Assignment #2: Scrabble Scorer

To see how far your skills have come, we are going to give you a mission to update our super important Scrabble Scorer program. Did you think you were going to work on Mars rover code already?

The current Scrabble Scorer program takes in a word and returns its point value. The program needs to be rewritten for two reasons:

  1. The dictionary used to store the letter point values is inefficient.

  2. The program should have three scoring algorithms and allow the user to pick which one to use.

Your updates will make the program more efficient and user friendly.

Starter Code can be found here. Fork the code then clone it to your machine and work on it in Visual Studio.



The requirements below are what your END assignment will look like. This assignment is broken down so you can complete small pieces as you go. You need to move sequentially starting at part A below. Please read the WHOLE assignment page before starting.

  1. Create an InitialPrompt method that asks the user which scoring algorithm to use.

  2. Create a Transform method that takes in the oldPointStructure dictionary and returns a newPointStructure dictionary.

  3. Code three different scoring functions for assigning points to a word.

  4. Create a ScoringAlgorithms method to invoke one of the three scoring methods.

  5. Create a RunProgram method to serve as the starting point for your program.



As you create your methods, think about where the output is best utilized. Will it be something a user only needs to read? Will it become a parameter for another method? Revisit the Methods chapter if you feel unsure.

A) Initial Prompt

The starter code is currently set up to use only one scoring algorithm. For the new version, we want to let the user pick between three algorithms. Define an InitialPrompt method that introduces the program and asks the user which scoring algorithm to use.

Your prompt could look something like:

Welcome to the Scrabble score calculator!

Which scoring algorithm would you like to use?

1 - Scrabble: The traditional scoring algorithm.
2 - Simple Score: Each letter is worth 1 point.
3 - Bonus Vowels: Vowels are worth 3 pts, and consonants are 1 pt.

Enter 1, 2 or 3:

B) Transform

Currently, the software uses the oldPointStructure dictionary for the traditional Scrabble scoring algorithm. Take a few moments to review the code below to see how oldPointStructure relates a point value to a letter. Be sure to notice the data types of this dictionary.

public static Dictionary<int, string> oldPointStructure = new Dictionary<int, string>()
   {1, "A, E, I, O, U, L, N, R, S, T"},
   {2, "D, G"},
   {3, "B, C, M, P" },
   {4, "F, H, V, W, Y" },
   {5, "K" },
   {8, "J, X" },
   {10, "Q, Z" }

The keys of oldPointStructure are the Scrabble points stored as ints, and the values a string of letters. All letters in the string have the Scrabble point value equal to the key. For example, "A" and "R" are worth 1, "K" is worth 5, and "J" is worth 8.

To find the point value for a letter with the old format, the program must iterate over each key in oldPointStructure and then check if the letter is inside the string paired with that key. This search within a search is inefficient.

Try it yourself, find "L" and "M". Unless you have the scrabble scores memorized, you had to search each string. Tedious, right? You can improve this.

Streamlined Score Object

It would be better to create a newPointStructure dictionary that has 26 keys, one for each letter. The value of each key will be the Scrabble point value.

Examples of the new key storage:

  • a is worth 1

  • b is worth 3

  • c is worth 3

  • j is worth 8

In newPointStructure, the letters themselves are keys, so a single search will identify a point value. This is much more efficient than the old method.


Example of newPointStructure dictionary usage.

Console.WriteLine("Scrabble scoring values for");
Console.WriteLine("letter a: {0}", newPointStructure['a']);
Console.WriteLine("letter j: {0}", newPointStructure['j']);
Console.WriteLine("letter z: {0}", newPointStructure['z']);

Console Output

Scrabble scoring values for
letter a:  1
letter j:  8
letter z:  10

Do not panic! Instead of tediously hard-coding newPointStructure, use your clever coding skills to create the new object.

Code the Function

  1. Write a Transform method that returns a dictionary and has no parameters. Calling Transform() will return a dictionary with lowercase letters as keys. The value for each key will be the points assigned to that letter.

  2. Initialize an empty newPointStructure dictionary by setting it equal to Transform().

  3. Points to consider while coding Transform():

    1. Recall that foreach loops iterate over the key/value pairs within a dictionary.

    2. If you need a reminder of how to assign new key/value pairs, review the relevant section in the Control Flow and Collections chapter.

    3. To access the string of letters within oldPointStructure, use bracket notation (oldPointStructure[key]).

    4. To access a particular element within a string, consider what strings are made of and the various string methods you can use to access them.

    5. What about the data types? Will you need to convert or parse any of them?

C) Scoring Algorithms

We are going to create the individual scoring methods first. Be sure to test them as you build them. Once all three are working, we are going to create a different method to invoke them. Read through this section before coding anything.

Create a separate method for each of the following scoring algorithms.

  1. Simple Score: Define a method that takes a word as a parameter and displays a score. Each letter within the word is worth 1 point.

  2. Bonus Vowels: Define a method that takes a word as a parameter and displays a score. Each vowel within the word is worth 3 points, and each consonant is worth 1 point.

  3. Scrabble Score: Define a method that takes a word as a parameter and displays a score. The method uses the transformed newPointStructure.

Each method should have a way to display the original word and the total value of points.


//Output: Your word: taxi is worth 11

//Output: Your word: taxi is worth 4

//Output: Your word: taxi is worth 8

Define ScoringAlgorithms method

  1. Create a method that will pass the user’s word to the selected scoring method. This method will need parameters for which score method they select and the user’s word.

  2. Use the selected algorithm to determine the score for the word:

    1. If the user enters 1 or an invalid option, use the Scrabble Scorer method.

    2. If the user enters 2, use the Simple Score method.

    3. If the user enters 3, use the Bonus Vowels method.

  3. Things to ponder while working on this method:

    1. Think about what each method’s parameter requirements are.

    2. Think about how to invoke the desired scoring method.

Take a Breath

Good! Your ScoringAlgorithms method now invokes all of the scoring options and passes the user’s word to the selected method. Looks like we have a good start on this Scrabble program.

To access a scoring method via ScoringAlgorithms, call it and pass the score option and a test word. In our example, we will be using “taxi” as our test word.


// Scrabble scoring
ScoringAlgorithms(1, "taxi");
   //Output: Your score for "taxi": 11

// Simple scoring
ScoringAlgorithms(2, "taxi");
   //Output: Your score for "taxi": 4

// Bonus Vowel scoring
ScoringAlgorithms(3, "taxi");
   //Output: Your score for "taxi": 8

D) Tie it All Together

Define a RunProgram method that will do the following when called:

  1. Invoke InitialPrompt to pick the algorithm.

  2. Prompt the user to enter a word to score. The prompt should also provide the user an option for ending the program.

  3. When taking in a user’s word, should account for the case.

  4. Invoke the ScoringAlgorithms method chosen by the user with the correct parameters.

  5. Display the score for the word.

  6. Repeat steps 2 to 4 until the user ends the program by entering "Stop". (This should also be case-insensitive.)

Test Words

Here are some words you can use to test your code:

  1. CSharp = 13 points using Scrabble, 6 using Simple Score, and 8 using Bonus Vowels.

  2. Scrabble = 14 points using Scrabble, 8 using Simple Score, and 12 using Bonus Vowels.

  3. Zox = 19 points using Scrabble, 3 using Simple Score, and 5 using Bonus Vowels.

Example Output

Welcome to the Scrabble score calculator!

Which scoring algorithm would you like to use?

1 - Scrabble: The traditional scoring algorithm.
2 - Simple Score: Each letter is worth 1 point.
3 - Bonus Vowels: Vowels are worth 3 pts, and consonants are 1 pt.

Enter 1, 2, or 3:

Enter a word to be scored, or "Stop" to quit:  LaunchCode
Your score for "LaunchCode": 18

Enter a word to be scored, or "Stop" to quit:  Rocket
Your score for "Rocket": 12

Enter a word to be scored, or "Stop" to quit: stop

Bonus Missions

  1. Currently, the prompts accept ANY input values. The user could enter something other than 1, 2, or 3 when selecting the scoring algorithm, and they could enter numbers or symbols when asked for a word. Modify your code to reject invalid inputs and then re-prompt the user for the correct information.

  2. Score words spelled with blank tiles by adding ' ' to the newPointStructure object. The point value for a blank tile is 0.

Submitting Your Work

  1. Finish the assignment.

  2. commit and push your work to the repository on your GitHub profile.

  3. Find the corresponding Canvas assignment on and enter the GitHub URL for your project.

  4. Find a TA and demo your project for them.