A couple years ago, Halatir @ M*U*S*H, softcoded a MUSH version of the popular board game Scrabble(tm) (softcode available at ftp.pennmush.org), which became in a instant hit among many M*U*S*H players. A few weeks later, as interest in the game blossomed, Javelin softcoded a tally system for tracking players' wins, losses, and ties. It wasn't long thereafter that Trispis softcoded a small tournament tree and hosted the first M*U*S*H Scrabble(tm) Tournament.

We've had various discussions about how to state the tournament rules for the coming tournament(s). We considered making lists of dos and don'ts. This approach, however, is not very efficient, considering there are already numerous, very lengthy rule sets available on the web. One example of a very exhaustive rule set is at this address


But such an exhaustive rule set was not appropriate for our limited bulletin board system on M*U*S*H. Likewise, if we had tried to make such an exhaustive list and inadvertently neglected to list some specific action as being 'illegal', then it would inevitably be open to exploitation. So, we decide to begin with a brief summary of 'good faith' rules, and proceed from there with case-by-case, instance-by-instance adjudication.

This page contains the established 'House Rules' for Scrabble(tm) Tournaments on M*U*S*H, as they have evolved over the last couple years..

Scrabble(tm) Rules
The official (Milton Bradley) Hasbro Scrabble Rules can be found at the Official Scrabble(tm) Website. As this website seems to constantly undergo changes, there is no guarantee that the following URL will work, but we'll do our best to keep it updated to the proper current address. The current direct link to the Scrabble Rules is: These rules establish the standards for actual game play. The remainder of this website is about specifics to M*U*S*H Tournaments.

Good Faith
During tournament play, you are to rely solely upon your own knowledge, without any external assistance. Basically, don't cheat. Because we're playing in an online environment, we cannot monitor your offline activity. Therefore, you are being trusted to play fairly.

Currently, World Wide, there are four main Dictionaries being used to determine Challenges in Scrabble Tournaments.
General Summary: For tournament play at M*U*S*H, we will default to the one dictionary that we all have common access to, via +lookup or at: http://www.logophilia.com/scrabble, which returns both OSPD2 and OSPD3 search results. M*U*S*H uses OSPD3 by default. Alas, this page has vanished now! So you can use http://www.hasbroscrabble.com for dictionary lookups, but you must look up the root form of words. For example, to check 'happier', you must look up 'happy' and it will list happier, happiest, happily as well as happy.

From experience, however, we also realize there can be mitigating circumstances about access to online resources and other such issues. Therefore, we are providing the following guidelines for what constitutes an 'official' Scrabble(tm) dictionary for the purposes of M*U*S*H Tournaments.

Observers and Judges/Adjudicators
Some notes about observers, adjudicators, and the M*U*S*H AUP.

The 101 Schoolhouse Tournament Rooms
Vexon has provided a very nice set of Scrabble Tournament rooms, attached to the Gaming Room at the 101 Schoolhouse. Tournament Players are strongly encouraged to use these facilities for the following reasons: These tournament rooms and the accompanying spectator viewing area fully maximize the potential for enjoyment by all, players and observers alike.

Double Elimination
All tournaments are Double-Elimination. This means: For a player to be completely eliminated from the tournament they must lose 2 (two) games. In the end, the champion will be the player (only one) who didn't lose two games. NOTE: This does not mean that you play each opponent 'two out of three'. To further understand how this works you should view the Tournament Tree, in full (+tourney/view), and notice how winners and losers are moved through the tree. The point is: Losing once, doesn't mean you can't still be the champion (As a real example: In a previous tournament, Trispis lost his first game and still managed to become champion by not losing any more games -- and it exercised all of the optional sudden death games! Very exciting!).

The Tournament Tree (a global command)
M*U*S*H utilizes a global command (syntax below) for viewing the current tournament tree (i.e., the current standings). At any time, you can see where all of the players currently stand and where they will move next. Even in an unseeded state, it is very illustrative of the 'double elimination' process.Tree softcode: Trispis

Tournament Announcements
M*U*S*H has a bbgroup dedicated to Board Games (presently, group 13). Expect new tournament announcements and/or update messages about current tournaments to be posted in this group.

Signing Up for a Tournament (a global command)
M*U*S*H utilizes a global command (syntax below) for signing up for all sorts of things. Specifically for scrabble tournaments, the syntax is (unless otherwise specified in an announcement): Signup softcode: Javelin

Dates and Schedules
Tournaments usually have the following primary dates
Other relevant dates pertain to ongoing tournaments and the designated 'week' periods of play. Tournaments are normally divided into five weeks of play and the +tourney global (see above) has a key, indicating which games are played in which week. Beginning and/or ending dates for the 'week' periods are normally announced to the Board Games bbgroup.

Some notes about tournament duration and committments:

Final notes about scheduling. In order to have tournaments move as swiftly and as smoothly as possible, the following conventions have been established and should be strictly adhered to:

Tally and Ratings (a global command)
All tournament games must be recorded in the +tally global (see: +help tally). It is customary for the winner of a game to initiate the +tally record and for the loser to confirm. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of both players to see that their game is +tally'd.

Furthermore, the +tally/rating info for Scrabble is used to seed new tournament trees. (If you haven't ever recorded any +tally games, you will be randomly placed into the tree your first time.) Tally softcode: Javelin

Draws and Ties
There will be no draws. Hasbro rules (which are used on M*U*S*H) say that if a game's final score is a tie, the winner is the player who was ahead before adding/subtracting tiles left in the rack. If the game was tied even then, it must be played again to determine a definitive winner. And this game must also be completed within the allowed week's time.

Draw Guidelines:
  1. +tally your game -- even though a draw is irrelevant to the tournament, it is important to the tally ratings.
  2. @mail the coordinator and inform them of the following:
    • the draw results (players names, scores, date played)
    • when you and your opponent intend to play again to resolve it
  3. Although you should both +tally and inform the coordinator of draws (1 & 2, above), the only game of relevance to the tournament TREE is the FIRST NON-DRAW GAME (i.e., the first game resulting in a definitive winner). This one game (which determines a definitive winner) MUST be both tallied and reported to the tournament coordinator.

Reporting the Results of a Game
It is the responsibility of the winner to report the outcome of a tournament game. The winner should @mail the following information to the Tournament Coordinator: For example, if Trispis is the coordinator, JT and Talek are the players, and Talek wins by a score of 475 to 61, ... Talek should do the following:

Supplemental Links

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Official Tournament Dictionary (defined near the top of this page) always supercedes any 'word list' or supplemental site (ref: the aforementioned links).