Scrabble is a board game invented in America by Alfred Mosher Butts in 1948. The purpose of the game is to make words using a set number of letter tiles on a 15 x 15 square board. Scrabble is arguably more popular than Monopoly and is played in over 175 official tournaments per year.
Alfred Mosher Butts invented the Scrabble crossword game in its current form in 1948 based, at least in part, on his previous games Lexiko and Criss Cross Words. He purportedly determined the frequency of the letter tiles in the game by counting letter usage in the New York Times. He began by selling them individually by mail order until he partnered with James Brunot and his newly formed Production and Marketing company.
The game struggled in its early years until sales began dramatically increasing in 1952. The game was purchased by Selchow & Righter in 1971. Following the windfall created by Trivial Pursuit, and its subsequent crash, Selchow sold their properties to Coleco Industries in 1986. Coleco was subsequently acquired by Hasbro in 1988 and Scrabble has remained with them since.
Jim Kramer, a 48 year old proofreader from Roseville, Minnesota, is the reigning United States Scrabble Open champion (2006).
The game consists of a bag, a set of tiles, and a board divided into a 15x15 grid. The tiles are each marked with one letter and a point value (except for two blank 'wildcard' tiles). The tiles are placed in the bag; each player removes 7 of them; the first player uses his or her tiles to form a word and places it on the board, either horizontally or vertically, intersecting the middle square. The player then draws more tiles from the bag, replacing the ones just played, maintaining 7 tiles to the extent possible. The points on the tiles are totaled up with any special squares included (see below); that's the player's score for this turn. Play then rotates around the board with each player attempting to play his or her tiles to form words; after the first play, each word must use at least one tile already on the board.
The bonuses for the various special squares (double letter score which includes the middle square where play must begin, triple letter score, double word score, and triple word score) are used only once during play; if a letter used in a word is already on the square the bonus is not awarded again.
Any tiles in direct contact with each other, either horizontally or vertically, must form valid words. If a single play forms multiple words (one horizontally and one or more vertically, or vice versa), points for all the formed words are awarded.
The following is a valid game after two plays:
T SMALL L K
The following board position would not be permitted:
MP, IR, and CE are not words, so MICE cannot be put on top of PRETZEL.
Playing all 7 tiles is called a 'bingo' and gives a 50-point bonus in addition to the score (including bonus squares).
Play ends when one player is out of tiles and no tiles remain in the bag, or when no player can play a valid word. The player with the most points wins.
- Scrabble History - at www.Hasbro.com
- Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis, 2001, Penguin Books
- Jim Kramer Profile at www.ScrabbleAssociation.com