If you happened to be on the Internet sometime Tuesday morning or mid-afternoon, you might have noticed brief bouts of rage concerning the proposed rules to the new edition of Scrabble. Like most Internet flare-ups, the outcry was short and fierce, burning out within approximately twenty-hours after those pesky facts came out to calm everybody down. Still, as Google Trends will indicate, there was a brief period of time where everyone was very much concerned with the classic game of wordplay.
Monopoly and Scrabble are both imperfect games, especially when compared to completely "fair" German-style board games like Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride, that utilize laws of game theory to maximize a player's potential to win. But the imperfections of Scrabble and Monopoly have roots going back to the Great Depression. There's a continuity in the fact that generations of Americans have struggled with the same arcane rules. The fun in playing these games only partially come from the game itself. It also comes from belittling your sister when she's dumb enough to buy Baltic Avenue, or trying to convince your friends that "fiesta" is an English word.