Useful Useless Information for Scrabble Fans


Most of the people I know, know about Scrabble and/or play it. I love playing it, except against my husband, because he beats me e-v-e-r-y-t-i-m-e! But I’m a sucker for punishment and keep playing anyway.

Scrabble collage1

Here are a few interesting facts about the game.

  • In 1938, American architect Alfred Mosher Butts developed the game as a variation on an earlier word game he invented called The two games had the same set of letter tiles, whose distributions and point values Butts worked out by performing a frequency analysis of letters from various sources, including The New York Times. The new game, which he called ‘Criss-Crosswords,’ added the 15×15 game board and the crossword-style game play. He manufactured a few sets himself, but was not successful in selling the game to any major game manufacturers of the day. Scrabble – The World’s Leading Word Game – celebrated its 60th birthday in 2008.
  • Many editions of Scrabble vary in the letter distribution of the tiles, because the frequency of each letter of the alphabet is different for every language. As a general rule, the rarer the letter the more points it is worth.
  • Many languages use sets of 102 tiles, since the original distribution of one hundred tiles was later augmented with two blank tiles. In tournament play, while it is acceptable to pause the game to count the tiles remaining in the game, it is not acceptable to mention how many tiles are remaining at any time.Several online tools exist for counting tiles during friendly play.
  • Over 150 million games have been sold in 121 countries around the world.
  • 53 per cent of all homes in Great Britain have a Scrabble set.
  • Each hour, at least 30,000 Scrabble games are started.
  • The Afrikaans edition doesn’t have the letters C, Q, X or Z.
  • Italian blocks exclude J,K, W, X, and
  • In French Scrabble, there are five tiles worth 10 points – K, W, X, Y, and Z.
  • Before 1998 the Dutch set, IJ had printed on a single block, because of a lot of words ending on –ij. Since then it was separated to be identical to the Flemish version.
  • The highest number of points that can be scored on the first go is 128 – with ‘muzjiks’ (Russian peasants).
  • Dr Karl Khoshnaw from Manchester holds the record for the highest word score achieved in a competition, scoring 392 points with ‘caziques’ – the plural for a West Indian Chief. There are over 260,000 legal words allowed under British Scrabble rules.
  • Scrabble is used all over the world as a method of teaching English.
  • A ballet called Scrabble had its premiere in South Africa in the 1980s.
  • If all the Scrabble tiles ever produced were placed end to end they would reach the equivalent of eight times around the earth.
  • Gerry Adams once castigated the British for quibbling over the wording of peace treaties with the phrase: “This is not a game of Scrabble”.
  • There is a town called Scrabble in Berkeley County, West Virginia, USA. They don’t have a Scrabble club.

Scrabble collage2

Scrabble is also available as an app for smartphones and tablets. There are various other similar games available. My son and I like playing Words with Friends. You can either choose to play with a friend, with a person with the same skill level or you can play off line against the ‘computer’ (Solo Play). Just search your provider’s app store for the word game to suit you. And teach your young children to play. It’s good to expand their vocabulary. Just don’t come crying to me if they beat you at your favourite game!

Happy Scrabbling!

PS: I hate those weird little words the ‘computer’ plays against me that doesn’t sound like words at all. But I get my revenge, by trying to remember them and play them ‘back’.

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Resources (from which the facts in this blog is quoted) and Links to more fun facts about Scrabble:

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