A: Sure, all board games dream of becoming famous, but none has surpassed the star-power of SCRABBLE. Invented in 1931 by out-of-work architect Alfred Mosher Butts, the game inspiringly overcame the definition of its name (scrabble literally means “to scrape or grope frenetically”) and went on to sell more than 100 million sets worldwide.
The wild success of the game spawned the National SCRABBLE Association, a legion of 10,000 professional tournament players (not to mention their arsenal of 120,000 approved words), and more than 200 clubs across the United States and Canada. All of this culminates in the National SCRABBLE Championship, which is proudly broadcast on ESPN and features more than 850 letter-lancers going head-to-head.
Although it might be tough to become the “Rocky of Etymology,” amateur wordsmiths who think they have their frenetic groping down to a science can show up at one of 180 different NSA-sanctioned tournaments in an attempt to score one of 12 qualifying slots, giving them the opportunity to compete for upwards of $100,000 in total cash and prizes.
In a word, the popularity and potential profitability of the game is pretty a-m-a-z-i-n-g (to use a 19-point word).