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Arrow Letters

No. of Players: 2
Type of Game: written
What you need: pen and paper


To construct words starting with a string of four letters.

How to play

Players alternately write a letter inside a circle. These circles are connected to each other by arrows and run in a horizontal line. None of these letters can be the same. Once a four-letter word is constructed, players take turns to try to form additional words by adding letters one-by-one to the four-letter string. These letters must be different from the letters already used. The newly constructed words are indicated by arrows connecting the circled letters. Players receive one point for each letter in their new words. Arrows cannot cross one another, and words are only made in the direction of the arrows. No two letters can be joined by more than one arrow, and no more than four arrows can point to, or away from, any one letter. No points are awarded for words within larger words (e.g., a player can receive points for CREDIT, but no points for RED or IT). The game ends when players can no longer form new words by adding previously unused letters. (Note that this game has a natural end point since there are 26 letters in the alphabet, but in practice the game ends far sooner.) The player with the most points at the end is the winner.


Angela places a C in a circle, then Bill adds a circled A, then Angela adds R and Bill adds S. The arrow-lettered word spells out CARS and looks like this:

word CARS in circles with arrows

Angela first thinks of the word SCAR, but realizes that it doesn't add a letter and that words within words are not permitted. She then adds the letter M to make the word SCAM. This earns her 4 points:

word SCAM in circles with arrows

Bill adds a T to make the word ARTS for 4 points:

word ARTS in circles with arrows

Angela adds P to make the word SCAMP for 5 points:

word SCAMP in circles with arrows

Bill first thinks of PAN, but realizes that is not permissible because that would attach more than 4 arrows to the letter A. He then thinks of the word PARTY, so he adds Y for 5 points:

word PARTY in circles with arrows

Angela first adds an O to spell COP for 3 points:

word COP in circles with arrows

Then Bill adds K to spell PARK for 4 points:

word PARK in circles with arrows

Angela and Bill cannot think of adding any more letters that would not violate the rules, so they add up their points. Angela acknowledges that Bill is the winner, since he has 13 points while she has 12.

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