Scrabble becomes 'less competitive' in update designed to make game more 'inclusive'

9 April 2024, 19:42 | Updated: 10 April 2024, 07:28

Brussels Old Town, Belgium, March16, 2024 - Lady playing scrable in Dutch at home
The update means the game will be played on a double-sided board. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle De Wolfe

The new game, called Scrabble Together, will see the word game played on a new double-sided board.

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Scrabble's makers, Firm Mattel, say the changes will allow the game to be played in teams rather than by single players.

The company added this will make the game more "inclusive" and more "collaborative".

They added the concept makes the word game less daunting for young children and those who find spelling intimidating.

The changes aim to make the game more inclusive
The changes aim to make the game more inclusive. Picture: Getty Images

The changes were announced by the brand who own the rights to manufacture the word game outside the US and Canada.

The new version replaces the forming of words with a more structured game, where players are given three "goal cards", each of which contains a set of challenges, alongside "helper cards" in case they get stuck.

The winner is the player who completes all 20 challenges, while a participants lose if they use up all the helper cards and cannot complete a goal.

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It is especially aimed at younger, Gen-Z players who prefer fun and playing together over the competitive nature of traditional Scrabble. Brett Smitheram, 2016 World Scrabble Champion, said: "The game speaks to a trend in younger people who want to avoid competitive games, instead favouring teamwork and collaboration working towards a fun goal together."

Mattel’s new launch comes as research found 75% of players aged 25-34 have looked up a word online to check it exists.

Additionally, almost half of Scrabble players also say they have tried to make up a new word to win a game.

Contenders Compete For Australian Title At 2021 National Scrabble Championship
The makers of Scrabble found that younger people don't like the competitive nature of the game. Picture: Getty

Broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, who organised the first British National Scrabble Championship in 1971 and is now president of the Association of British Scrabble Players, welcomed the new "exciting" launch.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "We play the original game, but change is inevitable.

"The makers of Scrabble found that younger people, Gen Z people, don't quite like the competitive nature of Scrabble. They want a game where you can simply enjoy language, words, being together and having fun creating words."

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Ray Adler, head of games at Mattel, said: "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. 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."

Mr Adler added that "thanks to its exciting new co-operative and dynamic gameplay, it's more accessible and brings people together".

It is a contrast to classic Scrabble, where players compete to get the highest score by strategically placing high-value letter tiles on the board.