Product Type: Mattel board games
Newest Review: ... two ;) ) -Highly addicting -Great fun -Learn words you never knew existed ('Ubiquitous' is a new favorite of mine) Cons: -Only enough... more
Good Family Fun
Mattel Scrabble Original
Member Name: tinkerbell18
Mattel Scrabble Original
Advantages: Fun, gets you thinking, for the family to play
Disadvantages: Frustrating, harder for younger players
Scrabble is a board game that has been around since 1938, although it only became known as Scrabble in 1948. It is a classic family game that can be found in most homes - this is at least the case with a lot of people I know. I have only really properly played a game of Scrabble in recent years against a very competitive parent or boyfriend, and I have to admit that I do enjoy it (especially when I win).
The game itself is played on a square board, that is marked out by a 15x15 squared grid. Each square is the size of one playing tile (just over 1cmx1cm in size). There are 100 tiles in the game, 98 are marked with a letter and a point value, whilst the remaining two tiles are blank. The blank tiles have no points value and can be used as any letter throughout the game. However, once placed on the board your choice of letter remains fixed and cannot be changed. Points values range from 1 to 10 depending on the frequency of the letter. For example E or A are worth 1 point, whilst Z or Q are worth 10 points each. There is also a possibility of scoring extra points depending where you place tiles on the board. There are dark red "triple-word" squares, pink "double-word" squares, dark blue "triple letter" squares and light blue "double-letter" squares. These double or triple the letter or word points depending upon which one you place a tile on and are spread all over the board, meaning that there is a good chance that you will land on at least one throughout the game. The centre square, which is usually marked by a star, is a double-word square also and is usually where the game begins. Extra points are given if you manage to place all your letters on the board in one play.
The game indicates that it is for 2-4 players, but if you play in teams you can obviously have more players. There are four racks (tile-holders) provided, in the trademark dark green of the game. These allow you to see what tiles you have whilst hiding them from other players. To begin the game you each take 7 tiles from (usually) a dark green opaque bag that is provided with the game. Throughout the game you must always have 7 tiles on your rack, so if for example you place 5 letters on the board you must then take 5 letters from the bag. This continues until the bag is empty.
Once the 7 tiles are selected you take it in turns to place words on the board. To do this you must follow a few simple rules: Once the first word has been placed all other players must link their own word to the word on the board. For example, if a player has placed WIND going down the board, you could place DOWN across the board, going through the W, meaning you only use D, O and N of your own letters. You can also extend words that are already on the board. For example, if the word EXAM is on the board if you have the tiles you can extend it to EXAMPLE. However, you cannot have tiles running horizontally or vertically next to each other that do not make a word, which is where the strategic part of the game comes into its own. Not only do you have to place words on the board, but you have to ensure that where you place them will make a word, you have connected at least one tile to the tiles already on the board, and there is the added difficulty of trying to outsmart and outplace the other players on the board. It can get extremely frustrating, especially when your opponent always manages to take the gap you were aiming for.
To end the game all the tiles must be gone from the bag and one player must have placed all their tiles on the board (or there are no more moves to be made). Points from any remaining tiles on a player rack are added together and taken from their final score.
Usually a game of Scrabble does not allow nouns (names) to be placed on the board, but a recent rule change now means that these can be placed. This makes the game easier in my opinion, and is a rule that is only enforced when younger players a playing to give them more of a chance of winning. Although the game can be played by 8 years and above I have found that it can be more difficult for younger players with less of a vocabulary than for example their parents, and sometimes they need a helpful nudge with their tiles. However, it is quite an educational game and allows you to test your word knowledge and I have found that the more I have played Scrabble, the less help I have needed (and I've become a lot more competitive). It is a very fun game to play, but has sometimes led to bickering and a dictionary being dragged out to solve a dispute over whether a word is real or not, but nothing too serious.
There are now many platforms you can play Scrabble on; online, PC, and I've even had a go on the DS Lite version, but my favourite has to be the board game as you can actually see who you are playing with, and it's a good family activity. If playing with younger players I'd definitely recommend playing in teams just to give them a helping hand (if they want it), and perhaps have a dictionary to hand just in case of word disputes!
Summary: A timeless family classic