Sounds fun, right? Well, it is! 

Illustration of a crowd of people

2. Not everyone can play (age appropriateness).

Some board games are designed to be enjoyed by the whole family, from the smallest toddler to the oldest granny/grandpa. Not Scrabble, though. The game pack says that Scrabble is for people aged eight years old and up (Scrabble Junior is designed for ages 5 to 8). Do not let this exclude you, though. Adults can work with the youngest players to show them the ropes and get them learning Scrabble (and lots of new words) early on in life. 

3. It can get boring.

Scrabble can be boring? Is it really? Well, I didn’t believe it at first, but then I had to consider that not everyone is the same, and therefore preferences may vary. To some… Scrabble is boring! Yup, there is always that one person that gets bored with a game of Scrabble and ends up walking away or getting distracted by activities nearby. Unfortunately, there is no way around it… Scrabble just is not for everyone. 

4. Not everyone is good with words (people may not want to play).

If you have a friend or family member that is not good with words, or struggles with a bit of dyslexia, they might not be so keen to play Scrabble. It is never a good idea to pressure anyone into the game if they seem uncomfortable, of course. The irony, however, is that the more a person plays Scrabble, the better they will get at learning new words and how to spell them!

Scrabble letters forming word 'word'
Sosn-a /

5. The competitiveness starts fights.

Board games are renowned for starting family fights. If you have a competitive nature, chances are that you are going to argue and challenge your way through a game of Scrabble. You might even become enraged with others keep winning, and we know that means: the classic board turning over! It is a good idea to practice keeping calm and mindful so that your Scrabble playing experiences are hassle and argument free. 

6. It fuels inner frustration. 

If you are struggling to come up with words and the other players seem to be steaming ahead, chances are that frustration is going to start boiling within you. This is one of the least favorable of all the drawbacks of playing Scrabble. 

7. Some people end up feeling dumb or inferior.

On occasion, I have been playing Scrabble with people who play it often, and found myself feeling truly inferior or dumb. Not knowing the words or feeling lost in a game of Scrabble is really only temporary. The more you play, the more words you will be exposed to, and the more confident your Scrabble playing skills will become. 

8. It is inconvenient (when compared to mobile and online games).

Scrabble board games are not as convenient as the online and mobile game versions. You might struggle to get the kids or even friends to gather around the Scrabble board nowadays. Then again, maybe if you are friends and family with the right people, this will not be something that you struggle to get right. 

9. There always seems to be a tile missing.

Scrabble board game pieces
Paulzhuk /

The missing tile debacle seems to be something that every Scrabble game owner is faced with. Where do they go? Are they under the couch cushions? Are they in the bin? Have they found their way into another game pack? Inside the much-loved family dog’s belly? Who knows! All we do know is that Scrabble tiles go missing! Millions of Scrabble tiles have gone missing since the game was released!

10. It is possibly addictive.

This one does not apply to everyone, but it certainly applies to me. When I was a kid and a teen, and in my thirties; I was addicted to Scrabble. I still am! Once you get the knack of the game and your vocab begins to grow, you will find it difficult to stop playing Scrabble. It can take up your time, make you neglect other responsibilities, and make you a mild irritation to others who might want to do something other than play Scrabble with you.

11. It takes about an hour to play.

You are not going to start a game of Scrabble and be done in 15 minutes. The game lasts for around 1 hour if you play by the rules. For some people, concentrating on words for an hour is hard work and not considered fun.

12. Players can get bored and distracted.

Some players are not as dedicated as others and tend to get distracted when the game starts to bore them. This is most often seen with players who have short attention spans or who have limited vocab and spelling skills. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do if your opponents get bored and give up. 

13. You learn words other people do not understand. 

Yup, you can expect your vocab to grow exponentially. Soon you will be using words (and knowing how to spell them too) that other people in your peer group just do not understand. Now you are a wordy person with an interesting word to pull out of your proverbial hat at a moment’s notice. Is this a drawback? Well, it can be if you find yourself enjoying using words that no one else understands. People might think you lack communication skills, or they may feel overshadowed by your obvious intelligence!

Set of young people acting a curious gesture with question mark over head

14. It is highly educational.

Games that are educational are the pits, right? Well, I personally love a game that has a good lesson attached, but not everyone does. Most people look for games that are fun and silly, whereas Scrabble is designed to be docile and educational. If you are not keen to learn academic vocabulary while playing a game, Scrabble probably is not for you.

15. It is a sit-down indoor game.

If you are an active person and want to be outdoors running around in the sunshine, chances are that Scrabble might not be for you. Scrabble is best enjoyed inside or under a shady tree. You need to pay attention, so there is no running around, and you probably will not get much of a physical workout either. If you are not one for the indoors, Scrabble could be a bit of a drawback!

All in all

If you were wondering if Scrabble had drawbacks attached, now you know! While there are drawbacks and disadvantages attached to Scrabble, they are not completely insurmountable. You can still sit down to a good game of Scrabble. I dare say that you might even thoroughly enjoy it. Take the time to get to know the game – you will not regret it, drawbacks, or not.

JC Franco

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.