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Scrabble yn Gymraeg – the board game no one wants to buy

The makers of Scrabble have sold 100m of the games, in 29 languages, but they have been left lost for words by occurrences in Wales.

One bookshop in Wales has seen its Welsh language versions of Scrabble gathering dust after it failed to sell a single game in two years.

Waterstones in Carmarthen bought in five copies of Scrabble yn Gymraeg – Scrabble in Welsh – in 2014 in the hope it would prove popular. But the shop sold none that Christmas, or the following one – or on any of the days in between.

Scrabble yn Gymraeg - the board game no one wants to buy
Scrabble yn Gymraeg – the board game no one wants to buy

“We thought Welsh Scrabble would be a snapped up in our games section and not linger so long gathering dust – especially in Carmarthen, where we have and order so, so many Welsh books for our customers,” said branch manager Emma Morris.

“But, ironically, we had one customer come to the counter with the Welsh version, only to ask if we had it in Polish.”

Its £24.99 price has now been cut in half in the hope of shifting the games.

When Scrabble yn Gymraeg was released with the backing of the Welsh Book Council, there were hopes it would be popular with native speakers at home and abroad and learners of the language.

Before the Welsh game was launched, computer checks were run on a million words in the University of Wales Dictionary of Welsh, as well as 800,000 words in the Welsh Bible.

There are no letters X or Z, which are not in the Welsh language, and common letters such as Y and W are worth only one point.

A spokesman for maker Mattel said: “Scrabble is a favourite all over the world. We aim to meet the demands of all the game’s fans and we are more than happy that Welsh-speaking word lovers can join in.”

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