Scrabble: Squaring-off Family Game Night

Scrabble – the classic word game for two to four players – combines two concepts in a unique way. It’s both jigsaw puzzle and board game – an innovation that was perhaps a barrier to success in the game’s early days. Modern audiences, though, have embraced the game through its various evolving forms.

Vital Stats

First created as Criss-Crosswords in 1938 by American, Alfred Mosher Butts.

After Criss-Cross failed to catch-on, Butts sold the rights to James Brunot in 1948, and he renamed the game Scrabble.

Urban Legend

Urban legend has it that Macy’s president, Jack Straus, became enamoured with the game while on vacation in 1952 and placed a large order for Macy’s, launching the game’s popularity.

Hot Commodity

Game manufacturer, Selchow and Righter, bought Scrabble from Brunot in 1952 who was unable to keep up with demand. Selchow and Righter was purchased by Coleco in 1982, but then declared bankruptcy a few years later, at which time Hasbro acquired Scrabble. Hasbro owns the rights to Scrabble in the United States and Canada, while competitor Mattel owns the trademark in the rest of the world.

Balancing the Rack

Major rule changes to Scrabble have been made only four times throughout the game’s history, in 1953, 1976, 1989, and 1999.


Thousands of international Scrabble clubs and tournaments enable players to take their play to the next level.

U.S. residents, Marty Gabriel and Scott Garner, hold the Guinness World Record for the highest Scrabble score in 24 hours between two players – 216,000 points. Beat that!


Scrabble has evolved to capture the imagination of a wider audience. Today’s players can enjoy Scrabble on their PCs, mobile devices, as a card game, and in a number of board-game variants.

The game is now available in 121 countries and 29 languages.

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