Swedish Scrabble: Summary in English

These pages on Swedish Scrabble are only available in Swedish, as people who don't know Swedish wouldn't be interested in playing Swedish Scrabble anyway.

But for the Scrabble players from abroad with a general interest in different versions of Scrabble here is at least a short summary in English. This assumes that you already know about Scrabble in English or other languages. If you are interested in Scrabble in English or in general, and not particularly in Swedish Scrabble you should see Steven Alexander's excellent Scrabble FAQ instead.

Scrabble vs. Alfapet

When Scrabble first came to Sweden in the 1950's it was licensed to a company who sold it under the name Alfapet, so this is what most Swedish Scrabblers have grown up with. When Mattel bought Spear, they decided to end this arrangement and to publish the game themselves instead, even in Sweden.

From then on the game has been sold with the Scrabble name in Sweden. At first it hade exactly the same tile distribution and points that the earlier Alfapet used. In 2002 a new edition of the game was published with a slight change in points. Meanwhile the company that produced Alfapet, Alga, has made a new crossword game, to make use of their popular name Alfapet. (On the box it says something like now with new variants of play!)

This new game Alfapet is sold a lot more than Scrabble in Sweden now, probably because buyers recognize the name Alfapet and associate it with the older game, while Scrabble sounds like it's a game in English. Also it has been hard to find Swedish Scrabble for sale at all, even if you knew what you were looking for.

But in 2002, along with the new edition of the game, Mattel has promoted the game more, and things might look brighter for the future of the game.

Tournaments and organized activity

A small group of people, most of whom knew each other from before, started organizing tournaments in 1994. Even though it's in Swedish you can see how the number of tournaments has grown from year to year on the tournament page.

The largest tournament so far is the Swedish championships 2003 with 69 participants, and there is a total of 131 people who has ever played in any of the tournaments. (These figures are from May 2003, and may be out of date when you read this.)

In 1997 the Swedish Scrabble Association (SSF) was formed, for tournament players.

The address to it is

Svenska Scrabbleförbundet
c/o Stefan Diös
Hantverkaregatan 9
SE-211 55 Malmö

The current board can be seen listed here (in Swedish).

SSF is responsible for our tournament rules, our rating list, and the Swedish championships. The tournaments rules are inspired by the rules of APSP and NSA, and have most in common with the APSP rules. We use a 10 point penalty for erroneous challenges, though.

There is no organized play of English-language Scrabble in Sweden, even though we've sometimes talked about it.

National championships

The first National championships in Swedish Scrabble took place in 1999. The following table shows winners and number of participants in the national championships.
199917Stefan Diös
200016Per Starbäck
200122Greger Nässén
200222Birgitta Ländin
200369David Holmberg

Word source

The traditional authoritative word source for most word games in Sweden is Svenska Akademiens ordlista (= the word list of the Swedish Academy), often abbreviated SAOL. That one is also used in Swedish Scrabble. (It's even mentioned explicitly in the box rules!)

When organized Scrabble activity in Sweden started, the latest edition of SAOL was SAOL11 from 1986. In the autumn of 1998 a new edition, SAOL12, was published, and starting with 1999 we have used that one in tournaments. Some things in the dictionary aren't perfectly clear on exactly how they should be interpreted. (This is mostly regarding compound words where there are variants for the first half of the compound.) Our tournament rules allow only words listed totally explicitly in SAOL, and words listed in a list of additional words, carefully selected by SSF. The intention has in no way been to do our own lexicographic work, but only to decide which interpretation of SAOL is correct in every case where there can be any doubt at all about that.

SAOL12 has 118 twos, 810 threes, ~2580 fours, ~4590 fives, ~6800 sixes, ~10280 sevens, ~13820 eights, and totally ~106300 words of length 2--15.

The exact numbers may vary, as we allow any printing of SAOL12 to be used, and sometimes there are corrections in later printings. (There are actually only a handful of corrections.)

Swedish Scrabble is played without inflections, which may surprise players from other languages. Maybe it would be a better game with inflections, but 1) the box rules say no inflections (but mentions using inflections as a variant), and 2) it would be next to impossible to formulate strict rules on what inflections to allow, until we make our own word list instead. As it is now Swedish Scrabble has a lot less words than English Scrabble, but with inflections it would actually have more words, because of the richer morphology, even though SAOL is a rather small dictionary. There are not at all as many words that only Scrabblers know on a typical Swedish Scrabble board as on a typical English Scrabble board.

A page on Swedish Scrabble. Last updated May 16, 2003.