April 13, 2012 - National Scrabble Day


B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y is worth 17 points (without bonus squares)!
I-N-V-E-N-T-O-R is worth 11 points!
And B-O-A-R-D-G-A-M-E is worth 15 points!

Today is the birthday of Scrabble inventor Alfred Mosher Butts. This architect invented the boardgame, which he called “Criss-Crosswords,” in 1938 but wasn't able to interest any major game manufacturer in his idea and only created a few games to sell himself. After ten years of little success, Butts sold the manufacturing rights to a man named Brunot, in exchange for a royalty on every game sold. Brunot simplified the rules and changed the name to “Scrabble.” He set up a former schoolhouse as a workshop, and he and his family made and sold several thousand sets.

Finally, the game's big break came in 1952, when the president of Macy's department store played Scrabble on vacation. When he returned to work and told others how fun the game was, he was surprised to find that his store didn't carry the product—and at his insistence, Macy's ordered a large number of Scrabble sets. Brunot and his family factory couldn't keep up with the orders, so Brunot sold the manufacturing rights to one of the big game companies that had previously turned the game down.

Suddenly, everyone had to have a Scrabble set!

These days, not only do many families own Scrabble game sets, but there are Scrabble clubs and tournaments, online versions of the game, and even TV shows such as Scrabble Showdown.


Enjoy the day!

Play a game of Scrabble.

You could try variations such as Solitaire Scrabble (just play normally, but by yourself—and have fun planning ahead and building on your own words—then later try to beat your own score) or any these ideas. (I love to play Anagrab!) Or create your own new variation! 

Try Scrabble online. It's available on Facebook or Pogo-dot-com (which is free but has lots of ads). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary people have a solitaire version that is not very much like the normal boardgame—but which is still fun! 


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