New Scrabble Rules Must Be a Joke – Is it a late April Fool?

Now inc. celebrities

Now inc. celebrities

Scrabble makers Mattel are changing the rules of the game to allow names of celebrities and places to be put on the scrabble board, in a bid to make it more attractive to a new generation (see Telegraph article)

What nonsense.

Who decides what a celebrity is? What’s to stop me saying I know of a guy “Zqimj”, who’s a famous Ukrainian footballer – what regulates that – where’s the dictionary of fame and proper names?

In effect it makes a mockery of the entire game – any word is arguably a name somewhere in the world – there’s no delineation.

Even when I first heard this on the radio at some unearthly hour before heading to GMTV it rankled. Scrabble is a big part of my and Mrs. MSE’s life – we play three or four times a week – I even proposed on a Scrabble board (see I’m proud the MSG’s becoming the MSF, Rude words in my new Scrabble dictionary, 158 point single go Scrabble joy) and we’ve worked hard at learning the two-letter lists and one day when I’ve time I want to learn the three-letters.

Dumbing down

This dumbing down of the game is really depressing; it’s a bit like changing the rules of Chess so that every piece moves like a Queen.

I hope Mattel are just doing it as a publicity stunt or even to call it a ‘new version’ of the game – it’ll be interesting to see whether a board game manufacturer actually has the power to arbitrarily change the rules of such a widespread game, won’t people just ignore it? My suspicion is it’ll be a bit of hype for a short time, then we’ll go back to proper Scrabble.

The argument it needs to attract more younger players is nonsense, Scrabble has regained popular heights, partly due to the facebook apps, and is cooler than ever – there’s no need for this other than for a cheap bit of publicity.

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