Popular board games, like Scrabble, get tweaked for older adults

New York

The maker of iconic board games like Scrabble and The Game of Life is retooling these classic games so that aging doesn’t get in the way of older adults continuing to enjoy them.


, in partnership with Ageless Innovation (a licensee of Hasbro

brands), on Thursday unveiled new versions of Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit and The Game of Life. Each game has been reimagined to make the play experience more appealing and easier for seniors.

Tweaks to the board games feature several age-inclusive components, said Ted Fischer, co-founder and CEO of Ageless Innovation, which specializes in developing toys for elderly consumers.

Changes include bigger play pieces that are easier to grasp, larger wording on the boards and refreshed content that is more relatable to an older demographic.

The new seniors-friendly Scrabble will be available in June.

The new Scrabble Bingo 3-in-1 edition (priced at $40) has three games — the classic word game of Scrabble, Scrabble Bingo and Scrabble Pass. All three games have bigger letter tiles to hold and larger lettering for players to see. Scrabble Pass incorporates a 30-second sand timer to make it more challenging.

The popular trivia game Trivial Pursuit has been reimagined with generation-specific trivia. Called Trivial Pursuit Generations (priced at $45), this version still features the six traditional subject categories — geography, entertainment, history, art and literature, science and nature, and sports and leisure — but 1,500 new questions are segmented by generational relevance. Those segments include the Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z, said Fischer.

Fischer said an additional deck of blank cards is included in the game, on which players can add their own personal trivia.

The Game of Life segments play by Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z.

“For example, one question to put on the card could be, ‘[Blank] was his nickname when grandpa was younger,” said Fischer, adding that the latest versions of the games are meant to encourage intergenerational play among families and friends.

In The Game of Life Generations edition (priced at $40), players have to pick a generation before the game begins. It also segments play by age and players then travel through life events specific to each generation.

One example, when a Gen Z or Millennial player passes Pay Day on the board they must pay $10,000 because they might have college debt — while the Baby Boomer players pays nothing because they most likely don’t have college debt.

About 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the United States, according to the AARP, a nonprofit interest group for aging Americans.

“Today, there are over 50 million people in America over the age of 65 and it could double by 2050,” said Fischer.

The AARP estimates the number of older adults will more than double over the next several decades to top 88 million people and represent over 20% of the population by 2050.

As the population ages, it’s also presenting companies with a rapidly expanding market for all kinds of services and products, including toys.

Hasbro spotted that opportunity several years ago, said Fischer, who previously was part of a team at Hasbro tasked with finding new markets and channels for growth.

“We looked at the health and wellness space and recognized that there was a void of products that would bring fun and play for older adults,” he said.

The team launched the Joy for All brand at Hasbro in 2015 to develop products for elderly consumers and launched the first one — the robotic Companion Pet Cat — in 2015, followed by the Companion Pet Pup in 2016.

“Our insights from older adults told us that game and age-inclusive toys help foster fun and joy and meaningful connections and help to combat loneliness and isolation, which we know was a problem during the pandemic,” said Fischer. “We saw this during the pandemic when families were isolating together and needed something to do, board games spiked in popularity.”

The Joy for All brand spun off from Hasbro in 2018 and founded its parent company Ageless Innovation. Fischer said Hasbro reached out last year with the idea to adapt the three board games.

The new Trivial Pursuit Generations

Jess Richardson, Hasbro’s vice president of licensed consumer products, said the toymaker was cognizant of the resurgence of the popularity of board games across all ages during the pandemic and the opportunity to market them to seniors.

The new games, which launch in June, will also be marketed differently, he said.

“We’re excited to enter a new distribution channel in the health care space with the games,” he said. While they will be sold at most major retailers, shoppers might find them in the health and wellness section instead of the toy aisle.

“They will also be available to Ageless Innovation’s health care customers, including senior living communities and state units on aging,” he said.

Toy industry expert Jim Silver said age-inclusive Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit and The Game of Life games make sense.

“The pandemic showed everyone likes to play good old-fashioned games,” said Silver, who is CEO of Toys, Tots, Pets & More, an industry review website.

“It’s a no-brainer. Scrabble is abundantly found in senior living centers and it’s great to make it easier now for the elderly to play it. I’m interested to see if Hasbro adds other board games, like Monopoly, to this effort,” he said.