Will Scrabble be more fun in England now that proper nouns are allowed?

This just in: Mattel of the Isles (British, that is) endorses the legality of proper nouns of the generally capitalized kind. Ultimately, it is believed, that UK Scrabble players will find that words spelled backwards (e.g. sdrawkcab) will soon be acceptable. And, if you can imagine this, bachelor words, completely unconnected to anything else already on the board, will some day find their home in England's parlors.

Of course, that's Mattel's doing. And Mattel only owns the rights to Scrabble in England. Here in the States, it is sold by Hasbro, who, it is believed, will never endorse such basic violations of the essential game.

It's almost 15 years since I worked at Mattel. During much of my tenure I advocated, nay, begged Mattel to consider such bizarre reframings of the Scrabble rules. They resisted me. I resisted them. And then I quit.

I am feeling belatedly justified. Perhaps, in their newly acquired wisdom, Mattel will go so far as to endorse variants of the wackier kind - such as these - varying further the very reasons for playing Scrabble.

Let us play.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith


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Blogger Kevan said...

This was just a misleading press release from Mattel, which picked up some easy "purists are outraged!" press coverage. Mattel aren't changing the rules, they're just releasing a variant called Scrabble Trickster where you can play proper nouns and steal tiles and do other crazy things.

Blogger hmcnally said...

The ethos of Streetplay states that if you don't like a rule, change it: as long as everyone agrees at the beginning of the game and the rules don't change while you play, the original rules are a guideline.

As a Scrabble player, though, allowing proper nouns is nuts. I've tried it. It leads to so many "but that's the way _I_ spell Qadaffi" arguments that it will make the game less fun. Sometimes you need rules.

Blogger Bernie said...

Thanks for the correction, Kevan. A variant is what it was all about in the first place - at least for me. A thing I've been trying to get the Scrabble people (anywhere) to do for decades, actually.

And yes, Hugh, I understand that it can lead to all kinds of wackiness and vagueness and stuff. But we can always make more rules when we have to. I still think it's fun having the alternative.


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