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Knight's Tour

No. of Players: 1+
Type of Game: written
What you need: pen and paper


To find words hidden in a grid of letters.

How to play

This game is essentially a type of Word Search. But instead of words being hidden in a grid of letters in straight lines, players spell out words by moving like a knight does on a chess board. Thus a player moves horizontally to a letter that is two letters away from that starting letter, and then one letter vertically; or else two letters vertically and one letter horizontally.

There is a bit of setup before this game can be played. One player – the gamemaster – creates a square grid, say 5×5 in size, and fills the 25 individual cells in such a way that another player is able to find words by moving through the grid like a knight. One point is awarded to the player for finding a word that the gamemaster intentionally hid, and five points for any word not on the gamemaster's list. If there are two or more players finding words, they take turns after successfully finding one. Once the players can no longer find words, the player with the most points is the winner and becomes the gamemaster.

Additional rules can be made, including challenging the gamemaster to create grids so that each letter is used at least once in a word, or prohibiting players from using a letter in a particular position two or more times in a single word. Grids can also be made by randomly filling them with letters. In which case players can challenge themselves to a solo game, or go head-to-head against others by making copies of the letter grids. Note: random fills work best if the resulting grid is filled with 25–33% vowels: A, E, I, O, U (and Y).

Example #1

A group of three players agree on 1 point for gamemaster list words, 5 points for off-list words, 2 additional points for a five-letter word, and 3 additional points for a six-letter word or longer. They will use a 5×5 grid.

Austin creates the grid and hides in it the words MAD, NOSE, DAM, SIN, TAD, TAR, RAT, RATS, CAR, CORE, CORD, LOSE, PACK, WAR, MAR, MARE, EAR, EARL, ADD, WARE, ARE, and LID:

knight's tour 5 by 5 grid of letters with more than 18 hidden words
Babs plays first, scoring 1 point by finding the word LOSE.
Conner plays next, scoring 1 point with EAR.
Babs scores 1 point with CAR.
Conner scores 5 points with SINCE, and 2 more points for its 5-letter length.
Babs scores 5 points with STAR.
Conner scores 5 points with MADDEN, plus 3 more points for its 6-letter length.

And so on.

Example #2

Rebecca finds herself alone in quarantine for a few days and decides to pass the time by randomly filling in a 5×5 grid with letters. She does this by opening a thick book to a random page and selecting the first 5-letter word she finds there. These five letters she then places in random positions in the grid. She repeats this entire process four more times until the entire grid is filled with letters. She begins to play.

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