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Scrabble To Allow Proper Nouns 377

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.
Hogwash McFly writes "The rules of the popular word game Scrabble are soon to allow proper nouns. Mattel, the maker of the game, hopes the changes made for a new edition, released this July, will 'add a new dimension' to Scrabble and 'introduce an element of popular culture into the game.' With this rule change, the company hopes to target younger fans and families, although they will continue to sell the traditional version where 'Beyonce' and 'Facebook' are not permitted words." Nobody is listening to my suggestion to penalize by one tile any player who has memorized every two-letter English word.
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Scrabble To Allow Proper Nouns

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  • Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom (715771) <[ten.00mrebu] [ta] [todhsals]> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:29AM (#31747840) Homepage Journal

    Wouldn't this mean you could claim that any name that has been given to anyone is a valid word?

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eln (21727) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:31AM (#31747878) Homepage
      That was my thought as well. With all the weird names and alternate spellings people give their kids these days, pretty much any random combination of letters could be successfully argued as being a valid word. Personally, I think I'll stick with the old rules.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:39AM (#31748010)

        Yeah, there's appealing to the masses and then there's making it so your product no longer makes any sense. They've obvious chosen the Michael Bay approach.

      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

        by sortius_nod (1080919) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:50AM (#31748154) Homepage

        I'm going to start using qwyjibo as often as I can...

      • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Funny)

        by somersault (912633) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @11:11AM (#31748402) Homepage Journal

        Crap - no vowels again! Oh well.. I name this table fhzbgyn. That's a 7 letter word, across two triple word scores! Sweet :D

      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Belial6 (794905) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @12:09PM (#31749300)
        It's worse than that. They don't even have to rationalize that it is the name of a person. They can just make up a short story right there on the spot, and name it with whatever random sting of characters they have, and they have now created a perfectly valid proper noun that is completely within the spirit of the new rules.

        E.G.

        Zxggrta: The story of a boy playing Scrabble

        There once was a boy playing scrabble. He didn't have any real words in his tiles, so he decided to write a short story called "Zxggrta". Since he wrote the story, "Zxggrta" is now a valid word in Scrabble.

        The End
      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

        by QRDeNameland (873957) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @01:22PM (#31750438)

        Some decades after a maternity ward Scrabble game:

        "Sir, could please give your full name for the court?"

        "Qfuhbix Triplewordscore Inyourface Jones"

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rei (128717)

        Are they in the dictionary?
        No?
        Then they don't count, as always.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WarlockSquire (212901)

      just partner with apple, and create an app that tells you whether a word is valid.
      why leave it to question when there's money to be made providing the answer?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tomhudson (43916)
      In the article, they admit that there are no "hard and fast rules". Gee, talk about dumbing down the game - Scrabble to cater to semi-literates [slushdot.com]. Like they even know what a proper noun is ...
    • by Hatta (162192)

      Yes. This will never fly. I will not play Scrabble with such rules.

      And if you're too lazy to memorize the 2 letter words, that's just your disadvantage.

      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @11:12AM (#31748410) Journal
        The rules that I always used (from a version of the game that's a decade or so older than me) state no foreign words either, which eliminates a number of the words in the official word list. We play with a real dictionary, and if the word isn't in that or is but is marked as a proper noun, then you can't use it. The official word list has contained words that the rules say shouldn't be allowed for a long time.
    • ..can be a proper noun without breaking any traditional English language grammar constraints in regard what can be classified as a proper noun. Well that's the way I see it.

  • mhm. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:29AM (#31747850) Homepage

    Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, triple word score. Suck it.

    • I can taste the curry!

    • Bah, I'm sure that my name will beat you: Zhiwoumxy Quujosva. Placed all my 7 letters, +70. Placed Z and X on triple letter squares, +60. Completed 2 other words with them, +60. And so on...
    • by Thelasko (1196535)

      Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, triple word score. Suck it.

      Only a quijibo would use a Simpsons reference in a game of Scrabble.

  • Leave Scrabble as it is right now! The fun of this game is that it is hard to make words. Please, do not make it easier to play it...

    I just hope that tournaments will still implement plain old rules!
    • Hasbro and Mattel (Score:5, Informative)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples@gmaiBLUEl.com minus berry> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:36AM (#31747966) Homepage Journal
      For one thing, the article is about the Mattel version. Hasbro sells Scrabble crossword game in the United States and Canada, while arch-rival Mattel controls it everywhere else, so North Americans need not worry. For another, the article states that Mattel is making the proper name rule optional: "It will continue to sell a board with the original rules."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Has it come across anyone people that they could have been playing by these rules all along?

        I don't see why this affects anything at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bickerdyke (670000)

        "Keep selling a board with the original rules" is not exactly the definition of an optional rule. It's rather taking advantage of the people who never realized that ALL rules are more or less optional.

        It shouldn't take the players more than 3 minutes to decide if proper nouns are allowed or not. Sure as hell they shouldn't have to buy a different board for that!

        if we're lucky, we might get theleaflet with the "classic" rules as an "expansion set" for half the price of a complete game....

        OTOH:
        Hasn't everyone

      • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @11:37AM (#31748812)

        OH MY GOD!

        Do you seriously mean to say that Americans are going to be the ones that don't have the dumbed-down version of Scrabble???

  • Acronyms (Score:5, Funny)

    by LordHatrus (763508) <slashdot AT clockfort DOT com> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:31AM (#31747866) Homepage
    I'm waiting till they start to allow acronyms, so that we geeks can win with our multitude of TLAs.
  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:32AM (#31747884)
    So now it's scrabble for idiots. Maybe next we can have Jeopardy change to multiple choice.
    • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dummondwhu (225225) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:41AM (#31748034)
      Not only that, but if people really want to use proper nouns, then what's to stop them currently? Because it's not written on the rules paper? Scrabble is about vocabulary, not about knowledge of popular culture.

      Most surprising to me is that I even care, but the more I think about it, the more I do. Come on, Mattel!
      • Most people who want to use proper nouns already do. However, do you notice how suddenly everyone is talking about Scrabble (TM). Could it be they're just trying to stir up controversy to increase their head-space and sell more boxes of Old Faithful (TM) before New and Inferior (TM) becomes the norm?

        I don't think they really care that people see it as a case of watering down an intellectual challenge into a pop-cultural pissing match. All news is good news and they're only in it for the money.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by biryokumaru (822262)

          Could it be they're just trying to stir up controversy to increase their head-space and sell more boxes of Old Faithful (TM) before New and Inferior (TM) becomes the norm?

          Ah, yes. The rarely seen New Coke [snopes.com] fallacy.

    • Maybe next we can have Jeopardy change to multiple choice.

      I believe it was called "Who Want to Be a Millionaire?"

  • by m93 (684512)
    ....one of the chief things that is causing our country to fail. As an avid boardgamer, I am offended and disgusted.
    • by hoggoth (414195) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:52AM (#31748170) Journal

      In related news, Parker Bros is releasing a new edition of RISK that uses a single coin instead of 5 dice. Heads you win, tails you lose.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by TheCycoONE (913189)

        When there are 2 defenders there's a possibility both players lose one so you'd need a 3 sided die

        But...
        3 attackers - 2 defenders (37.2% both, 33.6% one)
        3 attackers - 1 defender (66.0%)
        2 attackers - 2 defenders (22.8% both, 32.4% one)
        2 attackers - 1 defender (57.9%)
        1 attacker - 1 defender (41.7%)

        are all different odds... so really you need two weighted three sided die, and three weighted coins (which incidentally brings us back up to 5 items, but at least no one needs to figure out which die have the most d

        • by hoggoth (414195) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @11:25AM (#31748616) Journal

          Comedian: "I just flew in from Chicago... and boy are my arms tired! hahaha"
          TheCycoONE: "Given the average mass of a resident of Chicago, and comparing it to the minuscule amount of lift that could be generated from human arms, even with vigorous flapping motions, we can extrapolate the following formulas to show the improbability of this occurrence..."

  • One of my MIT classmates said his technique to becoming world scrabble champ was to create alphabetized letter lists out of allowed words and memorize them. I dont know whether to believe him.
    • by aicrules (819392)
      He really just uses scrabulizer.com
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by famebait (450028)
      Should have memorized definitions in stead. Especially of the word "game".
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LordLimecat (1103839)
      A good house rule we use is you must be able to define and/or use the word in a sentence. If we then look the questionable word up, even if it is in the dictionary, it may be denied if your definition was way off.
  • .... IMproper nouns.
  • by JonStewartMill (1463117) <idowindows@nOsPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:33AM (#31747910)
    "Mattel, the makers of the game, hope the changes made for a new edition, released this July, will "add a new dimension" to Scrabble and "dumb the game down so it can be enjoyed by a generation of near-illiterates". "
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:34AM (#31747922)

    But... a facebook is a directory of faces and names for cramming before a social event.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/facebook

    And Facebook was named after facebook.

  • by linzeal (197905) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:35AM (#31747942) Homepage Journal
    I am eagerly awaiting the matchups between people that listen to celebrity gossip and kids who play video games. Literature professors and Philosophy of Science majors should be fun too. Seriously, there are so many different fields with famous figures, creative works with dozens of 100's of characters and even worse think of Pokemon. I am not fucking accepting a Pokemon character as a valid word, no way.
    • I am not fucking accepting a Pokemon character as a valid word, no way.

      Yeah, but "qat" is perfectly fine.

  • So let me get this straight - if I memorize all the 2-letter words, then I can get my 50 point "bingo" bonus on a six tile play instead of seven? Sign me up for that!

    (I do agree that it's a bit of a problem when people study the game to the point that they learn useless vocabulary just for the sake of laying down five or six two-letter words in a single play... Though I think this sort of problem is unavoidable. Whatever the conditions of the game, people will find ways to exploit them. Mario Kart penal

    • I think a better solution to the two-letter problem might be to just print all the two-letter words on a handy reference card and give copies to all players.)

      As is done on Scrabble's online site! Who'd a thunk!

      I am not an avid Scrabbler in that I don't go to tournaments or anything like that, but I do pull it out every other weekend to play with either the girlfriend or room mates. Sometimes we don't limit ourselves to the dictionary, in fact, last November we had a "Computer Science Terms" Scrabble, where you would get double the points if you listed a popular Computer entity (Java, or Linux), regular points for computer based acronyms, (HTML), but you had to b

    • by Jerf (17166)

      We play with a House Rule whereby all players are simply given the list of two-letter words. We have no intention of ever competing in a tournament, and this is nearly equivalent to memorizing them.

      It actually moves things along. There's enough valid two-letter words that it makes legal moves where there didn't used to be, and now we far more rarely have the problem where the entire board is basically consumed, everybody still has tiles, and there's "nowhere" left to play. Now the play board ends up more co

  • Well like the topic says, did we really need a patch for Scrabble?

    I mean it's not like there is something built into the game that prevents people from using house rules , nor is there (far as I am aware) any professional Scrabble scene so it is not like there is any great need for an official revision of the Scrabble rules.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jer (18391)

      nor is there (far as I am aware) any professional Scrabble scene so it is not like there is any great need for an official revision of the Scrabble rules.

      Don't know what you mean by "professional Scrabble scene" but there are a good number of Scrabble tournaments around the world. I doubt the folks in the Scrabble tournaments play Scrabble as their only job, but there are cash prizes.

      I don't know what the tournaments will do with this rule. My guess is that they will ditch it - it would be too hard to adjudicate in a tournament setting, I'd think.

  • Nobody is listening to my suggestion penalize any player who has memorized every 2 letter english word by 1 tile.

    Yep, though you mean "every 2 letter word in the Scrabble Dictionary."

    It's basically cheating. If you are a talented scrabble player, you should be better able to use the tiles you have, not memorize crutches.

    • If you are a talented scrabble player, you should be better able to use the tiles you have, not memorize crutches.

      Right! And this is why any English-speaking Scrabble player should be penaltized! Memorizing the English language is basically cheating at Scrabble.

      Wait, what?

    • It's basically cheating.

      Scrub [sirlin.net].

      If you are a talented scrabble player, you should be better able to use the tiles you have

      And you are better able to use the tiles you have if you know which combinations of those tiles are a legal play.

    • Scrabble is not a language game. It's not about being well-read and knowing the definition of many words. It's about memorizing a list of acceptable patterns and applying those patterns to score points while denying points to your opponent.

      Allowing proper nouns actually makes the game harder since it produces a much longer list to memorize and much more difficulty in preventing your opponent from scoring. So this optional rules change pleases the newbies ("Wow, that's so much easier!") and challenges the no

  • Would a 1-tile penalty really be that much of a disadvantage to someone who’s trying to make 2-letter words?

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:40AM (#31748016) Homepage Journal

    Now considered part of online and texting culture, Mattel has decided to allow "words" such as LOL, OMG, and BFF.
    To play this enhanced game, Mattel hopes to sell new copies of the game worldwide. Also slated for late 2010 is a version with exclamation points and other punctuation.
    A Mattel representative presenting the new variants on the classic brand, "We have not decided if you earn points or lose points for excessive punctuation. LOL!!11!"

    • A Mattel representative presenting the new variants on the classic brand, "We have not decided if you earn points or lose points for excessive punctuation. LOL!!11!"

      Actually, there will be two generally-opposing scoring categories: “coolness” and “utility”. Now, players can choose how they want to be a winner according to their personal style and preference!

      Although long words using uncommon letters are considered “uncool”, they have greater “utility”; whereas “LOL!!11!” has a negative “utility” score but would be scored very highly for “coolness”.

      Coming to stores soon...

  • The french version of scrabble has a value of 10 for the W and Y letters, because they are in very few words. If only I was allowed tu use english words....

    (And german words. The german language is full of letters never found in any other language).

    • Yes, an UTF-8 version would be nice!
      I once made a "The Hague" version for a friend of mine, with all kinds of accents that beautify the The Hague dialect. Off course, I also invented some new rules, such as "Wat je leg mot je je bek ùit kunne krège" (You must be able to pronounce what you lay down) and off course all illnesses gave extra points.
    • And german words.

      Yeah but you'd need an extra 5-gallon bucket full of tiles if you're gonna allow people to use German words.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by corbettw (214229)

      The french version of scrabble has a value of 10 for the W and Y letters, because they are in very few words. If only I was allowed tu use english words....

      Why? How would any English words help you?

  • I wonder how long before lolspeak will be accepted. I know my daughter would love to put 'kthxbai' as a real word.
  • FTW (Score:5, Funny)

    by crispi (131688) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:45AM (#31748088)

    1) Change your name via Deed-Poll to the letters left in your rack.
    2) Place letters on board
    3) ???
    4) Profit!

  • They're selling two different versions of the game? Is the new version the same as the old, with the word "not" whited out in one section of the rulebook?

    This should sell well among those people who believe that the rulebooks that come with games are legally enforceable. I've been playing Uno with homespun rules for years, so I guess I'm the type of guy who likes to live on the edge.

  • by kenp2002 (545495)

    Score 1 for the Idiocracy. Doesn't that undermind the whole fundamental of Scrabble in spelling (yes as in spelling) words correctly and scoring points for doing so?

  • The reason this rule was there in the first place was to prevent two things:
      1) "No really! aQrzzxxq! My best friend when I was six!"
      2) "No really! aQrzzxxq! I've got the birth certificate right here, and I'll show it to you as soon as I get back from the hospital!"

    • by radja (58949)

      3) No really, aQrzzxxq is brand of peanut butter in Upper Mongolia.

      silly? yes, but brand names are allowed, and these need not be english brand names. It could be an Upper Mongolian brand, a dutch name or a tunesian company.

  • by a whoabot (706122) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:59AM (#31748290)
  • If you want to play and allow proper nouns, then you don't need an official 'rule change' to do so. You just say to your fellow players "Hey, chaps, shall we allow proper nouns, then?"

    And if the new 'offical rules' say that proper nouns are allowed, then you don't have to go along with it. You say to your fellow players "Hey, chaps, let's play Old School Scrabble: no proper nouns!"

    Surely people do this all the time, where you have your own House Rules?

  • = 4 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 1
    = 15 x 3 (triple word score applied once)
    = 45 + 35 point bonus
    = 80

  • House Rules (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baby Duck (176251) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @11:13AM (#31748426) Homepage
    Always play with House Rules
    1. 1. No foreign units. Especially not foreign currencies.
    2. 2. No "spellings" of "letters". Example: Why is "en" in the Scrabble Dictionary as a "spelling" of the pronounciation of the letter "n" ??!?
    3. 3. Despite #2, spellings of Greek letters are allowed (example: "alpha") since they are used in so many disciplines
    4. 4. No abbreviations! No to "amp", "ref", "ex", etc. Or while we are at it, "etc" itself.
    5. 5. No Old English or Middle English words or spelling variants
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why is "en" in the Scrabble Dictionary as a "spelling" of the pronounciation of the letter "n"

      En and em are both printers' units of measure. That's why they are in the dictionary.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by keytoe (91531)

      No "spellings" of "letters". Example: Why is "en" in the Scrabble Dictionary as a "spelling" of the pronounciation of the letter "n" ??!?

      For the record, 'em' and 'en' are typography terms. Granted, they are derived from the 'spelling' of letters, but they're honest-to-god words at this point.

  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @11:29AM (#31748680) Homepage Journal

    Wow, big deal. All they need to do to "change the rules" is to print a slightly different paper to slip inside the box. WTF would they need to "make" two separate editions? Hardly anyone seriously plays 100% by the official rules anyway so it seems a load of bullshit. You could just agree with your partner to follow this rule without buying a new set. This is just PR bullshit.

  • by pclminion (145572) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:05PM (#31752240)
    They'll continue selling the traditional version. Uh, what are they saying here? That you need to own two copies of the game if you want to play by two different sets of rules? Have we lost our minds today?
  • by Bemopolis (698691) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:35PM (#31752676)
    If you're over at my house, and we're playing Scrabble, and you try to fucking play "YouTube", I'm going to punch you straight in the cock.
    And I'm going to film it.
    And I'm going to upload the clip to YouTube.

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