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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #89: Scrabble

For lovers of words, Scrabble is most likely the largest star in the galaxy. Invented in 1938, it is one of those tentpole iconic board games, such as Monopoly, that appear in every closet in every house in America as well as in college coffeehouses and nursing home parlors. It is such a ubiquitous commodity that there's no need to detail gameplay here - draw your tiles, play your words, score your points, repeat. I've played this game a million times. It was on heavy repeat in our house growing up, and there's a better than even chance that my parents are playing it as I write this, or as you read it.


I don't have a singular memory or story about any of the games over the years. Lots of alphabetical donnybrooks with my folks, arguments over spelling or consultations of the dictionary or whining by the losing player about how "this is a terrible board!" I recall trying to play a French version in high school, or our own no-rules version with friends where acronyms, proper nouns, anything really, were acceptable plays. But nothing beats the elegant simplicity of Scrabble. It's so perfectly balanced that the rules have only been edited three times (1953, 1976, and 1999 if you're curious), and then only for clarity. When it comes to board games, Scrabble is the equivalent of using all your letters on a triple word score. With a Q in there somewhere.

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