Scrabble Makes Historic Change To Make Game More ‘Inclusive’ For Gen Z

Scrabble has undergone a historic change which will make it more 'inclusive' for Gen Z. 
Credit: Alamy

Scrabble has undergone a historic change which will make it more ‘inclusive’ for Gen Z. 

The iconic board game, which is estimated to have sold 150 million copies, was developed by an architect called Alfred Mosher Butts in the 1930s.

Stumped on naming it, Butts considered Lexiko, Criss Cross Words and simply It, as per The New York Times.

The board game would eventually be given its famous name when game designer James Brunot got involved in 1948.

It has since been produced in many foreign languages – as well as in Braille and magnetic editions.

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Scrabble is a hugely popular board game, with FUN ranking it the fourth best-selling game of all time.

If you’re unsure of how to play, it’s a two to four-player game where you compete against one another to form words with lettered tiles on a grid.

The more tiles you put down, the more likely they are to intersect with other tiles and form new words.

There are 100 tiles in total, all with a different point value.

The winner is the player who has scored the highest number of points from their words after subtracting the sum of their unplayed letters.

Family playing Scrabble.
Scrabble is one of the most popular board games in the world. Credit: Alamy

As with all games, Scrabble is intended to be fun and friendly, yet more often than not, it will bring out our competitive side – which can lead to arguments.

To avoid this, the board game is undergoing a historic change and its reception has been mixed, with many people unhappy about it.

One person fumes: “Scrabble for snowflakes.”

Another adds: “I’ll stick with Scrabble classic instead of new Scrabble.”

While a third writes: “It teaches youngsters spelling and addition. And it helps older folks keep up their skills. A little friendly competition is healthy.”

“Stop this craziness! It’s a game that has been around forever!” comments someone else.

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However, others have been a lot more accepting of the changes.

“I think this sounds great,” one writes. “It doesn’t take away from the original but also opens it up to casual group play.”

In agreement, a second says: “It’s all well and good to say ‘Buncha snowflakes’ but Mattel wants to sell Scrabble games and this may help.”

“It’s just another way to play the game! I can see it interesting kids in school,” enthuses a third.

So, let’s dive into what this controversial change actually is…

The change aims to make the board game less competitive. Credit: Alamy

Manufacturers Mattel is introducing a new ‘No More Scoring’ gameplay option.

This will be a double-sided version of the board – with one side featuring the original and the other side having a ‘less competitive’ version to appeal to Gen Z gamers, called Scrabble Together.

Gyles Brandreth, president of the Association of British Scrabble Players, tells BBC Radio 4 Today: “The makers of Scrabble found that younger people, Gen Z people, don’t quite like the competitive nature of Scrabble.

“They want a game where you can simply enjoy language, words, being together and having fun creating words.”

Ray Adler, vice president, and global head of games for Mattel, says in a statement to the New York Post: “Scrabble has truly stood the test of time as one of the most popular board games in history, and we want to ensure the game continues to be inclusive for all players.

“For anyone who’s ever thought ‘word games aren’t for me’, or felt a little intimidated by the classic game, Scrabble Together mode is an ideal option.”

Scrabble Together
Mattel is introducing Scrabble Together, a less competitive version of the classic game. Credit: Mattel

Scrabble Together will come with helper cards, providing hints and clues to the selected player.

In the new version, there will also be no scoring.

For a player to finish the game they have to complete a goal and collect the goal card – which includes challenges such as ‘play a horizontal word’, ‘play a three-letter word’ or ‘play a word that touches the edge of the board’.

The player who completes 20 challenges is deemed the winner.

Scrabble Together
This is what the new Scrabble board looks like. Credit: Mattel

A spokesperson for Mattel tells CNN that Scrabble Together will be available in Europe, but won’t be available in the US since it doesn’t hold licensing in America – as Hasbro produces Scrabble in the US and Canada.

Hasbro is yet to confirm if they will release the new version of the game, however, it has told the New York Post they ‘love the idea’.

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.