New rules scramble Scrabble tradition

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 08 2010 07:10 AM | Updated as of Apr 08 2010 03:10 PM

NEW YORK – Scrabble lovers are unscrambling the momentous news that the board game will for the first time allow proper nouns, and even words spelled backwards.

Distributors Mattel say they are launching Scrabble Trickster in Britain this summer -- and allowing a heavy dose of the unthinkable.

"The makers of Scrabble have confirmed that they are making plans to change the rules for the first time to introduce new challenges to the game for a special edition," Mattel said in a statement.

That includes permitting words back to front and proper nouns, longtime Scrabble no-nos. Use of celebrities' names are likely to fuel a new "war of words," the statement said.

Mattel spokeswoman Julia Jensen underlined that the changes only affect the Trickster.

"This is a special edition and the rules don't impact the original Scrabble game," she told AFP.

The new game will not be sold in the United States, where rival Hasbro, not Mattel, owns the rights to Scrabble. Mattel has the rights everywhere outside North America.