Agarwallas’ Scrabulous closes in on famed American rival

August 1st, 2008 - 7:22 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Facebook
By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, Aug 1 (IANS) The replacement for a popular word game, removed by Facebook for American users, is within breathing distance of its famous rival Scrabble, having attracted more than 67,000 users by Friday. Wordscraper, launched by Kolkata-based brothers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla Thursday, had 67,302 users Friday, compared to the official Scrabble’s 15,708 worldwide, excluding US and Canada.

A separate official application known as Scrabble Beta, which is meant for North American users, has 85,237 players.

Comparing for like for like, the Agarwallas’ Scrabulous, which was withdrawn by Facebook for North American users Wednesday, still has 246,064 players elsewhere in the world.

Facebook withdrew Scrabulous after Hasbro, an American toy company which owns the North American rights to the popular board game Scrabble, claimed that it violated the Scrabble copyright.

Before the Facebook move, Scrabulous was played by some half a million people every day.

In response, the Agarwalla brothers Thursday launched a new version of the game, calling it Wordscraper.

They describe it as “the only game on Facebook that allows you to play the game the way you want to! With Wordscraper you can build your own board and try out whacky combinations with special high value squares.

“Give it a try, you will love it. Don’t follow rules, make them!” they say in what could be well be the guiding philosophy for the game’s intrepid Indian developers.

Meanwhile, according to some reports, there is little difference between Wordscraper and Scrabulous.

“Despite the copyright disputes surrounding their original game, which entertained hundreds of thousands of bored office workers, their new offering appears remarkably similar,” the British newspaper, Daily Telegraph, reported.

It said Wordscraper players on Facebook have complained of “several bugs in the game, and voiced frustration that the point values of each letter are not visible on the tiles.”

The Agarwalla brothers have said they will address the problem and also promised that a “customization option for letter frequency and values will be implemented in the next few days.”

Scrabulous is like Scrabble in that all players have seven letters at any given time with which to make up words.

However, the big difference is that players can create their own boards by arranging the multiple-letter and multiple-word bonus squares as they wish and there is a new “quadruple word” bonus.

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