Build a Word

by Paige Herlihy
(United States)

I love this game because it can be used to entertain and teach simultaneously. The game can also be played by any age group, even a mix of ages and learning levels. Here's how it works...

What you'll need: Just you, some friends, a seating area large enough to sit in a circle, and a dictionary.

How long it takes: The game can go on for as long as you want but I would suggest choosing a number of rounds you are going to play in advance.

Object: The object of the game is to build a word one letter at a time. One person starts by naming a letter and the next person adds a letter, so on and so forth.

How to play:

1. Collect your group and sit in a circle.

2. Decide on a number of rounds you will play. A round is the length of time it takes to build the first word. So each word is a round.

3. Choose someone to start.

4. Once that person picks a letter the next person in the group adds a letter that could begin to spell a word. No one can add a letter that they are not sure could make a word.

If the group believes a person has picked a letter that could not continue to spell a word anyone in the group may challenge that person.

Example: The first person says the letter "X." The next person adds another "X." The second person would be out because there is no word that begins with "Xx."

If the second person had said "r" they would be allowed to move on as long as they have a word in mind that begins with "Xr" such as X-ray. If a person in the group thinks that the player who added the "r" has no word in mind they may challenge them.

Challenges: When a player is challenged they must quickly give the word their letter would have helped to spell. In some cases you may need a dictionary in order to check these words.

If a player's word checks out they may move on and the player who challenged them is out. If they do not have a word, they are out.

How to win: The player who successfully completes a word gets a point. After the agreed upon number of rounds is complete, the player who has the most points wins.

Example 5 player game:

Player #1: "A"

Player #2: "g"

Player #3: "r"

Player #4: can't come up with a letter. They are out.

Player #5: "e"

Player #1: "e"

Player #2: "d"

Player #2 wins and receives a point.

The best way to play this game is to attempt to stump the rest of the group. Add a letter that you think other people won't be able to come up with a word for. If you can get enough people to pass you'll rack up the most points.

If everyone passes the player who said the last letter is automatically challenged and must say the word that were intended to build in order to win their point.

This game is great to play with a vocabulary list, foreign words, or just as a brain teaser or ice breaker. Happy word building!

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