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Scrabble Rules Change Permits Proper Nouns, Horrifies Purists [Update 3: Old Rules Preserved]

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Word from the Scrabble makers at Mattel is that proper nouns will be fair game for Scrabble players as of this summer. [UPDATE: Not so fast concerning this "rule change."]

The BBC reported the change of rules for the 72-year-old game with the following explanation from a spokesperson for Scrabble co-rights-holder Mattel:

A spokeswoman for the company said the use of proper nouns would "add a new dimension" to Scrabble and "introduce an element of popular culture into the game".

She said: "This is one of a number of twists and challenges included that we believe existing fans will enjoy and will also enable younger fans and families to get involved."

However, Mattel said it would not be doing away with the old rules altogether.

It will continue to sell a board with the original rules.

A new version of Scrabble will be released in July.

Kotaku has reached out to Mattel for further comment on the rules change as well as to EA, maker of Scrabble games for the iPhone, to find out how the changed rules will affect the company's current and future Scrabble products.


[UPDATE 2: The "new rules" for Scrabble have been clarified in subsequent reports as a new release of Scrabble called "Scrabble Trickster," slated for release by Mattel in the U.K. "Players will be able to boost scores with trick cards allowing them to spell words backwards, steal points, use proper nouns and break all the usual news," according to a listing for the game in ToyNews.

The Canadian Press reports that the new rules offered in the new Trickster spin-off will not be released in North America, where Mattel rival Hasbro controls the Scrabble license. A spokesperson for EA, which releases video game versions of Scrabble in the U.S. was unaware of any Trickster release for the U.S. Hasbro and Mattel have not responded to requests for comment.]


UPDATE 3: Mattel and Hasbro have confirmed to Kotaku that pronoun-permitting Scrabble Trickster won't be coming to North America. Hasbro has indicated to us that the rules for Scrabble will not change in North America]

The Daily Mail already reports that some fans are angry, including the one who said: "They're dumbing down a classic."


For those of you upset about the rules, bear in mind that the following words are already allowed under the current rules: Xi, Xu, Ya, Ye and, of course, Yo.

And, for the record, KOTAKU will earn you 14 points if you play it normally under the new rules, we think. 5 points for each K, one point for each of the other letters.


Proper nouns come into play in Scrabble rule change [BBC via Mitch Krpata's Twitter]