How this iconic board game is changing to stay relevant

Image: Mattel

Board game makers are evolving their products and re-imagining classics to stay competitive in a booming industry paired with new consumer trends. 

"We now have a generation of people where game play is completely native, both digital and physical, which means that the overall frequency of game play has gone up, but importantly, with more occasions to play and games being designed for a much wider segment of the population," a Mattel spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

The industry has seen a boost not only financially, but also in terms of players, particularly among younger generations. With an ever-increasing library of board games, more Gen Zers and Millennials are playing board games to unplug from screens and reconnect with others in a post-pandemic world.


Mattel has jumped on the changing landscape by launching Scrabble Together, a "collaborative" and "more accessible" version of the classic word game. The game's changes are reportedly aimed at a Gen Z audience.

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Image: Mattel

According to research from Opinion Matters, the board game market has developed new trends among players. Nearly half of those surveyed have tried to make up a word to win at Scrabble, and three-fourths of players between 25 and 34 years old have had to check if a word is real. 

In addition, more than half of players between 34 and 54 years old play board games to de-stress. More than two-thirds of players between 25 and 34 play board games to connect with friends.

The updated version, to be released in Europe, will include two sides; One side with the original game for players who want to stick to the traditional version and a second, "less competitive" version to appeal to Gen Z players, BBC first reported. The second side, called Scrabble Together, will include helper cards, using a simpler scoring system that will be quicker to play and allow people to play in teams. 

"The game speaks to a trend in younger people who want to avoid competitive games and sense of losing, instead favoring teamwork and collaboration working towards a fun goal together," former World Scrabble Champion Brett Smitheran said in a press release.

Scrabble Together is the first time in the game's 75-year history such a significant change has been made.


FILE - Close-up of Milton Bradley Scrabble gameboard in a grassy, park setting, Lafayette, California, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

"While family games are still the biggest category, adult party games and strategy games are the fastest growing segments and Mattel is capitalizing on that," the Mattel spokesperson said. 

The big-name manufacturer has introduced a swathe of new party and strategy games in addition to Scrabble Together. In addition, Mattel has embraced digital platforms for variants of popular games like UNO.

"Game Play IS HERE TO STAY. It’s mainstream. There is a much larger audience playing games much more frequently and we see that continuing," the spokesperson added.

Fox News' Kendall Tietz contributed to this report.

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