To say it’s been a banner year for trying to keep yourself occupied at home is something of a wild understatement. Isolation, social distancing, and quarantine requirements have sent oh so many of us scrambling for the board game drawer. And while everyone’s skills may be currently operating at all-time highs, so too are our crafty abilities at getting one over our partner/lover/housemate/family member. However that’s a rising trend that Mattel is looking to nip in the bud, thanks to a rather unprecedented rule change for the iconic duo of Scrabble and Pictionary.
Announced earlier today, Mattel revealed that a rule asserting that players will be required to place their smartphones into the empty game box lid will be part of the official rules of both games moving forward.
The hope there, they insist, is to “eliminate any distractions” standing in the way of a “fun night with family or friends.” But in reality also stands as a reasonably effective strategy against potential cheating. Of course, by this point I’ve looked up the definition of “Qi” on the sneaky that many times it’s already burned into my brain. So good luck putting that ill-gotten knowledge into the empty box lid, fools!
In a short statement issued this morning, Mattel ANZ Director of Market Jacinta Whitehead said “Now more than ever it is critical that we find ways to connect. The new rule change reminds Australians to take a break from their screens, connect together with those in our home, and be fully engaged in play. When we disconnect from technology we can appreciate each other’s company, and of course have lots of fun too.”
Which, again, is all well and good, but doesn’t for one second stop me from slipping the extra Q or J tile that I kept from an old Scrabble set into my tray on the sly.
Whether you adhere to the rules is entirely up to you, of course. But it’s in there now. So if you break it, that’s on you.