Some Facts about Scrabble

Some Facts about Scrabble

Srabble was created by a New Yorker named Alfred Mosher Butts in 1934 and he and his wife poured all of there money into creating a factory for it. For almost two decades they were making a steady and substantial loss, but in 1953 the head of Macy's played it with his family and loved it. There are now enough sets in the world that every person in the UK could have two sets to themselves, but unfortunately Butts sold most of the rights to the royalties just before the huge spike in demand.

It is fair to say that Butts was not great at naming his products. Scrabble was originally called "It", but that's not the low point. After many years away from the board game industry (he was an architect by trade) Butts made another game named "Alfred's Other Game" in 1985. 

Let's get into some Scrabble stats. Although the highest possible scoring word is Oxyphenbutazone an arthritis medicine which can net you 1178 points if correctly played across three triple word bonuses, the highest recorded score from a single word is Caziques, which is the plural of a type of Native American Leader and was played across two triple word scores in a tournament game in 1982 for a total of 392. Want to guess what the most common word is in Scrabble tournaments? Qi. This along with Qat, Ax, Ex, Xi, Ox, Xu, Jo and Za are all highly played and you should probably just learn them and their definitions now.

The frequencies of the letters were chosen by Alfred Butts by him tallying up the letters in the New York Times and trying to match the distribution. However he reduced the number of S tiles so that plurals would be less easy to make.

Finally lets talk about the French Scrabble Champion from 2015. Nigel Richards is a Kiwi professional Scrabble Player (and three time World Champion) who made the news last year by winning the equivalent game in French (the letter distribution changes by language, e.g. more E tiles in the German set), despite not speaking French. At top level play the game becomes not one of thinking of obscure words, but one of dealing with abstract strings of symbols.

 

The Tower Building

The Tower Building

Spinning Spaceships

Spinning Spaceships