The resurgence of Scrabble
Invented and designed by Alfred Butts during the great depression and originally known as “Criss-Cross Words”, Scrabble was renamed the board game we know today in 1948.
Nowadays, Scrabble is not just a board game. It is an internationally competitive “mind sport” with an active competitive circuit, Scrabble clubs, national associations, and world championships.
The growth of Scrabble clubs around the world continues each year and the level of competition grows with it. As a mind sport, Scrabble is fast approaching the level of intellectual challenge and respect that other mind sports like chess command.
Scrabble’s growing popularity today challenges the myriad of similar rival word-based board games that have emerged in the past two decades.
Successful Scrabble players know that there is much more to this game than just vocabulary and spelling skills. Scrabble is a mental sport that requires mathematical, analytical and strategic skills, and a slight dose of luck.
For the recreational Scrabble player who enjoys a game with the family at the kitchen table, the lack (or misfortune) of pulling the best (or worst) collection of tiles out of the bag is an important component of whether a player win or lose . The more advanced and competitive the player is, the less luck plays aside. Strategic skills largely eliminate the luck component.
There are several reasons why Scrabble is growing in popularity year after year.
In earlier times, there were problems with different dictionaries allowing or not allowing multiple words. Today, the official Scrabble dictionaries have been almost completely standardized internationally for the game in English. Now there are only two slightly different sets of official words: one for North America and one for the rest of the world.
The Scrabble Clubs themselves generate publicity in their communities, offering not only competition, but also a social setting for the less serious but enthusiastic recreational player.
Inter-club tournaments, national championships and world championships attract media attention.
Even ESPN has tried televising Scrabble competitions and is believed to be interested in expanding its coverage of Scrabble as a competitive mind sport.
In several countries, Scrabble clubs and associations are actively working with government education departments to introduce “School Scrabble”, which combines the academic and sporting aspects of Scrabble into the school curriculum.
The Internet is playing a role in the growing popularity of Scrabble with numerous websites available to play Scrabble online. Educational resources and tips from Scrabble experts are also available online.
The future growth of Scrabble internationally seems assured. With the International Olympic Committee considering a number of mind sports, such as Bridge, for possible inclusion in future Olympic Games, it’s not out of bounds for the possibility that at some point in the future Scrabble could become an Olympic sport. .