While I have been extremely saddened by the recent lack of Scrabs in my life (due to Scrabulous being taken down and Scrabble Beta being on constant breakdown mode), there is light at the end of the tunnel. That’s right, the Agarwalla brothers are pointing and laughing at Hasbro right now for their frivolous lawsuit.
While I am a big fan of creative games that rely on individual choice, as well as people taking on The Man, I do have a few doubts about this particular incident. Yes, I think Hasbro behave abominably in protecting their copyright, when a quieter, more diplomatic resolution probably would have gone over better with fans. I mean, think of the new travel Scrabble version that was released at Starbucks in conjunction with the movie “Akela and the Bee’. It was a cleverly-designed actually well-made version of the game. It was sold and publicized in relation to a feature film, giving it credibility with the youngins. Why couldn’t hasbro have come to a working situation like that which spread the profit around a little bit?
Still, companies do have a right to protection, too. Since the board gaming industry is on the decline, I can understand people being desperate to keep control of their games. And sometimes, the whole visual selling points work. Skip-Bo is basically canasta with a few specially-designed cards, but those graphics sell. But the question here is really about online gaming. What we want, what we need, as customers is more about reliability and access. If Hasbro ends up providing those, then they should be defended. But only then.