In my experience, skipping a move in Scrabble to exchange tiles is an act of desperation, a functional concession that you are going to eventually lose the game.  Part of that is because when The Wife and I play, we are both very competitive with each other, so missing a single turn is often a big setback.  But it worked out for me this morning:

Him Her
braze 38 whale 21
whales, dust 22 tabloid, brazed 80
(exchanged tiles) 0 cite, it, at, by 24
tabloids, stomach 74 ahu 18
gnomon 18 clover 36
gelato 8 binder 18
maxes, ma, ox, ne 39 vox 13
ingot 10 frappe 32
toga, so, net 17 dias 21
mean 27 drawn 11
qi 21 fin, qi 25
keno 16 jars 18
fee 6 mi 4
ye, yore 42 ki 6
pea 7 I, I, U, U -4
TOTAL: 354 TOTAL: 323

The Wife had the same problem late in the game that I had early — all vowels and no consonants. To do well, you need a good blend of both. I got lucky in being able to make a seven-tile word immediately after my exchange, and thereafter got a better blend — leaving a vowel-heavy bank of tiles to draw on later in the game, but at that point there were no other tiles to exchange, so we both wound up having to squeeze vowels onto the existing board.

What’s more, by exchanging early, there was still a lot of open board for me to place that seven-tile word at all — it’s sometimes the case that you have a seven- or eight-letter word you can make late in the game but there are no places on the grid still available with enough room to do it.

The lesson here is, if you are going to take the big gamel and exchange, it will only pay off if you do it early in the game.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.