Starting A Club

Questions to ask yourself when setting up a club.  Your first port of call should be the Republic of Ireland Scrabble Players Associatioon (RISPA for short, check out although it is not necessary for a club to be under the umbrella of RISPA, it will cost your new club nothing and keep you "in the loop" of happenings in the Scrabble World.  Also please do not hesitiate to contact me.  If I do not know the answer, or cant find out from the other clubs and members, well then no one knows!


Will you be catering for young or old people joining.  If you have young people what will the age limit be and be careful that the club does not turn into a "babysitting service".  If you are going to cater for the mature generation ensure that all the necessary requirements are on the ground floor, with the least amount of steps to climb/descend.


Will you need public liability insurance or will the venue you will be using already have insurance.  Sometimes a pub or hotel's insurance will cover your activities.  If you are going to use a community centre or public area you may need to get insurance.  Please check this out and inform all your members/visitors of the arrangements.

Formal or Informal?

I believe there is room for both, but that is of course only my opinion.  This is really up to you.  Normally both will not work together as you will have members that will be quite serious, and want to get on with playing Scrabble.  On the other hand you will have members that will enjoy the social side of the night out, having a laugh and a chat and playing Scrabble at the same time.  Of course you will have people that love Scrabble so much that they will participate whatever the setting is like.  This is really a question you need to ask all the members and decide what the majority want.



Will the club allow aids.  That is to say will players be able to check words in the dictionary and lists before placing their word down.  There are 2 sides to this issue:   

One side is that if you allow people to use aids they may learn more, see words they can use and impart that knowledge onto others.  Of course this may lead to people to fish through the book trying to find that magic 7 letter word with 3 i's, 2 l's  etc.  

The other side is that if you do not allow aids, players will have to learn their words as quickly as possible and it will probably create more competition in the short run.  However, in the long run this may lead to the club member's vocabulary becoming stale and outdated and when new words are introduced, the club members will not become aware of the additions and may fall behind in national play. 

The first option is probable more suited to a new club starting out with fairly new members and the second option will probably suit long standing clubs.  I believe the best option is to allow the use of aids one week and not the next.  


Will visitors be welcome to your club.  If they are, let RISPA have a name, address and contact number so anyone travelling to your area can check in advance and join in your clubs activities.  Remember visitors - "When in Rome, do as the Romans".  By that I mean if you are visiting a club, please play by their rules.  Also, all those clubs out there, don't forget to let your visitors know of your rules, it will save embarressments later on.  If you are a visitor from another country, please don't let that deter you as most clubs can accomodate you and we may be able let you play in our large tournaments.  Again check with RISPA in regards to same. 


Will you be charging a weekly admission fee, or a yearly membership fee, both or neither.  Don't forget that most people will want to see some return for their money or at least they will want to understand where the money is going.  Your club should not be really run at a profit, because that gets very complicated as you may have to register as a business, pay tax and things could get very complicated!! 


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There is very little paper work necessary in setting up a Scrabble Club, it consists of a couple of pages to fill out and about 15mins to spare.  The easiest way to do it is to call all your new members together for the first meeting (inaugural AGM) and fill out the paperwork there and then.  To register, contact one of the Committee Members of RISPA, find their details on the RISPA website at
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