Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A review of Scrabble Diamond Anniversary Edition

Posted by Brad Mills
It's finally here!

I picked up the Diamond Anniversary Edition Scrabble board right after lunch today at a local department store. Given some of the boards Hasbro has put out over the last decade or so, let's just say my hopes were not high... but I just had to buy one and see for myself.

Surprisingly, this is a rather good board. The new color scheme is horrid, of course... very disconcerting. But it's constructed well, the turning mechanism is both functional and unique, and the portability is a definite plus. And finally, they actually put something on the blank so it's not as easily braillable.

The grid is solid hard plastic, and it adequately holds tiles in place - I tried it with Protiles and the wooden tiles which came with the set, and they both sustained a good solid bump from the side without moving. I found that Protiles will fit in sideways, which opens the possibility of using this board in the same manner as an Ossie Mair board - that is, with the curved sections facing each player. (Yes, this is a blatant misorientation, but I believe if both players agree to play in this fashion from the beginning, it would probably be okay.)

It's made in China, but I expected this, since almost every mass-produced good in the country is anymore.

Here are a few pictures.
The case / board, all folded up and ready to go. The case is held together with some magnets hidden inside the plastic surface, so be careful with this board around credit cards, portable hard drives, and anything else sensitive to magnetic forces. The "turntable" is actually a series of small wheels on what becomes the bottom of the board. They just roll and the whole thing rotates. Very cool and innovative!

Here's the board unfolded with a couple of the curved racks on it. The racks are very cheaply made and probably should be replaced.

Blanks are your best friends, and in this case, so are diamonds.

A few of the included tiles scattered across the playing surface. (Yeah, I know... HaNDLES, HaNDSEL, and HoNDLES.)

This particular board has a small manufacturing defect, but it won't affect any games.

Some Protiles placed in the grid to see how they fit. And... they don't move!

A side view of the Protiles to show the depth at which they rest. The big brown thing at top left is a bag of dinner rolls.

Here are the drawers opened up, revealing the rules booklet and a place to put the racks and tile bag. The rules refer to the OSPD3, but the NSA does get a plug.

And finally, the board by itself, with nothing on it, to give a better view of the yucky new colors. Hopefully these make a rapid departure. Imagine if Coke changed their cans to green. It's just not right!

Overall, I think Hasbro is on the right track here from a manufacturing perspective. This board actually looks and feels like they put some effort into it. As for the color scheme, I can only attribute it to someone being on drugs who is hopefully now going through rehab.


  1. I need some clarification. Does the bag of rolls come with the game or not?

  2. Sorry, but the rolls must be purchased separately.

  3. I got this version for Kirstie and I was very pleased with the grid as a big improvement over the prior deluxe rotating board. It is ideal for club and tournament play with its portability and the rotating features ... I'm just surprised that Hasbro wouldn't go with laser printed tiles as it would seem that it would be cheaper to produce non-brailable tiles over the engraved ones. Maybe they figure "heck, we have this engraving machine ... might as well use it!"

  4. Is it possible to stow away a game in progress?

  5. Hi Andy,

    The Diamond Anniversary board won't let you fold up the game while leaving the tiles in place. The hinge mechanism is too loose for that, and the tiles have no way to lock in place.

    If you're looking for a board which does this, you'll probably want the Folio Edition.


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