From the house of Mattel comes Scrabble Towers. The relationship to Scrabble is obvious, even though one – the board – is much smaller and the other – the letterstones – is much larger. Soon it becomes clear that some things work differently than the classic cross. From nine letter towers, one may form a chain of letters from the above, which in the optimal case results in a meaningful word. The letters used are taken down from the respective tower and piled up again in front of you. If you are lucky or skilled, you will get one to three bonus stones. And in the end, whoever has the highest tower wins.
The few rules of the game are explained in one minute and we start: A-Q-K-R-S-I-Z-H-W. What can you build from it? HARZ would work, but for that the letters would also have to form a chain, which they do not. We’re going. That’s only three tiles + one bonus tile. Not a bad start. The W, I and R disappear as a tower in front of the player. That’s what C-B-R comes out for. Fortunately, the A is still there, enough for a BAR. Lucky! With the A, however, the second and last vowel disappears. And unfortunately there are no new ones. Unfortunately, even before the third player takes his turn, the remaining consonants cannot be made into a “meaningful” word. What does the rule say? Nothing. Meaning: If one player is unable to form a word, the next one is in turn. Yes, and what’s he doing? He has the same letters at his disposal. Is there a hand missing from the rules of the game? Apparently not.
The game is declared finished and a new one is started. This time, the first three players can form a word. But the fourth looks back into the tube. Lack of vowels. That’s when Scrabble Towers disappear back into the packaging. After ten minutes, explanation time included and with the nod of the teammates. And the way it looks, it’s gonna stay there. Scrabble Towers is, if you want to put it heretically, typical Mattel of the 80s: a lot of colourful plastic with no playful value. The game simply doesn’t work in its present form. That’s the worst thing you could say about a game, but it’s been a long time since it’s been so clear to me.