Being the first player, we have what the other player(s) can only dream about: an empty board! So we’d better know our way around this one-and-only time we’ll ever have such chances during the whole game. Let’s try with these tile combinations.
What had we better do, if as the opening player we have this on our rack?
With two big guys (JQ) and two middleweights (FW), this rack is just too heavy (and too much weight will cost us flexibility). When possible, get rid of one of the big guys right away (along with one of the middleweights, sure). So here JAW is quite sensible (If it were T instead of D, then QAT would be even better).
Sure, we can opt for an exchange with this. But actually this combination is not that bad. We can still make something out from it, instead of just handing over the empty board to our opponent. SHOT? HAD? No way! A blank deserves much better use than for an opening like that. SHH is all there is to it. Not only does it use three consonants (which is better than two—SH, in this case), but it also dumps both of the twins (the more we have like letters, the less likely they will go to our advantage). And last but not least, SHH—however small it scores, does let us keep the blank. And that counts.
Yes, AS IS SI AA(S) and AI(S) are all valid words. No, we had better not make any of those as an opening with a rack like this. It’s clear that we have too many vowels—way too many. Exchanging tiles is what we need. How many? Which ones? Get rid of AAIIU, and keep AS. Then one might ask: “Why AS? Why not IS or US?” No need to worry about that. As we keep playing, many rules of thumb will come naturally.
REGENT? GREAT? RINGER? GRANTER? TRIGGER? No can do. We don’t have that. Here we are dealing with twins again, this time two pairs of them (GG and RR). How many four/three-letter words can you find from this combination? Please feel free to try. We can see that either REG or ERG strips down both pairs of twins to singletons, so it seems that either is better than RENT GENT TERN or TEGG, let alone NET GET EGG NEG ERN ENG RET GEN or TEG (Sounds like fun, eh? Welcome to the club!). 🙂
Look at the tiles on the left. Find a word? Congratulations!! Chance is you’ve just had yourself a bingo. Have a good game!