Scrabble lovers were outraged by reports that the game's manufacturer was apparently changing the rules — allowing players to spell out proper nouns (the names of celebrities, companies, and movies, for example) as well as traditionally accepted common nouns (cow, antiestablishmentarian). A widely published press release said the change would "enable younger players and families to get involved." New high-scoring words would include the name of the rapper Jay-Z (23 points) and sandwich shop Quiznos (25 points). Is the classic game at risk?
What a cataclysmic alteration: While a broad vocabulary can fuel Scrabble prowess, says Richard Gottlieb in CNN, this change hands the advantage to players with the most brand names "embedded in their brains." How long before the Scrabble lords okay "foreign words, acronyms, and abbreviations," and our beloved game collapses under "the sheer weight of an infinite number of words"?
"Scrabble players to the ramparts"
All hail the democratization of Scrabble: It's not just people who use "currently approved words" like "udo" and "kue" who want to play Scrabble, says Stephen Totillo in Kotaku. Maybe more people would play it if they could use "the name of the city they live in, or their favorite celebrity." There's something a little "elitist" about this outcry.
"The great Scrabble panic of 2010"
Decompress, everyone — this alteration only affects Brits: Calm down, says Daniel Terdiman in CNet. This "completely new version of the game," in which "anything goes," including "spelling words backwards" and, yes, "the use of proper nouns," will only be released in the U.K. For the game's 50 million American and Canadian fans, nothing has changed.
"The sky isn't falling: Scrabble rules aren't changing."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- How the battle for religious freedom became a nonsensical free-for-all
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- 10 things you need to know today: July 30, 2014
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Pay yourself first: The habit that can help you build wealth
Subscribe to the Week