One of the most popular board games in the World, Scrabble wasn’t always called Scrabble, and it wasn’t exactly like how it is in the present day. So, how was Scrabble invented?
Scrabble, one of the most popular word games in the world was invented in 1933 by an NYC architect named Alfred Mosher Butt. Initially, he named the game “Lexico” and then changed it to “Criss-Cross Words”. The name Scrabble was the idea of his partner, who came up with the name Scrabble for this board and renamed the game in the late 1930s.
Mr. Butts was a jobless architect who was fond of board games such as Chess, Crossword Puzzles, and Jigsaw puzzles. He decided to invent a game based on knowledge, strategy, and chance.
The game wasn’t as popular as it is now
As much as the game is popular today, it wasn’t in its previous days where Mr. Butts was having difficulty convincing the game manufacturers to buy the game.
It was in 1952 that one of Macy’s executives saw Scrabble being played and started to publish this game. Soon the orders start coming in and as many as 6000 sets a week were demanded which couldn’t be completed by Macy and hence, the operation was handed over to Selchow & Righter, who had originally rejected the game before.
For the points distribution system, Mr. Butts read the front to the New York Times newspaper and calculated the letter frequency and points distribution system from there. For example, the rarest letter in the game of Scrabble is the letter “Q” that occurs the least in English text. So, he decided that there should be only 1 tile of letter Q and that the tile should be worth 10 points, the most of any single tile along with the tile Z.
Scrabble hasn’t changed much
The game is almost the same as it was the way it was invented and the squares are exactly where they were as originally developed. This is something unique about this game, the game hasn’t been changed much.
However, the game might not stay the same in upcoming years as there are new words introduced into the game such as “qat” or “qi” and these words can change the strategy of the game. Prior to this, the tile “Q” was considered a liability as there were no possible combinations unless you had a U tile along with the Q tile.
However, with the addition of new words, the whole strategy of the game is being changed and some people are suggesting that the value of the Q tile should be reduced to 8 points instead of 10.
Scrabble is also being played competitively all around the world in different languages which makes the game and things even more complicated with strategies and tactics changing with each language.
Also, there are different word lists for different levels of competition. If there are school children playing against each other then they are not allowed to play any word that can be offensive to the person, while adults can play any words that a well-red college-educated person has read in one way or another. If someone wants to compete in an international language then things get even harder and they even have to memorize different things from different languages of the world such as misprints in Shakespearian manuscripts, Arabic texts, etc.