In news that marks a significant step towards the future predicted in the brilliant, hopefully not-too-prescient movie Idiocracy, Mattel has announced that Scrabble is to undergo a rule change that would allow the use of proper nouns.
Popcrunch have got the statement from Mattel, in which the change is described as “an exciting new twist” and I can already imagine Scrabble purists everywhere fretting about the implications. I wouldn’t be surprised if this leads to a schism in the Scrabble world, with some players simply refusing to embrace the new rules.
My relationship with Scrabble goes back to my time in China. I had a standing arrangement with my friend Mark for a weekly game and one of my fondest memories from my time there is an afternoon we spent playing in the tea garden of a Buddhist temple in Chengdu.
However, in the interest of uncharacteristically embracing the new, here’s a short list of some South African proper nouns and their respective Scrabble scores:
Zuma: 15 points
Zille: 14 points
Lekota: 10 points
Malema: 10 points
Nzimande: 20 points (plus 50 point bonus for using all 7 letters in your rack).
To put it in perspective, “Malema” earns you the same score as “fools”, while “Zille” is the same as “whining”.