By Audrey Quinn
It’s the 2020s somehow and our world has been blessed with wondrous digital phenomena like Minecraft, Assassins Creed, Call of Duty, and others I’ve never played in my entire life but have heard my brother and various other hip, tech-savvy folks prattle on about.
If you, like me, are challenged by anything involving hand-eye coordination but love more “traditional” board games–especially those requiring creativity, imagination, and a fondness for writing and storytelling–then you may be interested in these seven wonderful word-based games.
Or maybe you’re more like my brother but your Xbox ran out of double A batteries so now you’re forced to entertain yourself without a TV and controller. Like in ye olden days.
Here are seven endlessly entertaining word games for the nerdiest of word nerds!
First invented in 1938, most folks are still familiar with this classic game. Players create words from letter tiles and can get competitive with double and triple letter and word tiles–encouraging strategic thinking, vocabulary expansion, and creative wordplay. An ideal game for writers!
Another classic word game, Taboo features cards with specific words on them that players attach to their foreheads using headbands. Starting with one player adorned with a forehead word, the other players try to describe the starting person’s word without using the word at all. The headbanded player has to guess what their word is.
Taboo strengthens communication skills, expands vocabulary (you have an advantage in this game if you know a lot of synonyms for different words!), and promotes creative thinking by forcing people to think of different ways to express ideas. All of these make it a splendid game for readers and writers of all backgrounds!
Another fantastic word game is Balderdash. Balderdash is a board game that features rare and obscure words. It’s based on an earlier board game, Fictionary.
In Balderdash, the player who’s the “dasher” draws a definition card with a word and its definition. They share the word, but not the definition, with the other players who then must each come up with a convincing definition for the word, whether or not they actually know what the word means.
The definitions are then shuffled and read aloud in random order. Points are based on writing correct definitions, guessing incorrect definitions, or not getting any of it right at all.
This game strengthens writing skills, encourages creativity, and develops storytelling skills (or, alternatively, the ability to lie convincingly if you don’t actually know what something means), making Balderdash a unique and engaging word-nerd game!
Story cubes is an adorable game in which all the players roll multiple die with different images on each side, and then create a story based on the images they rolled each turn.
Story Cubes encourages people’s imaginations to run wild, and hones storytelling skills. It’s a fantastic game for writers looking to overcome writer’s block, as well as people who are more inclined to think in pictures first before words!
Bananagrams is similar to Scrabble–with the difference that it doesn’t use a board. Players create words from tile letters just like in Scrabble, which requires quick thinking, strategy, and encourages vocabulary expansion.
The French storytelling game, Dixit, is a gorgeous and creative word nerd game.
Players are dealt six beautifully illustrated cards. One player is dubbed the “storyteller,” and must select one card from their hand and come up with a sentence that fits the picture on that card, which they share aloud with the other players.
The other players must then pick a card from their hand that best fits this sentence, and hand it over to the storyteller facedown. The storyteller shuffles these cards with the card they originally selected, and lays all of the cards face up along the board.
The non-storyteller players then vote for the card they think was the storyteller’s, and receive points if they guess correctly. The storyteller receives points if at least one player voted for their card correctly.
Dixit is an excellent game for writers and develops abstract thinking, imagination, and storytelling skills.
The last writing game on our list is Scattergories, which asks people to come up with original words or phrases that start with a particular letter and fit a specific category.
It’s a word-nerd game that expands people’s word association skills, lateral thinking, and creative abilities!
Try one of these seven fantastic word games at your next family game night, writer get-together, or historical reenactment for young people to experience what their ancestors did to entertain themselves before the advent of the digital age!
UPCOMING CLASSES YOU MIGHT LIKE!
Thurs March 28 | Learn to pen captivating songs in our March Write Club for Grown Ups with m5Vibe
March 11-April 15 | Learn to craft stories and narratives for games in this 6-week game writing class with Rosiee Thor
Feb 21-March 27 | Discover your inner voice and develop a nourishing journaling practice in this 6-week journaling workshop with Emma Stockman
Dec 9 | Join Nina Kiriki Hoffman to create a magical holiday story just for young writers!
Thurs Feb 29 | Learn to leave your readers laughing in our February Write Club for Grown Ups with Sarina Dorie.
Mondays Jan 22-Feb 26 | Develop confidence and authenticity reading your work aloud in this 6-week workshop with Jorah LaFleur