The Institution That Is Scrabble

So this post isn’t about books per se, but it is about words and my mom. You see, yesterday Mattel caused quite a commotion when it announced that they would be changing the rules of the famous word game Scrabble.

The BBC reported:

The rules of word game Scrabble are being changed for the first time in its history to allow the use of proper nouns, games company Mattel has said.

Place names, people’s names and company names or brands will now count.

The idea was that this would add an element of pop culture into the game and encourage more young people to play. Well, as you can imagine for a game so old and beloved, this news did not go over well with the Scrabble fanatics. However, it turned out to be less of a true, shocking change and more of a ploy for publicity. NPR explains that Scrabble is really just releasing a new spinoff of Scrabble (that won’t even be available in America!) to join the various other not-as-popular spinoffs that already exist and it’s THAT version that will allow proper nouns:

Mattel — which controls the rights to Scrabble outside the United States and Canada; Hasbro owns it in North America — is introducing a spinoff this summer called Scrabble Trickster. The game will include squares on which a player can draw a card, which will allow him to take a tile off of an opponent’s rack or play a word backward or, yes, play a proper noun. Scrabble Trickster would join a long line of spinoffs including Scrabble Sentence Cube Game, Scrabble Overturn, Super Scrabble and Scrabble Up (not to mention countless Scrabble novelty editions). Because of the game’s ownership schism, Trickster won’t even be sold in the U.S.

So why do I care and what does it have to do with this blog? I care because my family really enjoyed a good game of Scrabble. And that enjoyment goes way back to well before I was born. A long time ago, we found my mom’s Scrabble from when she was young. Much to our amusement, all of the letter-holders had the words “I love Lee Majors” scribbled on them. I had to have it explained to me that Lee Majors played the Six Million Dollar Man and was something of a hunk back in the day… or at least my mom thought so.

When it comes to Scrabble skills, both of my parents have plenty but my mom was especially good. I think I may have beaten her once ever and it was a proud moment. I’ve always attributed my mom’s talent with word games to her prolific reading. She just knew more words than me! (This is now the rationale I give my boyfriend for often beating him at Boggle.) Her reading and knowledge of words led her to dominate at Scrabble, excel at crossword puzzles and generally be the go-to person for trivia questions. My dad also reads a ton which helps him do pretty well at these games and puzzles too, but it was really one of my mom’s claims to fame. So here’s my PSA for the day: Reading is useful in so many different ways (…particularly if your family is competitive when it comes to game nights).


6 responses to “The Institution That Is Scrabble

  1. So true about your Mom! I always told her that if I ever was on Who Wants to be A Millionaire, she would definitely be the friend that I would call for help, for any subject except Star Trek…that would be my husband!

  2. I could beat mom in scrabble because I could use strategy which she never used. ( Since there was no definite time limit that helped me. Mom could work and read faster than I could). Good Blog.

  3. I remember the last time I played Scrabble, it was with you and Mom. I wanted to use FAQ as a word, but Mom said it had to be in the dictionary. Of course FAQ is internet speak and wouldn’t be found in a dictionary, so I think I huffed and puffed and slowly realized I wasn’t going to beat you or her.

    I really wanted to get rid of that Q!

  4. Pingback: Another Very Bloggy Family « Reading for Robin

  5. I beat your mom once in Scrabble and I was so proud of myself.And then, I’m looking at the board and I realized that there was no “Q”. The Q was on the floor and neither of us realized it. So much for my one and only win against you mother

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