Little did unemployed architect Alfred Mosher Butts realise, as he set out to amuse himself during the Great Depression of 1938, that he was about to change the games world forever. As he sat at home carving out those little wooden letter tiles, his only thought was to keep himself and his wife amused with word games. Combining crossword puzzles and anagrams, he called his game Lexiko.
A decade on, James Brunot bought the rights, changed the name to Scrabble (from the verb to scratch frantically), sold it to department store Macy’s. And sent the game all over the world. To date, more than 150 million games of Scrabble have been bought. And it’s been translated into at least 29 languages, including Braille.
The 13th of April is National Scrabble Day (chosen to commemorate Butts’ birthday) and the Association of British Scrabble Players has arranged a series of tournaments throughout the next couple of months, including the Scottish Open on May 20th-21st. Find out more here:
Of course, these days, there are a myriad ways to play Scrabble. You can play online, against a pal or a robot. You can take part in a tournament, or download the app and play by yourself. But we’re old-fashioned in our attitude to Scrabble and believe the best way to play is the way it’s always been played. With that foldy-up board, a pencil and paper for marking the score, and those fiddly little pale tiles.
That’s why we’ve got a box in our relaxation zone within Merchiston library. If you’re stressing before an exam, chilling after handing in a paper, or just taking some time out from your studies, pop in with a pal and crack open a game. Oh, and here’s a tip. If you want to notch up an incredible 1778 points, make sure you find a way to fit in oxyphebutazone – the highest-possible scoring word in Scrabble.
Let me leave you with this fun but useless factoid: a Z is only worth 1 point in Polish Scrabble.
You can read more game based posts like our one from last year, International Games Month
or you can play some games over on our virtual relaxation space
by Lesley McRobb
Photo source: UnSplash Clarissa Watson