Scrabble: Mattel introduces new double-sided, ‘less intimidating’ version of board game


After 75 years, Scrabble is tinkering with its format. The C-H-A-N-G-E -- worth 12 points in traditional Scrabble, by the way -- comes in the form of a new double-sided board.

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Mattel announced that Scrabble Together, which has been rolled out in Europe, will be more collaborative and accessible for players who find word games intimidating, the BBC reported.

The double-sided Scrabble board will still feature the original game, along with its new version, according to the news outlet.

Mattel said that the new version marks the first change to Scrabble’s board in more than 75 years, The Associated Press reported. The game is also being advertised as faster to play and more team-oriented.

“We want to ensure the game continues to be inclusive for all players,” Ray Adler, vice president and global head of games at Mattel, said in a statement.

In the new version, players collaborate to complete goal cards, and players will be able to use helper cards if they need assistance, CNN reported. The winner is the player who completes 20 challenges, according to the BBC. A player loses if they use up all of the helper cards and cannot complete a goal, the news outlet reported.

“Scrabble has truly stood the test of time as one of the most popular board games in history, and we want to ensure the game continues to be inclusive for all players,” Adler added in his statement. “For anyone who’s ever thought, ‘word games aren’t for me’, or felt a little intimidated by the Classic game, Scrabble Together Mode is an ideal option.”

Mattel’s announcement included a survey from London-based Opinion Matters, the AP reported. The market researcher stated that 75% of adults in the United Kingdom between the ages of 25 and 34 have searched a word while playing to see if it was legitimate, according to The Guardian. The researcher added that 49% of those playing the board-and-tile game have attempted to make up a new word as a tactic to win, according to the AP.

Scrabble was designed in 1931 by architect Alfred Mosher Butts under the name Lexiko, according to The original game was played without a board, and players earned points based on the length of words formed. Butts also called the game “It” and “Criss-Cross Words,” according to Scrabble’s website.

In 1938, Butts enhanced the game, assigning point values to letters on tiles, which were placed on the 15-by-15 board in crossword style, according to Scrabble’s website. Butts chose the frequency and distribution of the tiles by counting letters on the pages of the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, and The Saturday Evening Post.

Butts applied for a patent but was rejected, so he shelved the idea when he was unable to sell the game to manufacturers, according to

On Dec. 1, 1948, James Brunot of Newtown, Connecticut copyrighted the name “Scrabble” after buying the manufacturing rights, according to Scrabble’s website. In exchange, Brunot granted Butts a royalty on every unit sold.

Mattel owns the rights to Scrabble around much of the world, but the game is licensed in the United States by Hasbro, the AP reported.

A spokesperson for Hasbro confirmed to the news organization that the company currently has no plans for a U.S. update.

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