Stefan Fatsis is a continual guest top top historicsweetsballroom.com"s All points Considered and the author of Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the human being of vain Scrabble Players.

You are watching: Can you use proper nouns in scrabble

follow him ~ above Twitter

A couple of calls gave in the truth: Mattel — i beg your pardon controls the rights to Scrabble outside the joined States and Canada; Hasbro own it in phibìc America — is presenting a spinoff this summer referred to as Scrabble Trickster. The video game will include squares on i beg your pardon a player can attract a card, i m sorry will allow him to take it a tile off of an opponent"s rack or play a word backward or, yes, play a proper noun. Scrabble cheater would sign up with a long line that spinoffs consisting of Scrabble Sentence Cube Game, Scrabble Overturn, at sight Scrabble and Scrabble up (not to mention countless Scrabble new editions). Since of the game"s ownership schism, cheater won"t also be marketed in the U.S.

That the misinformation spread about the human being so quickly and also generated so lot comment demonstrates 2 things: One is that human being have, as the executive, management director that the national Scrabble Association, man D. Williams Jr., said in today"s Washington Post, a feeling of proprietary property of Scrabble, one enduring item of Americana. The various other is that words and also their usage, also in a board game, space a really touchy subject.

More troubling, it seemed to me that the media tempest was spawned by a deliberate effort by Mattel to mislead the public to generate publicity because that its brand-new game. The company surely succeeded. As with other knockoffs of standard products, many Scrabble spinoffs quietly market a couple of units prior to production is discontinued in a year or two and a brand-new spinoff shows up on shelves. It"s near difficult to market the windy on a replacement once the original is so beloved. In this case, Mattel gained millions upon millions of media "impressions" for its brand-new game. I"m sure it"s thrilled.

See more: Which Exploration Did King Ferdinand And Queen Isabella Of Spain Sponsor? ?

But the company also dangers a backlash for its behavior, one that mirrors a long-standing emotion in the Scrabble world: love the game, dislike the owners. As invented by brand-new York architect Alfred Butts in the 1930s and also "40s, Scrabble is structured for this reason exquisitely — it perfectly balances luck and skill, it"s deeply complex and challenging, it"s addictive and also competitive and ever-changing — the devotees regularly feel the game should belong to the higher world, not to a couple of impersonal international toy companies. The outcry end the alleged admission of ideal nouns shows exactly why.