Monday, April 5, 2010

Like many of the Outrageous News stories that I profile here on The Mother Load, I learned about this story while listening to NPR. It was my good friend, Steve Inskeep, who broke the news that a new edition of Scrabble allows for proper nouns to be played on the board.  The news caused millions of angry Scrabble fans to overturn tables and gnash their teeth in protest, and then demand a triple word score for their use of "gnash."

Anyone who's ever played Scrabble knows that proper nouns are strictly verboten.  It has been so since Scrabble was invented, approximately two million years ago.  The first cave man, Gurg, tried to get away with spelling the name of his mate, Blarg.  His opponent, Rorr, beat him over the head with a club, and the anti-proper noun verbiage has been a part of the Scrabble canon ever since.

The news story exhorts die hard Scrabble fans to take heart.  The rules of Scrabble are not really changing, because this new game is not called Scrabble, but Scrabber Trickster.  You see?  It's not even the same name, you silly Scrabble nuts!

According to news reports, Scrabble Trickster is being made so it can appeal to a younger, hipper, dumber demographic, so I guess that means it's for good cause.  I reminds me of the day my high school principal decided to lower the standards of the honor roll to make our school look smarter, but I guess dumb people need games too.

Scrabble Trickster is only being sold in the UK, so Americans who've been changing the proper noun rule anyway for as long as they've played the game will not be able to buy a copy of the new game in order to legitimize their cheating.  Perhaps, when the hubbub dies down, we Yanks will have our chance to snap up our boxes of Scrabble Cheater...I mean Trickster. 

Look for even more rule-breaking versions of Scrabble in the coming months, including Scrabble Oops, in which players can trade tiles, Scrabble Scholar, which allows dictionary use, and Scabble Humfurginar, in which players can make up words based on the sounds their intestines make during long games.