The Null Device

Mattel introduces New Scrabble

Apparently there aren't enough young people playing Scrabble these days. (Perhaps the demographic of bookish cardigan-wearers and cupcake-crafters tends too much towards the mid-to-late 20s for maximum shareholder value.) In any case, Mattel have decided to attract a younger audience by changing the rules to allow proper nouns and "introduce an element of popular culture into the game". So now EDWARD, BIEBER and LADYGAGA are valid moves.

They will still sell an oldies' edition with the staid, fusty no-sparkly-vampires-or-pop-stars rule. It'll presumably be distinguished by tastefully monochromatic packaging (the regular pop-cultural edition will undoubtedly be printed in a vomitous mix of fluorescent colours, with the letter tiles in Comic Sans).

Update: the rule changes will not apply to Scrabble as such, but rather to a new "yoof-oriented"/"extreme" variant named "Scrabble Trickster". (Thanks to Jessamyn for that link.)

There are 5 comments on "Mattel introduces New Scrabble":

Posted by: gusset Tue Apr 6 16:01:08 2010

Given that this is such a minor change to the rules surely there should be just one set with two allowable word rule variations, to be agreed on before play?

Or will the new rules mean different scores on the tiles? For example, does the propensity of Zs in pop-culture dramatically alters the frequency distribution? What about all of the words spelt with numbers in them?

Posted by: acb Tue Apr 6 17:30:03 2010

They'd need to put in about four Zs, worth 3 points each. And numbers. And a $ for Ke$ha.

Some rules for when TXTSPK is acceptable will be needed as well.

Posted by: acb Tue Apr 6 17:30:57 2010

And the Scrabble dictionary will need to be updated weekly with the latest reality-TV stars and MySpace sensations.

Posted by: wolfstar Tue Apr 6 18:30:22 2010

I agree that this is a totally dumb idea. But as Lady Gaga says, "it doesn't make you cool to hate pop culture". Laughed out loud at the $ for Ke$ha idea! And yeah, I also reckon you'd have to boost the number of Z's and lower their value, otherwise something like "N-Dubz" would get a ridiculously high score.

While I'm on the subject, Kesha represents the absolute worst in pop culture, imho. She's clearly no more than a passing marketing gimmick and I doubt she'll be around for long (at least I hope not).

Posted by: acb Tue Apr 6 18:34:14 2010

Pop culture has its place. That place, however, is not on a Scrabble board.

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