Scrabble is one the biggest selling and most popular board games of all time. Hot worldwide, among the old and young, Scrabble sure is a heavy-hitter in the board game world.
At over 80 years old, Scrabble is probably older than your parents!
But did you know that the game underwent a few name changes before being settled upon as Scrabble? Or do you know why the first ever World Championships of Scrabble couldn’t be started?
Find out why below in these 30 fun facts about Scrabble!
- Scrabble was invented in 1931 by New York architect Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts invented the game in an attempt to create a word game that combined anagrams and crosswords, which involved luck, chance and a great deal of skill. Butts died at the age of 93 in 1993.
- Back in 1931, the original name for Scrabble was ‘Lexico‘, before becoming ‘Criss-Cross Words‘ and eventually ‘Scrabble‘. ‘Lexico‘ is a shortened version of the word ‘Lexicon‘, which is another term for ‘Language‘ or ‘Vocabulary‘.
- Alfred Butts decided on the frequency and distribution of the letter tiles through analysing the front page of the New York Times.
- There is a Braille version of Scrabble produced.
- The game is sold in 121 countries and comes in 31 different languages.
- Over 150 million copies of Scrabble have been sold worldwide!
- Down the sides of sofas, underneath carpets, eaten by children and pets alike; somewhere in the world there are over a million missing Scrabble tiles.
- Each hour, at least 30,000 Scrabble games are started.
- Scrabble has quite a celebrity following, those celebs who play include: Sting, Keanu Reeves, Moby, John Travolta, Carol Burnett, Jimmy Kimmel, Kylie Minogue, Mel Gibson, Joan Collins, Tom Cruise, Kate Hudson, Richard Nixon and Queen Elizabeth II.
- If all the Scrabble tiles ever produced were lined up, they would stretch for more than 50,000 miles!
- It’s possible to score 1782 points on a single word. That word is Oxyphenbutazone. To get those points, competition player Benjamin Woo played it across the top of the board, hitting three Triple Word Score squares whilst also making seven crosswords downwards.
- English Scrabble has 100 tiles. The most tiles are in Italian and Portuguese Scrabble which both have 120 tiles.
- In 1985, Lieutenant Commander Waghorn and Lance Corporal Gill played Scrabble for five continuous days. Not by choice, mind, as they were both trapped in a crevasse in Antarctica!
- In 1992, Franklin Mint commissioned and produced a version of Scrabble featuring 24k gold-plated tiles. Although it has long since sold out, copies of this golden-Scrabble can be found on eBay for roughly £350.
- The original version of Scrabble, Lexico, did not have a board and was played with tiles only.
- There are 124 playable two-letter words in the English (language) game, containing every letter in the alphabet except for V.
- Scrabble is used all over the world as a means of teaching English.
- The name Scrabble comes from the words Scrabbling, Scrabbled and Scrabbles – all of which means to claw or scrape at something frantically. These words all derive from the Dutch word ‘Schrabbelan’, which most likely integrated into American diction from Dutch settlers to North America.
- One variation of the Scrabble rules that people play is called ‘Clabbers’. This is an anagram of Scrabble, in which players play their words in any order they want to and play the letters in any order so long as the letters can make an anagram of a word.
- In Great Britain, 53% of all homes own a copy of Scrabble, and in the United States about 33% of all homes own a set.
- In the French Scrabble there are five 10-point tiles, these being; K, W, X, Y and Z.
- In London, 1991, the first ever Scrabble World Championship came to a grinding halt before a single game was played. Why, you might ask? Because there were no Scrabble tiles present.
- There are 19 As in the Malaysian version of Scrabble. That’s nearly a fifth of the total number of tiles in the game!
- Scrabble is ranked as the second best board game in U.S. History, second only to Monopoly.
- In Leicester, England, a five year old boy phoned the police to tell them that his sister was cheating at Scrabble.
- A new resident at an elderly people’s home was rejected from the home on the grounds of being ‘incompatible’ when she confessed that she didn’t play Scrabble.
- 1993 Scrabble World Champion, Mark Nyman of the U.K., learnt 10,000 words from the American Dictionary in order to prepare for the upcoming tournament.
- There is a daily newspaper column in Thailand devoted solely to Scrabble.
- Scrabble became an American daytime game-show, hosted by Chuck Woolery on NBC, which ran from July 1984 to March 1990. The show got a revival from January to June in 1993.
- In 2004, Scrabble was finally inducted into the American National Toy Hall of Fame, joining other great toys and games such as Monopoly, Etch A Sketch, Lego and The Game Boy.