Classic Board Game Dumbed Down To Be More ‘Inclusive,’ Less ‘Intimidating’ To Young People

Mattel announced the move Tuesday.
High angle view family playing scrabble at dining table with muffins
(Getty Images)

One of the world’s most popular board games is being altered to be less competitive and more “inclusive” to appeal to young people.

Scrabble’s parent company Mattel announced the move Tuesday, the first major change in 75 years.

The new version will involve “a second side to the board that is collaborative and faster-paced to make gameplay more accessible for anyone who finds word games intimidating,” Mattel said in a press release, according to CNN.

The classic word game will debut a new way to play the game called “Scrabble Together” on the flip side of the game board. The other side will have the original game.

Scrabble Together was designed to appeal to a younger generation of players who are less interested in competition. Mattel said it conducted research that showed Gen Z board gamers in Britain were less competitive than older generations.

“The game speaks to a trend in younger people who want to avoid competitive games, instead favouring teamwork and collaboration working towards a fun goal together,” said Brett Smitheram, who is the current number one Scrabble player in the UK and the 2016 World Scrabble Champion, as part of the statement.

The new version will have goal cards rather than scoring. It will also have helper cards with prompts and clues as well as an option to play on teams. It will also be a shorter game overall.

“The way we use words is constantly evolving and so is Scrabble, which is why the iconic game has created a second side to the board that is collaborative and faster-paced to make gameplay more accessible,” Mattel said.

In the new version, goal cards have different challenge levels and offer challenges like, “Play a horizontal word,” “play a three-letter word,” or “play a word that touches the edge of the board.”

The winner is the player who completes 20 challenges. The loser is the player who uses all their helper cards without completing a challenge.

Scrabble was invented in 1938 and has become one of the most popular board games in the world over the better part of a century.

“Scrabble has truly stood the test of time as one of the most popular board games in history, and we want to ensure the game continues to be inclusive for all players,” Ray Adler, vice president and global head of games for Mattel told the New York Post.

“For anyone who’s ever thought ‘word games aren’t for me’, or felt a little intimidated by the classic game, Scrabble Together mode is an ideal option,” Adler said. “Scrabble Together Mode continues to celebrate the wonder of words just as the Classic version does, but thanks to its exciting new co-operative and dynamic gameplay, it’s more accessible and brings people together.”

The new version of the game will be available in Europe but not in the U.S. since Mattel does not hold the license there.

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