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


To make words from the letters in a word.

How to play

A long word is chosen at random, say by opening a book and selecting the first word encountered that is ten letters in length or more. Players then have a set time to write down as many words as they can using the letters in the chosen word. Letters can be used in any order to make new words. But a letter can be used in a new word only as many times as it appears in the chosen word. For example, from the word university a player can make invest but not nutty. Players receive a point for each word they find, or a point for each word they find that the other players have not found. Bonus points can also be awarded to players who find the longest words. The player with most points gets to choose the word for the next round, and the player with the highest point total after a set number of rounds have been played is declared the overall winner. Proper words are not permitted unless players agree to use them.

This game can also be played in reverse. See Keyword.


Angelina and Brady choose the word professional by opening a dictionary to a random page and selecting the first entry longer than ten letters. They agree to ignore short words in scoring: words that are 5 to 7 letters long they score with one point, words with 8 or more letters are worth three points, and the player(s) who finds the longest word is awarded a bonus of five points. They give themselves a ten minute time limit. Here are the words they found:

Angelina's list:

  • profession
  • painless
  • erosion
  • personals, personal
  • spinal
  • fairness
  • felons, felon
  • profile
  • aerofoil
  • profess
  • flips
  • finals, final
  • alpine
  • fires
  • proof, proofs
  • frailness
  • seafloors, seafloor
  • lifespans, lifespan

Brady's list:

  • profession
  • spans
  • lapse
  • saloons, saloon
  • apron
  • prisons, prison
  • slips
  • sopranos
  • seafloors, seafloor
  • poles
  • poisons, poison
  • erosion
  • pianos, piano
  • opens
  • snoop
  • passion
  • poisoners, poisoner
  • lifespan
  • sponsor
  • fossils, fossil
  • rifles, rifle
  • fleas
  • pools

Angelina and Brady had two different strategies. While Brady tried to find as many allowable words as possible (31 words: 7 have 8+ letters, 24 have 5–7 letters), Angelina focused on finding longer words (24 words: 11 have 8+ letters, 13 have 5–7 letters). In the end, Angelina's strategy wins out by one point, 51 to 50. Note that they both share the longest word found (profession) so they were each awarded an additional 5 points.

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