Word games. Some people cringe at the thought, while others are gung-ho about them. Teachers love them. Students often hate them. But what comes to mind when you think of “word game”? For me, and I think many others, “Scrabble” is the first thing to pop into our mind. It is the classic word game. But games of spelling are only one type of word game, and even “spelling” games have many subcategories.
Word games can largely be divided into 3 categories:
1.) Spelling games
2.) Word Association games
3.) Sentence Building games
Spelling games are what most people think about when they hear “word game”. Scrabble, Upwords, Bannanagrams, Boggle, Spill & Spell, Razzle, Snatch It… the list goes on and on. These are all games where the main goal is to create words using individual letters. Points may be awarded by either making the longest words or by making words the quickest. While the manner of doing this might vary from game to game, the goal is always the same.
Word Association games are the next biggest category of game and are becoming more prevalent. The most popular game currently in this category is “Apples to Apples”, where players attempt to match up cards listing nouns with a card that lists an adjective to create an accurate or funny connection that a judging player will choose. There are a couple other games with this same theme, such as the T-Shirt Game, but Apples to Apples is clearly the Goliath among Davids. Similarly there are other word association games, such as “In a Pickle” which forces players to think outside of the box to decide what will fit inside of what.
Lastly there are sentence building games. This is a category of game that I find fascinating, and sadly far and few between. Zing! is a great example of this kind of game. In this game you place word tiles on the board, of varying levels of complexity, in order to make a sentence. Each sentence created is a continuation of a story, with often extremely funny outcomes (or given the use of analogies, and the right group of people, has the potential to become rather adult very quickly).
So next time someone asks if you would like to play a word game, and your mind immediately turns to Scrabble, stop and inquire about the game. You may find yourself graced with a different kind of word game.
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