Dictionary.com

Are Scrabble tile values in need of an overhaul?

scrabble

Invented by out-of-work architect Alfred Butts during the Great Depression, Scrabble is a staple of word lovers’ lives. The popularity of this beloved game took off in the mid-1950s and has been an essential part of the canon of classic board games ever since.

To determine Scrabble’s tile values, Alfred Butts carefully analyzed letter frequency in various periodicals, including the front page of the New York Times. Butts’ original design aimed to create a game that would balance skill with luck, which he believed to be an important aspect of the games he loved.

But does Butts’ original analysis stand up to rigorous computational analysis? Two researchers recently developed programs to process and analyze far more data and variables than were considered by Butts 75 years ago. Director of Research at Google Peter Norvig came up with a model for letter-frequency counts based on the Google Books English-language corpora. (See Norvig’s research.) More directly related to Scrabble, Joshua Lewis (a post-doc at the University of California, San Diego’s Cognitive Science Department) proposed new tile values considering three variables: the frequency of letters in English, the frequency of letters by word length (the most valuable word lengths in Scrabble being two-, three-, seven-, and eight-letter words), and the ease with which one can play a letter (the blank tile and S are far easier to play than Q). Using a program he created called Valett that accounts for these concerns, Lewis proposes 14 tile-value changes. These include X changing from eight to five points, Z changing from 10 to six points, and J changing from eight to six points. (See Lewis’ full findings.)

This sort of research is nothing new; John Chew, co-president of the North American Scrabble Player’s Association, says he gets at least one proposal for altering tile values every year. In a blog post in response to the rethinking of Scrabble tile values, Chew calls Lewis’ system a “catastrophic outrage” explaining that “[y]ou’d end up with a game that was…closer to just rolling a die to determine the winner.” Lewis maintains that “Valett is an attempt to keep the intentional luck in the game,” such as the blank tiles, “and remove the unintentional luck that has crept in over time as the use of English has changed.”

Scrabble’s manufacturers will not let their original tile values crumble under the pressure of this new research. Stefan Fatsis, competitive Scrabble player and author of Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players, told NPR in a recent interview that he supports the decision to not change the tile values, stating that these changes would “flatten out the values,” reducing “the element of luck” and making the game “more boring.”

What do you think? Should Scrabble tiles retain their original value? Or are the tile values in need of an overhaul in order to reflect the changes in English since Alfred Butts first calculated letter frequency in the 1930s?

144 Comments

    • ssundee -  November 18, 2014 - 8:30 am

      Shout out yo #ssundee yo

      Reply
  1. jacqueline -  April 22, 2014 - 2:19 pm

    i cant play scrabble wiht my grandson anymore since he learned cuss words

    Reply
    • a concerned citizen -  May 29, 2014 - 4:44 pm

      i dont like change, i love scrabble, and my life is more depressing every day i’m alive, so as you can imagine i have a lot to say about this article. in my opinion mr. butts was the kind of one in a millennium genius whose work on scrabble should be appreciated as art, not as a “board game”. would you turn the mona lisa into a mirror selfie just to “update” for “the times?” would you rewrite the inimitable works of Shakespeare in t3xt SPEEK LOL to “reflect changing use of language?” is computer unaided creativity not enough for you, would you have us 3d print the pietà and throw the old one away??

      this country is headed to h*** in a h*********. when i was growing up anyone who suggested changing scrabble would have been burned at the stake, now we give them an article in the very dictionary upon which the foundations of scrabble were painstakingly laid? i am ashamed to be an american today

      Reply
      • Adam A. -  September 12, 2014 - 4:19 pm

        If you read Joshua Lewis’ article his changes make sense; we have more words now than we did back then. I am a fan of tradition and keeping things the same, while I agree that these changes could be made, I do not feel they should be made. Or, a secondary updated or modern game could be made with the correct value per tile. From Lewis’ article:

        “What has changed in the intervening years is the set of acceptable words, the corpus, for competitive play. As an enthusiastic amateur player I’ve annoyed several relatives with words like QI and ZA, and I think the annoyance is justified: the values for Scrabble tiles were set when such words weren’t acceptable, and they make challenging letters much easier to play.” J. Lewis, 12, 2012

        Reply
      • Christina -  October 20, 2014 - 7:27 am

        Hear, hear!! Why does everything have to be sanitized, politically correct, and dumbed down for the lowest common denominator in society? I suspect that many, if not most, of the folks who think Scrabble should be “updated” don’t even play the game. Why don’t these smartphone-using, video game-playing losers living in their mothers’ basements just stick to their sanitary little cyber world and leave those of us who prefer to play our real, physical games with other human being face to face in peace!

        Reply
      • Oni -  November 11, 2014 - 8:09 am

        Is “handbag” a bad word? Did you perhaps mean something else?

        Reply
  2. cody -  March 11, 2014 - 3:12 pm

    if you think my comment sucks, why did you bother reading it?

    Reply
  3. Shell Cordill -  February 16, 2014 - 7:39 am

    In regards to Allison’s comment, Scrabble won’t last forever”… 75 years and running… ? I have been playing Scrabble for 36 years. It’s a family tradition during gatherings of any celebration. I continue to play everyday with my ex sis-in-law via Wordfeud app. Cody’s comment stating Scrabble sucks, why did you bother reading this article… Change the tiles or keep them as they are, I will continue to play. Enjoyed this article!

    Reply
  4. Owen -  February 9, 2014 - 12:53 pm

    No i believe the values should stay the same,as the game will lose its umph and classicl-ness, if i may use the words!

    Reply
    • it's really not a word -  May 29, 2014 - 7:03 pm

      i dont think clasical-ness is a word bro

      Reply
      • wow it's embarrassing to make a typo of a misspelled word -  May 29, 2014 - 7:03 pm

        *classicl-ness

        Reply
  5. Cody -  January 14, 2014 - 3:35 pm

    Whatever, Scrabble sucks.

    Reply
  6. additional reading -  April 16, 2013 - 8:50 pm

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the
    hang of it!

    Reply
  7. kristine -  March 4, 2013 - 8:31 pm

    The key to a successful Scrabble game is utilizing well-placed 2-letter words to attach a full word to another full word…maximizing points.

    Reply
  8. MeJustMe -  March 4, 2013 - 6:37 pm

    i don’t think they should change everything. It would be really annoying to lots of people and to me the old values seem fine. I agree with an earlier comment about making a “challange” edition with the new values. With the new up to date values the luck factor goes down making the game really boring.

    Reply
  9. The Immaturity Queen -  February 26, 2013 - 7:16 pm

    Am i the only one who thinks a last name of Butts is funny?

    Reply
    • Oni -  November 11, 2014 - 8:14 am

      The funniest thing I’ve heard all day.

      Reply
  10. noel -  February 23, 2013 - 12:28 pm

    ok is a common everyday word yet it is not a scrabble word.

    Reply
  11. noel -  February 23, 2013 - 12:23 pm

    O k is another word used for okay.Hence I think ( ok should be ascrabble word)

    Reply
    • mike daws -  November 11, 2014 - 2:57 pm

      O.K. stands for ‘Ol Korrect, which was in standard use hundred or so years back. O.K. is actually an acronym. That would explain its absence in the English dictionary.

      Reply
  12. Dusty Sayers -  February 18, 2013 - 5:17 am

    I totally agree with the critic of the current official Scrabble dictionary: if we take out what we call ‘Scrabble Words’ at our house (namely, words no one really uses that aren’t really even English in many cases, but that let you use the X and Q and Z too easily like XI and QI and ZA) it would correct the main problem with the supposedly excessive value of those letters. Then the actual game can be left alone!

    Reply
  13. Alison -  February 16, 2013 - 7:07 pm

    Gosh – I found something else to add to my argument. I just read something like “language hasn’t changed THAT much”. Yes, it has. Or else you haven’t. Changing Scrabble letter scores will (okay, in no huge way, but in a small yet effective way) induce the younger generation (like me!) to play this game. Although many of you have written it is “classic” game, it won’t last forever. This issue has brought up a chance to keep it alive that much longer.

    Reply
  14. Alison -  February 16, 2013 - 7:04 pm

    Wow – so much enthusiasm. Or would stubbornness be more correct? I didn’t have much opinion on this “issue” until I read a few of the comments. When this game was first made, 75 years ago, different words were more common, more in use and the scores suited that. Guess what – time changes and language does with it. I do English Language at school (that’s why i was reading this article in the first place) and I have come to realise that English is an extremely versatile, flexible and sponge-like way of speaking. So…. yeah, Scrabble should be able to change the tile scores if they want: it would be like the game made all over again completely in mode.

    Reply
  15. Zi -  February 12, 2013 - 11:24 pm

    Just leave the game how it is…its a wonderful game

    Reply
  16. Sam -  February 11, 2013 - 9:57 pm

    Invent your own word game and leave the Scrabble the way it is .

    Reply
  17. Mark -  February 11, 2013 - 9:01 pm

    In my opinion it wouldn’t change the game as it’s played whatsoever. By increasing or decreasing value on some or all tiles the opponents score would also reflect those changes, if you lose, you still lose and so on.

    Reply
  18. Confused -  February 11, 2013 - 6:51 pm

    Thanks to everyone who answered my question! : )

    Reply
  19. Tom -  February 11, 2013 - 5:38 pm

    I play Scrabble all the time. There is nothing more frustrating then playing a whole bunch of really awesome 5 and 6 point words, and getting utterly beat by someone who plays nothing but qi, za, jo, and xi on all the triple letter spots.

    I don’t consider Scrabble a “luck” game, though, and am in favor of anything that rewards good words and removes cheesy playing.

    Reply
  20. Hard-Scrabble Hillie -  February 11, 2013 - 5:20 pm

    I think we should check and see if Lewis is on Hasbro’s payroll. What a boon to the game maker to change tile values and oblige all die-hard scrabblers to buy new games. Nothing like built in obsolescence to pump revenue.

    Reply
  21. ginga bradshaw -  February 11, 2013 - 4:10 pm

    Keep it the same. Vintage is always cool. Diehard players have strategies that work.

    Reply
  22. Abigail -  February 11, 2013 - 3:52 pm

    I don’t think it should change. Scrabble IS a classic board game, as others have said. ‘X’ is still not frequently used, so… why should the value be changed to 5? Same deal with ‘Z’. Why change the value to 6 when mainly proper nouns, which are ineligible for game use, are the ‘Z’ words? Times have changed, but language has not changed THAT much.

    Reply
  23. Greger -  February 11, 2013 - 3:43 pm

    I’d never want Scrabble to get changed no matter What!!!!!!!!!!!
    Also because Scrabble a great game why would they what to change it.

    That’s why I wouldn’t want people to convince the owners to change Scrabble

    Reply
  24. Greger -  February 11, 2013 - 3:39 pm

    I’d never want Scrabble to get changed no matter What!!!!!!!!!!!
    Also because Scrabble a great game why would they what to change it.

    Reply
  25. Greger -  February 11, 2013 - 3:36 pm

    I’d never want Scrabble to get changed no matter What!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  26. Seth -  February 11, 2013 - 3:06 pm

    ALFRED Butts invented Scrabble. NOT, Albert Butts.

    Your articles mentions the correct name one time, and gets it wrong every other time.

    Come on! This is a website dedicated to words and CORRECT information. Fact check folks, fact check!

    Reply
    • Oni -  November 11, 2014 - 8:53 am

      Looks like they corrected it but only after you mentioned it.

      Reply
  27. Sarah -  February 11, 2013 - 2:04 pm

    If you don’t like the point values in scrabble, make your own game, don’t change something that somebody else designed.

    Reply
  28. jenish -  February 11, 2013 - 1:39 pm

    can you find any three letter word thas is has a meaning in this word search.

    Q X E R T Y U I B P
    A S D F G H J OH
    Z X C V B N J

    Reply
  29. tina -  February 11, 2013 - 12:39 pm

    Leave it ….why change something which has worked for years and gives lots of people a lot of pleasure.

    Reply
  30. Jeannine -  February 11, 2013 - 10:52 am

    It really won’t matter. SCRABBLE-lovers will adapt their strategy. There are plenty of knock-off games out there with different point values already.

    Maybe SCRABBLE should offer SCRABBLE Classic and New SCRABBLE . The original older games might just become a collectors edition. People could choose which game to play online or off line.

    Reply
  31. IheartCP -  February 11, 2013 - 8:40 am

    I think “K” should be more points.

    Reply
  32. doglover45 -  February 11, 2013 - 8:00 am

    The game is a classic… you cannot change the letter value. They are that way for a reason–to make the game more challenging and to add a bit of luck. Without that the game would not be as exciting!

    Reply
  33. ScrabbleNut -  February 11, 2013 - 7:45 am

    PLEASE leave Scrabble alone; listen to the comments of those who actually play the game, not of those who bloviate without sincere and vested interest. Lewis can make up his own game with his own rules or Scrabble can create a new version for dissidents. Playing Scrabble has been–and still is–the ONE game my family plays together regularly for over 50 years. My 80+ year-old parents play together almost every day to keep their minds sharp and engaged. On visits, their children and grandchildren enjoy playing too; they think, assimilate, learn new words and can all add points and scores the old way–with a pad and pencil! Changing the value of the tiles may not alter the essence of the game, but what’s next? Part of Scrabble’s allure is its nostalgia; it doesn’t need to be modernized or fixed. It’s a (wonderful) game.

    Reply
  34. Silly1 -  February 11, 2013 - 4:52 am

    Let the consumer decide. Make a new game with new rules and sell it along with the old. My bet (and my choice) is that NewScrabble will go the way of NewCoke.

    Reply
  35. Kate Sanderson -  February 11, 2013 - 3:42 am

    Change the tile values. Some letters are more common nowadays. It makes sense to change the letter values.

    Reply
  36. Sage Amberly -  February 11, 2013 - 3:41 am

    “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!” For goodness sake don’t change the tile values! Scrabble is a classic! If the letter values are changed, the game will be less interesting, people will keep on getting the values mixed up, and the tiles themselves will get mixed up, resulting in one big fat MESS.

    Oh, and I agree with Lauryn–I would NOT want my last name to be Butts. : )- ^_^

    Reply
  37. Kate Sanderson -  February 11, 2013 - 3:31 am

    Words have changed since Albert Butts’ time. Letters are used more often (and in some cases less often). The tile values should be changed to reflect this.

    Reply
  38. Sage Amberly -  February 11, 2013 - 3:28 am

    I agree with Ronda Callens–”If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. Scrabble is a classic! It shouldn’t be changed! People would keep on forgetting the new values, the game would be less interesting, and tiles would get mixed together, resulting in one big MESS.

    Reply
  39. wu -  February 10, 2013 - 7:34 pm

    For me, V should worth more than K, J should worth 9 points, and because of X can go with all vowels (ax, ex, xi, ox and xu) X should maybe worth only 7 points. I think the amount of E and I should cut down.

    Reply
  40. You know what? Let's @$#% up scrable. -  February 10, 2013 - 12:09 pm

    Yeah, let’s

    Reply
  41. anne -  February 10, 2013 - 12:02 pm

    Its a classic, leave it alone. Coke was changed to the new Coke, and it was a failure. It was changed back to classic Coke. don’t mess with what works

    Reply
  42. Anonymous -  February 10, 2013 - 10:19 am

    NO WAY ARE THEY GONNA EVEN THINK ABOUT CHANGING TILE VALUES IN SCRABBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  43. Damny -  February 10, 2013 - 9:57 am

    Sorry… “STOP playing “.. ( previous comment)

    Reply
  44. Damny -  February 10, 2013 - 9:47 am

    I usually win when I play the game against my girlfriend. According to this article the intent behind changing games tiles regarding removing chance would guarantee that I always win, and we would eventually playing. I am NOT going back to having The Bachelor on Monday nights as my only option for entertainment.

    Reply
  45. Marilyn -  February 10, 2013 - 8:10 am

    I have played scrabble for 40 years including 1 I bought for the computer. The game is old but very popular and successful so why change it. Get creative and make up a new game. Leave ours alone.

    Reply
  46. Rockin' Robin -  February 9, 2013 - 11:09 pm

    LEAVE IT ALONE!! Make your own alternative game if you so choose, but don’t interfere in a perfectly good game as is… Not everything needs to be ‘contemporary’.
    Then I suppose you’ll want to refashion Ludo and Checkers, & Snakes and Ladders, etc.

    Reply
  47. Mary -  February 9, 2013 - 11:43 am

    Hi, what is it with Americans wanting change everything even games now. Leave well enough alone. Especially the value system. Enjoy
    play the game and would not like the game to be change. momzig

    Reply
  48. Gil Jones -  February 9, 2013 - 11:34 am

    Rule uniformity contributes to Scrabble’s ‘accumulated’ popularity. Alterations make a different game, and consequent ‘fragmented’ popularity. That’s the problem with “squirreling,” you send it off into oblivion. Example: The Constitution as a “living document.” Hmm, let’s see, do we play Scrabble or do we play “Amending A Living Scrabble?” Let’s have both, one for stability, and one for ? Reality is agreement/disagreement. Scrabblers just wanna have fun…

    Reply
  49. Sophia -  February 9, 2013 - 8:52 am

    It should be kept the same. If Butts created it to have a variable of luck it should be left that way. He’s the creator of it so he wanted it to be that way. Plus it would be more boring if it had very little luck. If you want an all strategy game then go buy it.

    Reply
  50. Joy Pineros -  February 9, 2013 - 6:44 am

    I think they should leave the values the same. True, I do make a lot of “cheap” plays such as qi going 2 directions with the q on triple letter. BUT some of my opponents are learning not to play a good vowel next to that premium square when one of those high-pt. tiles is still at large. It’s a good skill to have.

    Reply
  51. Maggie -  February 9, 2013 - 5:49 am

    Let’s leave the original as it is if “they” want just put out a newer game. I am a big fan of words with friends and believe not only skill but a good speller sure is a help in the game.

    Reply
  52. Naphtaly -  February 9, 2013 - 4:13 am

    I think there should be two versions to satisfy everybody.

    Reply
  53. Stephanie -  February 8, 2013 - 11:02 pm

    I don’t think the values should be changed. The purpose for the larger values is for letters that hold less power in our vocabulary. For example: R, S & T are common in more words in the English language than X & Z because X & Z create fewer words. The higher values are bonuses to those that create words including these letters due to the difficulty. It isn’t as much an element of luck as we think. To really get to the bottom of this, someone would have to go through the word counts of each letter and explore all possibilities before considering changing the values. They are just fine to me.

    Reply
  54. dadadaist -  February 8, 2013 - 10:01 pm

    I have less of a problem with letter valuations than I do with letter distribution. While I wouldn’t mind seeing devaluations in the Z to equal the X and the J, and increasing the V to equal the K; I’d REALLY like to see the number of I’s to decrease from 9 to 6 or even 5. I seem to be forever stalked by useless and multiple freakin’ I’s.

    lol

    Reply
  55. Liz -  February 8, 2013 - 8:04 pm

    While that’s extremely neat, I like the game how it is. Why not leave well enough alone?

    Reply
  56. T Srinivasachari -  February 8, 2013 - 4:32 pm

    While I dont play scrabble.Iam logophil.These comments are enjoyable. and my comments are ‘It aint broke.Dont fix it.’

    Reply
  57. Annonymous -  February 8, 2013 - 12:55 pm

    Oh my God! I love Scrabble. The Scrabble dictionary should add common foreing words.

    Reply
  58. Peter L -  February 8, 2013 - 10:01 am

    “Can someone explain this? Why would a 2-letter word be worth more than a 5-letter word?”

    Because you can play a two letter word across in order to play a word down to a triple word score.

    Reply
  59. Charlotte -  February 8, 2013 - 9:17 am

    Sounds like they’re taking a page from the Windows manual.
    Once people get used to it and it works well, change it so the makers can sell a bazillion of the new version and make a ton of money.

    Reply
  60. Jose Luis -  February 8, 2013 - 8:56 am

    I agree to two prior opinions that were more aligned with my way of thinking. I am a Mexican guy, so I used to play Spanish Scrabble – and there are some obvious differences in letter values. – However, every time I play with my family, we use rae.es (supported Spanish-online dictionary)… that’s the first point I agree to… Either Scrabble company’s or Scrabble’s Player Association should add an online dictionary joint to the game. Second, special Scrabble versions – to me; from my limited-&-non-well-rounded outlook – sounds like a viable new target for other consumer markets. And, finally, everyone happy haha.

    Reply
  61. Alan4college -  February 8, 2013 - 8:33 am

    I would say that Norvig and Lewis really don’t have enough to do.

    Reply
  62. Larry Thompson -  February 8, 2013 - 8:27 am

    Scrabble is a delightful game. The egregious Words with Friends has an extremely unusual system as to what “words” are permitted and which are not. It allows Greek letters, many foreign words and proper names but doesn’t accept dozens of legitimate (and common) English words. Based on the experience with Words with Friends, I would strongly advocate Scrabble staying as it is. As many others said, if it aint broke, don’t fix it.

    Reply
  63. Allen W. -  February 8, 2013 - 8:01 am

    >>
    and the ease with which one can play a letter (the blank tile and S are far easier to play than Q).

    The new algorithm is flawed as ease of play is based the occurance frequencies of the letters within the canon of the vocabulary. Thus frequency is really being considered twice.

    –Allen

    .

    Reply
  64. TILE-VALUES | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  February 8, 2013 - 7:23 am

    [...] ‘Tile-Values’ — Related to Scrabble — Or the subterfuge of a Scrabble-Cheater — What’s in the name of an over eater. — Change the Values — Change the Game — By any other given Name — Scrabble Lewis — Scrabble Butts — Scrabble Stefan Fatsis Nuts. –>>L.T.Rhyme This entry was posted in DICTCOMHOTWORD, L.T.Rhyme and tagged LT, LTRhyme, the HOT WORD on February 8, 2013 by LTRhyme. [...]

    Reply
  65. Chuck -  February 8, 2013 - 6:44 am

    I agree that if Alfred had today’s data resources, he very well may have come up with somewhat different point values. But really, the debate is immaterial, because each player has an equal chance of drawing a high-scoring tile. Reducing tile point value would only result in reducing point totals for a round, and would have the disadvantage of forcing experienced Scrabble players to adjust the automatic calculation that goes on as they consider point values for different options. An added disadvantage is that game scores under a new point system could not be compared one-to-one with game scores under the old point system, which I’m sure would wreak havoc in all sorts of Scrabble venues.

    Reply
  66. Dr. OutreAmour -  February 8, 2013 - 5:23 am

    What next, change the values of Monopoly properties? Allow pawns to move backwards?

    Reply
  67. Nitin -  February 8, 2013 - 4:58 am

    You can have two-sided tiles with both new and old points! Color both sides differently for easy identification.

    Reply
  68. Akateng Papinian Christian -  February 8, 2013 - 4:09 am

    The best game for the young and old.I love to play all day long but of late have no access.From Wa Ghana,West Africa.

    Reply
  69. Ross -  February 8, 2013 - 2:46 am

    ““the most valuable word lengths in Scrabble being two-, three-, seven-, and eight-letter words”
    Can someone explain this? Why would a 2-letter word be worth more than a 5-letter word?”

    Confused – I imagine that it’s because two and three letter words are most easily played, while seven- and eight-letter words potentially get the 50 point bonus for using all your tiles. Still, I almost always try to go for the longest word I can. ;)

    Reply
  70. M Jamil -  February 8, 2013 - 2:38 am

    leave as it is.

    Reply
  71. cheese -  February 8, 2013 - 2:37 am

    no

    Reply
  72. jen -  February 8, 2013 - 2:35 am

    old one is better

    Reply
  73. Bogart -  February 8, 2013 - 12:23 am

    OH lala!

    Reply
  74. Karl K -  February 7, 2013 - 10:27 pm

    Let us not change the value system on the basis that miscreants choose to soil the English language with poor grammar and idle minds. I prefer to work for my seven-letter words.

    Reply
  75. @confused -  February 7, 2013 - 9:53 pm

    you can line up 2 letter words like :

    g o
    o n
    r e
    e

    Reply
  76. ZTbhe -  February 7, 2013 - 7:49 pm

    hi sorry wat hpnd dabe was just here trst moi

    Reply
  77. ZTbhe -  February 7, 2013 - 7:48 pm

    dabe i can agree. peoples PLZ LEAVE AS IS!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  78. dabe zohmkaw -  February 7, 2013 - 7:46 pm

    watevz persons i agree with u lauryn i dont want 2 have the last name of butts

    Reply
  79. Ronda Callens -  February 7, 2013 - 7:12 pm

    If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

    Reply
  80. Natalie -  February 7, 2013 - 7:03 pm

    Well all I’m saying is that the last names in this are very unfortunate. Butts and Fatsis.

    Reply
  81. Harri -  February 7, 2013 - 6:26 pm

    Reproducing the comment I fully agree with.

    I think the only overhaul required is the American Webster system. “z” as a letter continues to be a rarely used commodity in the Oxford tradition and thus should retain its status.
    The US seeks to Americanise everything, even English. Perhaps a better course of action would be Scrabble For Americans: The Limited Edition. Leave the original alone.

    Reply
  82. Anonymous -  February 7, 2013 - 5:40 pm

    I think they should be left alone, it is a lot harder to use Xs, Ys, and Zs, therefore we should get more points for using them.

    Reply
  83. Melissa -  February 7, 2013 - 5:40 pm

    @Confused:
    The distinction here I believe is the difference between the words “value” and “worth.” Two- and three-letter words are valuable, for example, at the end of the game when you’re trying to get rid of tiles, or when you want to play a word (instead of exchanging tiles) but don’t have a good selection of letters. They may not be “worth” more, but they help you in the game, nonetheless. Whereas four- and five-letter words require you to have a better selection of tiles to form those words, but usually don’t pay off in point value, comparatively, as the two- and three-letter words, except on rare occasions. That’s how I understood it, anyway!

    And leave the point values alone! Unless you want to up the value of s….just kidding. :)

    Reply
  84. Somebody -  February 7, 2013 - 4:43 pm

    Make two versions.

    Reply
  85. none -  February 7, 2013 - 4:09 pm

    didnt take time to read it just looked at the comment… sounds like it’s not so good.

    Reply
  86. Nana jo -  February 7, 2013 - 3:47 pm

    Just raising a bunch of brabble in thoughts of changing the beloved SCRABBLE game. Leave it alone!

    Reply
  87. Scott Nguyen -  February 7, 2013 - 2:49 pm

    i think they should stay the same, ” If it’s not wrong don’t fix it.”

    Reply
  88. Scrabble Purist -  February 7, 2013 - 2:37 pm

    okay – just move TALISMAN over until it starts under the I in HOSPITAL

    Reply
  89. Scrabble Purist -  February 7, 2013 - 2:37 pm

    well, that didn’t line up correctly…

    HOSPITAL
    xxxxTALISMAN

    Reply
  90. Scrabble Purist -  February 7, 2013 - 2:35 pm

    If people want to change the way Scrabble works… Oh, wait. They did. It’s called Words with Friends. Blech. Let the people who want to change letter values play that instead.

    And in response to “Confused” who posted: “’the most valuable word lengths in Scrabble being two-, three-, seven-, and eight-letter words’

    Can someone explain this? Why would a 2-letter word be worth more than a 5-letter word?”

    Two letter words enable a player to add another word parallel to an existing one already on the board. So, the knowledge of them is invaluable in gaining more points than just adding a word perpendicularly.

    HOSPITAL
    —-TALISMAN

    This example gives the words IT, TA, AL, and LI in addition to TALISMAN. Hope that helps.

    Reply
  91. justsomeguy -  February 7, 2013 - 2:06 pm

    Today I learned: That two contrary arguments can be used to argue for the same thing (i.e. that changing letter values would both make the game rely too much on luck and take the element of luck away). Games relying almost exclusively on skill (like sports matches) and games with close scores and thus high emotion are more boring than ones relying heavily on luck and whether or not you get the ridiculously easy-to-use, high-scoring X or other high-scoring letters. People would rather stick with comforting traditions that are the same since they were kids than undergo any beneficial change down to the minor level of a board game.

    Reply
  92. Christi B -  February 7, 2013 - 1:49 pm

    Sorry, I mistyped before. I meant to finish with “I win the most valuable prize in the process.”

    Reply
  93. James A. Johnson -  February 7, 2013 - 1:45 pm

    “the most valuable word lengths in Scrabble being two-, three-, seven-, and eight-letter words”

    Can someone explain this? Why would a 2-letter word be worth more than a 5-letter word?

    ==============
    Two-letter words are valuable because they enable you to lay your play alongside another word, creating a handful of two-letter words in addition to the word you put down. The same concept applies to three-letter words, to a lesser extent.

    I suppose that the theory is this should increase the point value of letters like “C” or “V”, since you can’t make two-letter words from them? But that would just help flatten out the score by awarding more points to words containing those letters, helping make up for the difference between those words and other plays that created a series of two-letter words.

    I’d have to see how it played, but if the only difference is decreasing the rarest tiles’ point values, it just makes it less exciting. There’s a reason the game has lasted so long – it’s pretty solid the way it is.

    Reply
  94. Christi B -  February 7, 2013 - 1:41 pm

    I believe the tile values should stay the same; some things need to stay traditional and original. I agree that the change would reduce the challenge and make the game boring. As a knowledge of language is needed to score well, one needs to learn in order to win. If we just dumb down the level of acceptable words and raise the tile values the playing field will become more level and those who do not strive to acquire knowledge will be unjustifiably rewarded. Let’s not redesign everything we do to appease the least common denominator but continue to encourage learning and enlightenment. I for one am always challenged by the game and win or lose I learn at least three new words every time I play, therefore, I win what the valuable prize in the process.

    Reply
  95. mewboots -  February 7, 2013 - 1:30 pm

    NO! Don’t change the Scrabble tile values. I play all the time and would find this very disconcerting.

    Reply
  96. Kooky Cookie -  February 7, 2013 - 1:26 pm

    The tiles are fine as they are. The high score possibility adds some risk and excitement to the game, and more satisfaction when the tiles are used. And, I agree, Lauryn! Poor Mr. Butts…

    Reply
  97. Katie -  February 7, 2013 - 1:10 pm

    I have been playing Scrabble all my life and I believe that it is perfect the way it is. Older generations may not understand he change in tiles especially anyone with memory problems. They may not remember the new tiles, but still remember the old ones. The values placed on the tiles z, x, and j are what keep the game fun. Having such vast outliers in a game such as this allows more anticipation and interest when playing the game. This allows a more technology based generation to still enjoy and revel about the well known and loved classic, Scrabble. Do not change a thing it will only cause more stress, money, and could possibly lead to the loss of many customers. No one will want to go out and buy the new board game and their old tiles will get mixed in, all resulting in a large mess. If the change does occur I will not buy the new game and will ban it from my household.

    Reply
  98. Jeff -  February 7, 2013 - 1:06 pm

    The tile values are not the problem. The liberalization of the dictionary to allow non-words like “ZA” (slang) and “QI” (foreign) as well as phonetic spellings of letters like “ZEE” are the problem. Get rid of the “freebies” like these and the tile values make perfect sense again.

    Reply
  99. Possum -  February 7, 2013 - 1:04 pm

    Leave Scrabble as it is. Changing the values as suggested would create less opportunity for high scoring words, and therefore less challenging.
    Haven’t these people got more important things to do than trying to change the point scoring system of a board game – emphasis on game.

    Reply
  100. Liz -  February 7, 2013 - 12:35 pm

    @Jennifer – If you re-read the first sentence (wherein it states that the game was developed by an out-of-work architect during the Great Depression) you would realize (assuming you know any history) that the game is, in fact, American to begin with. It’s impossible to “Americanise” something that is already American. And our great country has always maintained a seperate English than the U.K. and other such countries. Evident in our use of “z” instead of “s” (i.e. Americanize vs. Americanise) and our preference for a simple “o” instead of the unneccessary “ou” (i.e. color vs. colour). My point is that your point has no basis. Sorry but that’s my good ‘ole American opinion.

    Reply
  101. Maneki Neko -  February 7, 2013 - 12:22 pm

    Why “fix” something that isn’t broken? Leave Scrabble alone! (And KEEP the iron in Monopoly – just add the cat!)

    Reply
  102. Webster -  February 7, 2013 - 11:48 am

    Webster, Webster, Webster

    Reply
  103. Lauryn -  February 7, 2013 - 11:24 am

    Glad I’m not related to Albert Butts…

    Reply
  104. felicitas -  February 7, 2013 - 10:56 am

    leave as it is.

    Reply
  105. Suzanne -  February 7, 2013 - 10:25 am

    I say leave the tiles as they are. Not only would it make the game more boring, it would also rob people of of those perfect, magical moments when you realize you can use an X or a Z on a Triple Word Score tile.

    Maybe Lewis should design his own board game.

    Reply
  106. Confused -  February 7, 2013 - 10:11 am

    “the most valuable word lengths in Scrabble being two-, three-, seven-, and eight-letter words”

    Can someone explain this? Why would a 2-letter word be worth more than a 5-letter word?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  107. Cindy Jones -  February 7, 2013 - 10:09 am

    What about the players wit and intellect instead of luck? Leave the point systems as it is.

    Reply
  108. trish -  February 7, 2013 - 9:33 am

    balderdash! they haven’t a clue. get a life and leave our scrabble alone!

    Reply
  109. Ole TBoy -  February 7, 2013 - 8:49 am

    Is nothing safe from the onslaught of computer analysis?

    Let sleeping dogs lie.

    Reply
  110. ERD -  February 7, 2013 - 8:46 am

    Leave the tiles alone! There is such a thing as legacy and Scrabble deserves it.

    Reply
  111. Davie -  February 7, 2013 - 8:29 am

    Scrabble is partly a game of luck, but a sound lexical knowledge, a sense of sacrifice, an ounce of risk, a stable decision-making process and a good logical mind can even out that luck, or even overcome it. Having high-value letters is one thing, but being able to get them where you need them is another. I don’t think the game needs to be changed in any way. And besides, half the fun of losing is being able to say that you didn’t get the Q, the Z, the X, or the J, and you got stuck with the K at the end.

    Reply
  112. marisol -  February 7, 2013 - 8:24 am

    i like scrabble

    Reply
  113. Ellie -  February 7, 2013 - 8:04 am

    There has got to be some challenge in order to actually enjoy playing the game….PLEASE….do not change the points.

    Reply
  114. svenjamin -  February 7, 2013 - 7:55 am

    The excitement in Scrabble is getting to use the higher valued letters. Who cares what the actual frequency of the letters is. Some are still more difficult to use than others and you know it!

    Reply
  115. anqrk -  February 7, 2013 - 7:13 am

    Ah, yes. The X has been well-prized by Scrabble players and is often played on a triple letter space, parallel to another word, for 52 or more points. While it does seem overvalued in this respect (the ease with which it can be played for a high score), I would not want its score to be reduced to 5. This would make it only slightly better than a K. Also, laying down those 52-point X plays is one of the sublime joys of Scrabble. Reducing the score of X to 5 would take away this joy.

    Reply
  116. Barbara Wyatt -  February 7, 2013 - 7:04 am

    Yes original value should remain. Don’t mess with a very good thing! However are know there have been many changes in English since 1930, maybe you should.

    Have a great day!

    Barbara

    Reply
  117. Bubba -  February 7, 2013 - 7:00 am

    If it aint broke, don’t fix it.

    Reply
  118. K.G.Parthasarathy -  February 7, 2013 - 6:12 am

    I wish the Scrabble tiles retain their original value. It will be much helpful to new generation of players.

    Reply
  119. Yo -  February 7, 2013 - 6:07 am

    Five, six, and six? Lest ye forget we have a limited number of values to begin with…and the other tiles are already all 1s, 2s, and 3s!

    Leave the excitement in the game, please. Don’t take that from us here as well…Please..

    Reply
  120. Nancy Rader -  February 7, 2013 - 6:06 am

    I believe Scrabble is perfect just the way it is!!!

    Reply
  121. Peter L -  February 7, 2013 - 5:55 am

    Leave it alone. I can see that some letters, like z, are more common today, but how many of those added appearances in print are in names of foreign places, words which cannot be used in Scrabble because they are proper nouns?

    Reply
  122. Mike James -  February 7, 2013 - 5:28 am

    Leave ‘em alone! I don’t play “Scrabble” as such, but “Words with Friends” daily, and the thrill of playing the odd X, J, Z, or Q makes the game more exciting.

    Reply
  123. Al Medrano -  February 7, 2013 - 4:23 am

    No. The game as it stands is fine. There is a pillar of tradition behind it. If the Lewis camp wants to make changes, then do so with a different game. And while you’re at it, adjust the size of the board, tile distribution, location, count and value of multipliers, and the dictionary (e.g., ENABLE).

    Reply
  124. Arkanza -  February 7, 2013 - 3:42 am

    Why doesn’t someone hold some tournaments using these different letter values and see the player’s reactions?

    Reply
  125. Milton -  February 7, 2013 - 3:21 am

    leave it

    Reply
  126. isaiah -  February 6, 2013 - 8:29 pm

    they should not change the values of scrabble tiles. i hve been playing scrabble all my life and it would totally mess up my game if the values were changed. in a short summary: DONT CHANGE THE VALUES

    Reply
  127. Snarky -  February 6, 2013 - 7:48 pm

    Your link to Lewis’ full findings is dead (and this article is barely a month old)

    Reply
  128. Micki -  February 6, 2013 - 6:59 pm

    Yes, I do think an overhaul would be beneficial…BUT….I also think access to an on line “Scrabble Dictionary” to match the computational analysis would be even better!

    Reply
  129. Crazy person -  February 6, 2013 - 6:15 pm

    I don’t really care, I just play it and suck at it.

    Reply
  130. Jessica -  February 6, 2013 - 6:09 pm

    I think the only overhaul required is the American Webster system. “z” as a letter continues to be a rarely used commodity in the Oxford tradition and thus should retain its status.
    The US seeks to Americanise everything, even English. Perhaps a better course of action would be Scrabble For Americans: The Limited Edition. Leave the original alone.

    Reply
  131. Isabella -  February 6, 2013 - 5:27 pm

    I think that since Scrabble is a classic board game and lots of people have the original version the point values should’t be changed. That would confuse TONS of people who love the game. I also think that a lot of people who would buy the changed version to replace their old, worn-down version might keep playing the old way. Also on game night new users and old users might argue consistently about the point values.

    Reply
  132. C-dawg -  February 6, 2013 - 5:12 pm

    I agree that the letter values should be changed considering the fact that they are outdated and need to be more contemporary.

    Reply

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