Try it

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This page describes ways to try out Collins Scrabble, and is part of our introduction to Collins (SOWPODS) in North America. For brevity, we will refer to the North American and International lexica, OTCWL16 and CSW15, as TWL and CSW respectively.

While these pages have attempted to provide information about the CSW game, like many things, the only way to really find out if you like it is to try it.

There are several possibilities:

Quackle

Quackle is computer software that will play the CSW lexicon. In the latest version (1.0.3), go to the Settings tab and set it to use the lexicon csw15. You can also highlight the CSW words as they are played and in the history/choices by going to the preferences settings under the main menu. The words when played will be colored, and when written on screen will be appended by the # (octothorp) sign. Quackle calls CSW the British words. NOTE: other 'csw' lexica listed and the 'sowpods' lexicon are older editions that are no longer used.

Zyzzyva

Zyzzyva is a word study tool that allows many forms of CSW study. These include searching words by many criteria, setting up quizzes such as anagrams, and the card box study system to aid memory.

Two versions are widely used:

  • NASPA Zyzzyva is available to NASPA members and requires a license. It allows lists to be constructed in either TWL or CSW, and one can select words that are CSW-only. This is how several of the lists in this wiki and the Collins Cheat sheet (see below) were, in part, constructed. Currently it does not have definitions for CSW words, only the TWL ones, and the playability values are not useful.
  • Collins Zyzzyva is available worldwide for download. It includes the CSW lexicon but not the TWL lexicon, so it is less useful for a TWL player moving to CSW. However, it has a comprehensive and authoritative set of definitions for all words from 2-15 letters, coming largely from the same work that provided the word lists at the Association of British Scrabble Players website mentioned earlier in this wiki.

Online

The Internet Scrabble Club has a large number of players who play the CSW lexicon, as well as TWL players. The CSW dictionary is available for the Electronic Arts Scrabble game, e.g., on the iPhone. The popular Words with Friends does not use CSW or TWL.

At a club

This could be as simple as two club members agreeing to play a game to CSW. However, many people before have found that allowing a 'cheat sheet' of, for example, the 2s and 3s, the Collins Cheat Sheet and Part 2 from this wiki (or other cheat sheets), and a more relaxed challenge rule, such as 5-10 points (or even no penalty) works well. Some clubs have held evenings where people play CSW, and others have regular CSW players. Unfortunately there is no comprehensive listing of which clubs have CSW players.

At a tournament

North American tournaments that offer a CSW division are listed on the NASPA tournament calendar, and at cross-tables. CSW divisions tend to be smaller than TWL ones and often have highly rated players, but the easier challenge rule mitigates the difference somewhat. A CSW division can be rated when it has 4 or more people, and 2 or more are NASPA rated.

If you are a director, it is possible to add a CSW division to an existing tournament, since tournament directing software can incorporate the NASPA CSW ratings.

More

For links to more CSW resources, e.g., books, see the links page.

Please direct comments about this page to its author, Nick Ball.