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I'M CHALLENGING THAT WORD
MY INTRODUCTION TO SCRABBLE
I actually have three types of the board game Scrabble in my home. These are Junior Scrabble, Original Scrabble and the ‘real’ original which has the wooden tile boards. I thought I would review the Original which is the latest one that I purchased. This is the one with the green board as opposed to the ‘old’ original which has lighter colours on the board.
I grew up playing board games mainly with my mother and brother and sometimes with cousins. In our home we owned many, such as Monopoly, Cluedo, Ludo and for Christmas we always received a compendium of games with good old snakes and ladders included, and some games we never learnt! My brother liked Monopoly but to me that particular game always seemed to go on for ages, and I never won!
But I could, and still can, sometimes win at Scrabble, which perhaps is why it’s definitely my favourite board game. I remember playing this game on many Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons with my mother. I think my main Scrabble playing days took place in the early 1970s, although I’m not too sure. In my household it’s recently been played a lot as my son being a new primary school teacher tries to familiarise himself with lots of board games. Also he is rather competitive!
JUST A FEW FACTS
Thinking back to playing scrabble on the old light coloured board, with the wooden tile trays, made me curious, and therefore I delved to find some facts about this game. I found sixty facts from:-
http://www.telegraph.co.uk this was published in the year 2008.
But don’t worry; I won’t supply them all but just give a tiny taster!
Scrabble is the world’s leading word game and had its 60th birthday in 2008.
It was invented by Alfred Butts and the original was called ‘Lexico.’ It didn’t have a board at first and was just played with tiles.
Over 150 million games have been sold in 121 countries around the world. Scrabble is currently produced in 29 different languages. The latest is the Welsh language Scrabble introduced in 2006.
53 per cent of all homes in Great Britain have a Scrabble set.
Scrabble can be played by email and post.
Alfred Butts decided on the frequency and distribution of letters by analysing the front page of the New York Times.
There are many more interesting (in my opinion) facts about this popular board game but enough is enough. If you are interested then you can have a look at the website already mentioned.
HOW TO PLAY
Scrabble can be played by two to four players. The Scrabble board has fifteen by fifteen squares on which one letter tile can be placed.
With the English Scrabble set there are 100 plastic tiles and these each have a letter on except for two which are blank and can be used to represent a letter of your choice if fitting in with other letters/words already on the board. These letter tiles have points going from one and up to ten. (Q and Z are worth ten) The easiest letters to place around the board are worth the least, for example, E is the most commonly used letter in the English language and is worth just one point.
The board is marked with some coloured squares which denote extra ways to score. If covering them with a word you can gain double letters, triple letters, double words and triple words. If a Q can be placed on a triple word you will score highly.
At the start of play the tiles are placed in a bag and each player in turn removes seven tiles unseen. The aim is to find words which will give the most points. There are many ways to add to words already on the board to increase one’s score.
A player keeps score. The player with the highest score wins the game.
I hope this gives enough explanation.
WHY I LIKE SCRABBLE
I’m not that keen on many board games nowadays. I find most have long drawn out rules which need to be studied before playing the game. I really can’t be bothered. However, there are some that do I like but even so, I would choose to play word games over most other games. I have Boggle and Upwords to name just a few but, for me, they don’t come anywhere near to good old Scrabble.
Yes, it’s always been word games for me and if a board game isn’t to hand, then pen and paper will do. But then, I’m better at word games than I am at maths games so this may be why I favour them.
When I had my own children I realised the educational, as well as entertainment value that board games could offer for children, from toddlers to teens. I purchased many.
I bought Junior Scrabble for my children and they also played with their grandmother on the ‘old’ original purchased in the early 1970s. I have now inherited this but before that bought the ‘newer’ original Scrabble so that we could play at home.
I feel the original was the best for my children to play and they coped well with it from an early age. I always think there are ways to simplify or shorten a game with young children, or they can team up with an adult, or just be helped out. This, to my mind, is a good way to learn.
I often took my Junior Scrabble set into school when working with special educational needs children. I found it a fun way to help them learn and develop confidence.
The game has changed over the years and now the tile holders/ trays are made of green plastic. They used to be natural wood. The tiles are still a cream coloured plastic with a black letter on. The colouring of the board has been changed too, over the years, but nothing drastic here. A bag/pouch is now supplied to keep the tiles in. I’m pretty sure that the ‘old’ original didn’t have this so we would always upturn the tiles (so the letters couldn’t be seen) in the lid of the box. We should have just used a bag as this makes the game much quicker to set up and to begin play.
I think the game is well made and lasts well.
Scrabble is a well-known board game manufactured by Mattel. It is available in most toy shops and the places named below.
Prices seem to vary quite a bit so here are some current prices.
Argos: £13.45 (Was £14.99)
WHSmith: £19.27 (Was £25.69)
Toysrus: £13.49 (WAS £14.97)
I think this game, once learnt, is so quick to pick up again, even if it hasn’t been played for years. Although there can be arguments as to what constitutes a proper word, with a dictionary to hand for challenges, then one can’t go far wrong.
It’s a game that can be played by all the family, as long as young children are helped a little, from young to old.
This game, as well as being entertaining, is educational in the sense of helping with spelling, reading and word formation. Not only this but, as words are worth points then some adding up is also required. Not just the adding up of word scores but, as the game is progressing, players will be studying their words, looking for possible strategic places to put their tiles, and will be mentally adding up the best ways to obtain a high score.
In my opinion this is a great family game which has proved itself by standing the test of time so well.
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