Having grown up with fond memories of playing scrabble around the kitchen table, and the fun, laughter and good times, I was keen to recreate those happy times, and shared memories for both of my girls. With an age gap of 12 years, it is a little difficult to find a game that will appeal to both, yet this game miraculously does that - it spans generations, and with help, kids from the ages of 6 upwards can play; although the box states 10 plus.
You may feel that 6 might be a little young, but both my daughters you see, have enjoyed playing junior versions of this game, and this set them in good stead for the original version, the purpose of this review. In fact, Elysia's version of Junior Scrabble was by the Character Dora the Explorer, whom as you may or may not know, introduces toddlers to Spanish; not only was she learning her letters, she had an early introduction to languages as well.
History of the Game
In 1938 an American, Alfred Mosher Butts devised a new game, around and earlier word game he invented called Lexiko. He had a few copies of this new game made up, which he called Criss- Crosswords, and he distributed them among his friends, but pitching his prototypes to all the major game manufactures, he wasn't very successful, and the game didn't take off.
In 1948, James Brunot who owned a copy of the original game, bought the rights, in exchange for giving Butts a percentage of the takings. Although the game was essentially left unaltered, he did simplify the rules, along with changing the name to Scrabble.
In 1949, they manufactured 2,500 sets of the game; not only did they not make any profits, but actually lost money. Scrabble's lucky break apparently came in 1952, when the owner of Macy's Department Store played the game while on holiday. He placed a large order to sell in his store, and within a year everyone wanted to own one, and the rest is history.
The game is played on a 15 square by 15 square board. You are provided with 100 lettered tiles for the English version, but other languages have 102. Each tile is allocated a certain number of points.
Open the game board within easy view of everyone and get a pen and paper to keep score. Each player takes a tile rack and also a tile from the bag. The player with the letter closest to A is the first player, and then the play sequence goes clockwise. The tiles are placed in the bag, shook up to redistribute, and play can begin after each player selects 7 tiles.
How to Play
The first player must place their word, of two or more tiles on the centre square either horizontally or vertically. Each of the tiles are numbered, and these numbers are added together and their score is noted down. Throughout the game, each player should draw more tiles from the bag according to how many you have placed on the board, so you always have seven tiles, that is unless, you are nearing the end of the game and the tiles run out. Play passes to the second player whom must interlock their word with that of the first player (like a crossword), and so on and so forth. Until one player has placed all their tiles on the board, and this marks the end of the game. The whole game usually takes about an hour, depending on how long it takes to find and position ones words.
Each word must be contained within the English dictionary, except those only spelt with an initial capital letter, abbreviations, prefixes, suffixes and words requiring apostrophes and hyphens. Foreign words that have been absorbed into the English language are allowed, and plurals ARE accepted. It sounds difficult but in reality it's not.
Variations of the game
Recycling the blanks: This is when a blank has been used as the letter S. The next player can switch a letter S tile for that of the blank. This can be done limitless times, and makes for a different playing experience.
Thematic Scrabble: One to play at this time of year - all words must be played with a Christmas theme or a holiday theme during the summer etc.
Jacks to Open: This makes the game more interesting by shifting the direction of play. Play shifts to the next player until a person can play a word of 5 letters or more.
Double bag Scrabble: An interesting one, along the theme of Countdown; consonants and vowels are placed in separate bags, and you can choose which type of letter to draw according to what letters you already have on your Scrabble tray.
Our Special Edition Scrabble Board
Our scrabble board is a Pink Edition, sold in aid of Breakthrough for Breast Cancer. It was initially purchased as a Christmas gift for my eldest daughter (but to be played by the whole family). As a lover of pink, I thought this was especially suitable. The fact that a portion of the profits goes to Breakthrough was especially dear to my heart, as I have a special friend who has suffered, and thankfully beaten, this terrible disease (touch wood).
The complete set variations of bubblegum pink and at complete opposites with the normal green and cream board. In fact this was to replace our old board where the tiles had been lost over the years; such has this game a favourite in our household.
The prices for this game are at a premium at the moment, and shopping around today (23/01/12) the price is £74.99 on Amazon (ouch) and £58.99 on buypinkproducts.com, a site dedicated to selling pink items for Charity.
While there is absolutely no requirement to buy the pink version, I do think that if you like it, and want to do some good at the same time, you should; yet there is absolutely no change in the game other than the overall colour.
This is a game that can be played and enjoyed by the whole family, and with family bonding time such a rarity nowadays owing to the busy lives we lead, we should take the time to enjoy them while we can.
Show your breasts some TLC - Touch, Look, Care.
Thank you for reading my review, which may be posted on other sites, under the same username