7 Best Scrabble Boards | March 2017
- excellent built-in storage space
- embroidered fabric pouch
- includes a sand timer
- trays have convenient covers
- fits in a backpack or carry-on
- everything stores away neatly
- includes 4 adorable character tokens
- colorful pictures
- helps develop spelling skills
- raised grid with gold foil stamping
- plated die-cast tile racks
- integrated storage drawer
How Do I Choose The Correct Scrabble Board For ME?
The first question you need to ask yourself before purchasing a Scrabble board is, "Where do I usually play Scrabble?" If you play Scrabble at home, then a raised board that rotates may be ideal for you. If, on the other hand, you play Scrabble in the back of a vehicle, or on a boat, then you'll want a sturdy board or a handheld travel edition. Most travel editions of Scrabble enable the letters to lock into place, but these editions are also scaled down to less than half of regulation size, which is 15X15".
If you're a strict grammarian who wants a board with prestige, then your best bet might be a polished-wood set with inset drawers and golden trim along the veneers. You'll probably also want a set that's been designed with framed tiles. Framed tiles are what causes the letters to "click" into place. These tiles provide an added feel of authenticity, and they also keep the letters from drifting out of their space.
A lot of mid-level Scrabble sets come with an aluminum finish, and a clear plastic shield - including tiles - that covers the board. Plastic shields are effective, although they occasionally need to be cleaned. In addition, you'll want to place some padding over the top of any plastic-covered board whenever returning it into its box.
Assuming you have kids, there are several starter Scrabble sets to choose from. Most of these starter sets are geared toward teaching children how to spell, or use specific letter combinations. The standard set comes with a variety of activities, so that every time your child masters one concept, he or she can simply move onto another.
Several Little-Known Variations on Scrabble
Scrabble, much like Chess, is a game that lends itself to experimentation. Certain enthusiasts will challenge one another by playing Scrabble with a timer (and a time limit), for example, while others might split into teams, working in tandem and combining total points.
There are versions of Flash Scrabble wherein several players attack the board all at once. Flash Scrabble usually kicks off with a five-letter word (or just five random letters) being laid out across the center of the board, thereby providing each player with a central root to work off of. The game ends as soon as all the letter tiles in a bag have been exhausted.
There are also versions of Math Scrabble, wherein the letter tiles are replaced with homemade number tiles (1-10) and equation tiles (+ and x). Players compete by filling the board with criss-crossing equations. Points are based on the sums or factors of each equation. Double- and Triple-Equation scores apply.
You can break up the monotony of standard Scrabble by starting out along one of the four borders (as opposed to the center of the board). Either that or have each player start out along a separate border, building off his or her own words, and competing to see who can reach the center square first.
If you really want to spice things up, then grab a set of poker chips. You can play an entire Flash Scrabble tournament with the losers of every round paying the winner in chips based on the number of points they lost by.
A Brief History of Scrabble
Scrabble was invented by a New York architect named Alfred Mosher Butts in 1938. Butts devised a point system for his game based on the frequency of letters as they appeared in popular publications. Butts based the grid-like design of his board on a crossword puzzle. He even named his game Criss-Crosswords as a tribute. This name did not take.
For a decade, Butts attempted to sell Criss-Crosswords to no avail. In 1948, Butts sold the rights to his game to a Connecticut man named James Brunot. Brunot had been a fan of Criss-Crosswords, but he added a few updates in the hopes of attracting a bigger audience. First, Brunot added new point values and made the board look more dynamic. Second, he simplified the rules. Third, Brunot changed the name of the game from Criss-Crosswords to Scrabble, a term which means to scratch or scramble for something. Fourth, Brunot started marketing his new Scrabble board to schools.
Despite losing money, Brunot sold several thousand boards during his first few years. The popularity of his product skyrocketed in 1952, when Macy's began to order and display Scrabble sets in bulk. Faced with overwhelming demand, Brunot struck up a partnership with Selchow and Righter, a mainstream manufacturer. Working as a team, the two of them were able to fulfill more than 4 million orders by the end of 1954.
Over the past 60 years, Scrabble has become a veritable staple of American culture. The board remains basic, which only adds to the classic appeal. Despite online versions, and electronic versions, and smartphone versions, most people continue to prefer a simple game of Scrabble on a board. Scrabble has endured for the most part because it is entertaining, it is educational, and relatively easy to learn.