Whatever happened to …

the Official Scrabble Dictionary?

Actually, you can still buy it here.

But does anyone?

At the registration desk at the CSTA Conference, people would come in waves to check in. Between waves, there wasn’t much to do and so one of the volunteers pulled out her phone and played a game of Words with Friends. Bored, I watched what she was doing. She was playing and moving letters all around, trying this and that, until she finally played her move.

It’s far removed from playing Scrabble as a child. It wasn’t electronic then, of course, and you’d make your move and your opponent would accept it or challenge it. The definitive answer was in our Official Scrabble Dictionary that we kept in the cupboard on the way to the basement. Of course, there were penalties for trying to play a word that wasn’t a word or to challenge a word that actually was a word. The one thing that you couldn’t do, even if your partner got up to go to the bathroom was to use the dictionary to actually find words.

Today, with Words with Friends, the whole concept has gone away. The electronic game won’t let you play letters unless they actually do form a word. There are tools in the newest version that let you know where you can place tiles – although it doesn’t tell you the actual words. There are plenty of cheats online – it’s actually an interesting programming challenge to take 7 or more tiles and generate a list of all of the possible words that could be spelled. A sampling of the tools can be found here.

For a Sunday, how about unscrambling some of your thoughts?

  • Did you play the original Scrabble game as a child? How about now?
  • Do you play Words with Friends online?
  • Do you accept new games from random people on the internet or do you keep your opponents to a manageable personal list?
  • Do you use any of the online word finder tools?
  • Does Scrabble – the original one – still have a place in your classroom?
  • Did you ever play “Killer Scrabble” by removing the blank tiles?
  • If you could pick one letter other than Q or Z to be a 10 point letter, which one would it be?

It would be interesting to read your thoughts.

Please share them in the comments below.

5 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. We haven’t played scrabble in years but it’s not just electronic versions that are taking it to the next level.

    If you love tile based word games, two great ones that we enjoy are “Hardback” which is a deck building word game and successor (dubbed pre-quill) to “Paperback” which is also cool but takes more setup.

    Another great one is “Word Domination.”

    All available on Tim Fower’s web site: https://www.fowers.games/collections/direct-price

    Also by Fowers but not a word building game is Burgle Bros which is awesome.


  2. I love Scrabble and still play with friends and with my daughter. I also play words with friends with random internet strangers. I like being able to play around with the letters on the board online but find it frustrating sometimes when Words with Friends doesn’t recognize what I consider to be a valid word like blog, or taze. Another word board game we like is Upwords, which lets you add tiles on top of existing words. I think J is also a 10-point letter.


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