Scrabulous phoenix rises from ashes, reborn as Wordscraper

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Los Angeles (CA) – Like a phoenix rising out of the ashes, Scrabulous has been reborn into Wordscraper.  Two days ago, the Facebook game was momentarily felled by the legal arrows fired by Hasbro’s attorneys and hopefully this new game is just different enough to appease the toy giant.  Wordscraper features circle tiles, different point values for letters and customizable boards.  So far the game is a hit on Facebook with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars and 3500 daily active users.

Hasbro sued the two Calcutta India brothers who created Scrabulous for copyright infringement.  The pair instructed Facebook to take down the game while they mounted their legal defense (which is still ongoing, despite Wordscraper’s introduction).  Hasbro alleges the brothers basically copied Scrabble’s layout, rules and even made the name sound close enough to the original game to confuse people.  And if you had played the original Scrabulous game then you would know that it’s pretty much an exact copy of Scrabble.  Incidentally, Scrabulous can still be played directly on scrabulous.com.

Wordscraper attempts to ease legal tensions while also waving the proverbial middle finger at Hasbro.  Instead of square tiles, Wordscraper has circle tiles with hidden points.  Tiles can also have double, triple and even quadruple point values, something which the original Scrabble does not have.  Also, players can create their own boards and hey if the boards just happen to look like the old Scrabulous boards, then that’s just a coincidence.  Of course, the Calcutta brothers aren’t instructing people to create similar boards because they could then be sued for urging people to break trademarks.

Hasbro has responded to Wordscraper with a statement saying that it will “act appropriately when necessary”.  They add that they will evaluate the situation on a case-by-case basis.

Just before suing for the removal of Scrabulous, Hasbro entered into a partnership with Electronic Arts to produce the Scrabble Beta online game.  Scrabble Beta is currently available on Facebook and has more than 50,000 active daily players.