Scrabble rule change shock as plans announced to allow celebrity names


The official rules of Scrabble are being changed for the first time in 62 years – to allow the names of celebrities, places and companies to be used.

When American architect Alfred Butts invented and trademarked the game in 1948 the use of proper nouns such as John, London and Pepsi was banned.

But games giant Mattel, which owns the distribution rights to Scrabble, has announced plans to make a series of dramatic changes.

Players will now be permitted to use proper nouns, which will enable high scores from celebrities such as Jordan, Beyonce and Shakira.

Mattel is also considering allowing players to spell words backwards and upwards on the board and place words unconnected to other pieces.

A spokeswoman for Mattel yesterday (Fri) promised the new rules will be a ”great new twist” on the classic game.

She said: ”The layout, the colours of the board, the rules and the game itself have all remained unchanged for over 60 years.

”These changes are the biggest news for Scrabble lovers in the history of the game and will provide a great new twist on the old formula.

”We believe that people who are already fans of the game will enjoy the changes and they will also enable younger players and families to get involved.

”Obviously some people will want to continue playing the old rules so we will still be selling a board with the original rules.”

Alfred Butts began developing Scrabble in New York in the 1930s after he was left out of work from his job as an architect because of the Depression.

He initially called his game ”Lexiko” and ”Criss Cross Words” but was unable to find a manufacturer willing to produce his idea.

Eventually he sold the rights to entrepreneur James Brunot who renamed it Scrabble, which literally translates as ‘to grope frantically’.

In 1948 the game was trademarked and since then over 150 million sets have been sold worldwide with Butts receiving royalties until his death in 1993.

The original rules have never officially changed until July this year when Mattel will release their new modernised version.


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