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arrow encircling the word encircle
No. of Players: 2+
Type of Game: written
What you need: pen and paper


To make words by encircling letters with other letters.

How to play

One player creates a large empty grid and then opens a book to a random page. The letters from the first sentence on that page are then written into the central core of the grid. For instance, 9 letters would be needed for a 9×9 grid, and 12 letters for a 12×12 grid. All players then take turns adding a letter of their choosing in an attempt to form one or more words, which can run horizontally, vertically or diagonally. One point is awarded for each letter of the formed word, two points for each letter of any second word formed, three points for letters of a third word, etc. If a player cannot form a word, a letter is still added to keep the game moving. The game ends when the central core letters are completely encircled with other letters (i.e., the entire grid is filled in). The player with the most points is declared the winner.


Alberta randomly opens a history book and notes the first sentence she encounters there: "They had been...". Since she created a 9×9 grid, she places the first 9 letters of that sentence into the central core, like so:

9x9 grid filled in with 9 letters in its center

Belinda goes first, adding an N to form two words, THEN and BAN (or NAB):

9x9 grid filled in with 10 letters in its center

To maximize her points, she considers the longer 4-letter word the second word, which earns her 8 points. The first word earns her 3 points, for a total of 11 points.

Cole then adds a D two places below the N to form HAD and BED, scoring 9 points.

The next 6 rounds might produce the words SHY & SHY(9), NOD(3), DOE(3), HEN(3), THEY(4), DYE(3), DYES(4), DIE(3), DIED(4), EYE(3), ASHY & AN(10), and SAD & YEA(9) so that Belinda widens her early lead and puts herself on the path to victory as the grid becomes more and more filled up:

9x9 grid filled in with 23 letters in its center

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