Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Word Games Writers Play

I love word games, as in family-style, sit around the table and play games. When I was doing all my tech writing a few decades ago (dating myself, here), I wish I would have played word games more often. Perhaps I would have moved on to creative writing sooner.

What are some of your favorite word games?

Scrabble: I got this version one year and love it. LOVE. It is an extra-sized board, has little ridges to keep the pieces in and wheels on the bottom to turn the board to face you. More importantly, it has more tiles! It’s the perfect Scrabble kit!

I have a variation of house rules, when playing with adults: forming three letter or less words causes you to take a drink of whatever alcoholic beverage has been set aside for this nefarious, but appropriate, purpose.

Bananagrams: This is my second favorite game. Ever. There is no taking turns. There is no set board. There isn’t even a time limit, although it is a speed game. The rule is simple: form a crossword with your tiles independently of the other players. Here are the simple rules. Look them over and you can see Bananagrams, for the writer in you, is a bit of the 'ole Awesomesauce.

Wordplay: This one is a bit more challenging than the other two above, but strangely more absorbing. Like Banagrams, everyone plays every round. From the product description: The spinner determines the letters and category for each round. For instance, the category might be "Food & Drink", and you may be looking for words that begin with a 'P' and contain an 'A' - 'Pizza' and 'Pasta' may come to mind, or maybe 'Pancakes' and 'Peaches'.

Lexogon: The last time I played this, I learned some new words from other people, so there you go. It’s a vocabulary game that isn’t as demanding as Scrabble, but it’s still a thinking game. From the product description: Find a word that uses the 3 clue letters in order, but arranged in the special way required by the current color category. For example, with the clue letters BGS and the category "first clue letter must be first; last clue letter must be last", a successful response would be BOGUS or BAGS.


  1. Elizabeth Spann Craig tweeted this to me today and I had to comment--great ideas! I hadn't thought about these games in a while, but these are enough to get me thinking...and I'm in a block in a bad way.


  2. Scrabble. I even have it on my IPhone. My family is big on playing Scrabble any time we get together. We're quite competitive, no holds barred when it comes to the title of 'Scrabble Champion'. We've even gone so far that we have to use the word in a sentence. Trust me, it gets quite funny the longer we play.

    I like UpWords as well where you can build up to three levels high.

  3. If you want to talk creative writing, Balderdash is your game! You're given a person's name, a date, a movie title, etc., and you make up what you think it is. Then the person who chose that item reads all of the fake entries as well as the real one, and people vote on what they think the real one is. It's awesome!

  4. Word games are super fun!!! I am hearing about Balderdash more and more and I am thinking this is the game for me to check out!!

  5. I'm a spelling geek, so I love Boggle. And I love the facebook version, Scramble, because I can play by myself whenever I feel like it. Fortunately, I don't get sucked into it too often!

  6. Funny thing you're on word games - I'm hosting a "Writers Games" contest on my blog - kind of a word Olympics which includes Boggle, Make your own Toasts, writing Haikus, Limericks, Similes and Opening Lines. It's a hoot to play word games with other writers!
    My favorite game is definitely Speed Scrabble, which is very similar to Bananagrams, and which I have discovered can be played on the fridge with my kids' magnetic letters.

  7. Board games are fun. We played a few over Christmas with the family - one of those rare occasions when we played one after another ,for a few days in a row!


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