Martin Baker used to travel from his Fullerton home to Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Fernando Valley to play Scrabble, but the long drives finally got to him. So he started his own group.
He established Club 464 this spring, and the members now spend Friday nights enthusiastically flipping the lettered tiles and crowing over the points they score with each rarely used word.
"The game has been around since the 1930s," said Baker, 32, a sign painter. "Along with growing popularity, clubs have steadily been growing as well."
Baker, director of the new North Orange County Club, emphasizes that the game is recreational.
"It's not the winning or losing," he said. "I like to strike a balance between encouraging players to improve in a nonthreatening, non-intimidating atmosphere."