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Word Snakes

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


To write down chosen words before the other player.

How to play

Players agree on two related categories (for example, states and cities, or food and beverages). They each select one category and list six words that fall in that category. These lists they keep to themselves. A word is then chosen at random (for example, the first word heard when the TV or radio is turned on) and this word is written vertically on a piece of paper. Players take turns writing words from their secret list, connecting the first or last letters vertically or horizontally to the first or last letters of those words already on the paper. If they cannot add a word from their secret list, they write another word that falls in their chosen category. Players cannot use the same word twice. The player who writes down all six words from their list is the winner. A player who cannot think of a word to write loses the game.


Ana and Bruce decide on the categories Birds and Animals. Ana writes down the following birds in her secret list: heron, finch, sparrow, pigeon, parrot, and buzzard. Bruce's list of animals is deer, tiger, rat, otter, rabbit, and raccoon. They select a random word from a book (summer), and write it vertically on their shared paper. Ana first connects sparrow to summer, then Bruce connects rat to summer, and so on. After a few rounds, Ana is declared the winner since she is the first to connect all six of her words. She was helped by the fact that she only needed to add one additional word (woodpecker) that was not on her list, compared to Bruce who had to add two (ferret and baboon). The finished gameboard looks like this:

image of words connected vertically and horizontally by the first and/or last letters

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