Education History

Things you didn’t about scrabble


Scrabble is one of the most fun and intellectually stimulating board games out there. It’s the sort of game you looked at your parents playing when you were a kid and found it boring. But, as an adult, you may well find it one of the most fun and interesting games you can play. Scrabble can be played online these days as well, making it a much more accessible game for people to pick up. There are plenty of cool facts surrounding scrabble that we bet you had no idea about – here are five!

It wasn’t always called Scrabble

Most people don’t know, but Scrabble was invented by a US architect by the name of Alfred Butts. He was living and working in New York City at the time he invented the game, but he didn’t call it Scrabble to begin with. The earliest version of the game was actually called ‘Lexico,’ which we actually kind of like, and it works rather well. After this he changed the name to ‘Criss Cross,’ which works slightly less well, we’re sure you’ll agree! Anyway, eventually, it’s believed that his business partner James Brunot coined the name ‘Scrabble’ in the ‘30s.

The points are very deliberate

Have you ever wondered about the number of tiles there are for specific letters, or how the points for certain letters are determined? Well, it’s not just random – there is a definitive thought process behind it. Butts decided to rank the letters based on their commonality in the English language. For instance, the letter ‘Q’ is the least common letter in the English language, hence why there is only one in a Scrabble set, and it’s worth so many points.

It was a hard sell

You might think, from the popularity of the game, that manufacturers were snapping up the idea for Scrabble, but, the opposite was actually true. In fact, pretty much all of them refused to go anywhere near the game, convinced it wasn’t marketable. This changed when the president of Macy’s became aware of the game in around 1957. He placed a huge order that Butts couldn’t meet, so Butts sold it to business partner Brunot. He, in turn, sold the game to Selchow and Righter, the early manufacturers of Scrabble. Eventually, they wound up being taken over by Coleco who sold the product to Hasbro. Once it got moving the game generated a lot of interest, but it seems like nobody was keen, to begin with!

It hasn’t really changed

One of the things we love the most about Scrabble is how little the game has changed over the years. Some games go through evolutions and rule changes and often try to get too clever with things, to the point where the game suffers as a result. But, Scrabble is pretty much the same game it was when it was first invented. Though there has been talk of the game being revamped to account for updated lexicon and language. Whether or not this happens is another matter and worthy of later discussion.

Scrabble is one of the most popular games in the world and continues to bring joy to millions of people. It’s the perfect way of ensuring you have a game that is both fun and intellectually stimulating. And now, with these cool facts about Scrabble, you can get a little more enjoyment out of the game – and you’ll be able to impress friends and family with the trivia!

About the author

Rebecca Walton

Rebecca has always been fascinated with the business and tech world, having grown up with parents in the industry. She has a real passion for science - particularly space and the unknown realms that surround the planet! Rebecca has been writing for different publications for nearly 6 years and is now an editor at Pangaea Express.