Monday, April 12, 2010

Triple Word Misunderstanding

Easrlier this month there was a big kerfuffle amongst some of us Scrabble fans when news broke (NPR, the Telegraph, and lots of others) that the makers of the popular word game were changing the rules for the first time since 1948. No longer would proper nouns such as Wordsworth or Letterman be verboten. (See what I did there? With the Wordsworth? With the Letterman? Hah?)

Supposedly the rule change was made to "shake up" the stuffy pastime for brainiacs and afford Joe Sixpack and Sally Housecoat the incentive to wade into the wordy waters by being allowed to rack up points for spelling out Beyonce and McGriddle and the like. Not so surprisingly, this did not sit well with us rock-ribbed Scrabble purists.

But, just like, oh, pretty much every single episode of Three's Company, it all turned out to be one big crazy misunderstanding! No rule changes are being made to the original Scrabble game.

In reality, Mattel, which owns the rights to Scrabble outside of North America, is introducing a game this summer called Scrabble Trickster. The game will include cards that allow players to spell words backward, use proper nouns, and steal letters from opponents, among other nontraditional moves. The game will not be available in North America, where rival toy company Hasbro owns Scrabble. Hasbro, I'm told, has no plans for a similar variation.

Phew. (via J-Walk)

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