Am currently working on a book of games for educators. Here is a very incomplete list.



Word Mastermind (JOTTO)

Mastermind is a deductive game where players attempt to decipher the secret color code of the Codemaster.


In Word Mastermind the players try to determine the secret word, instead of the secret code of colored pegs.


The Codemasters write down a word on their piece of paper so no one else can see it. Standard Scrabble-style rules apply. No proper names are allowed.


Additionally, the secret word must consist of exactly five letters, and each letter can only appear once in the word. House is an acceptable word. Every is not allowed as it has the letter e twice.


All of the players on the guessing team have individual pieces of paper and a pen or pencil. Each codebreaker writes down the letters of the alphabet along the left column of the paper.


Players on the guessing team acquire clues by verbally submitting a five-letter word to the entire group. The same Scrabble restrictions apply, and duplicate letters in the guessing word are not allowed. Additionally, that player must spell the word and use it in a sentence.


The Codemasters provide two pieces of information after each guessed word. The first piece of information tells how many letters are in both the word that was guessed and the secret word, but are not in the same position in the two words. The second piece of information is how many letters are in common with both words, and the common letters are also in the same position.


Let's use the word house as an example for the secret word. The first guesser submits the word spare. The Codemasters respond that one letter in shared by both words but is not in the same position. Also both words share an additional letter in common, and that letter is in the correct position. Written, the answer would be 1 – 1. The first column indicates how many letters are shared by both words but are not in the same position. The second number tells the guessers how many letters are in common and share the same position(s).


The final response the Codemasters provide when a player has guessed the word would be 0 - 5, indicating that the guessed word and the secret word have five letters in common, and all five letters are in the correct position.



Two or three players leave the room and become the guessers.


While the guessers are out of earshot, the group comes up with a verb. Remember that verbs are action words. Make sure everyone agrees and understands what the chosen verb is. Let's say that the verb is drink. The guessers come back, and try to figure out which verb the group has chosen.


Guessers acquire clues by asking yes-and-no questions. Whenever guessers come to the verb in their question, they substitute the word coffeepot. "Can you coffeepot outdoors?" might be an opening question.


Everyone in the group mentally substitutes the chosen verb (drink) for the word coffeepot, and answers the question. In this case, the answer is, "yes."


It turns out that the verb coffeepot is a regular verb and needs to be conjugated that way. Should the guessers ask a question in the past tense the verb would be coffeepotted.


Guessers are allowed to ask the entire group, or selected individuals.



A set of tiles from a Scrabble Brand Word Game works well for this game. If you don’t have a set, you can always create your own with 3 X 5 cards.


Pass around a bag of Scrabble tiles. Each player picks two tiles. That player has to come up with a word that begins with one of the chosen letters and ends with the other. The player can decide which letter to begin with.


For a more competitive version have the group divide up into two teams. Everyone should have a clear line of sight into the center, where the tiles will be shown.


Each team selects one champion to be the representative for one round. The two champions come forward to meet in the “Alpha-Omega Battle Arena of Words.”


Both champions each pick a tile from the bag. They simultaneously turn the tiles over, revealing the letters.


The goal is to come up with a word that begins and ends with the two letters. The players can decide which letter they would like to use at the beginning of the word, and which letter ends the words.


If a tile with “N” appears, along with a tile with a “D,” the word might be “DEN.” Equally as valid would be “NOD,” or any word that begins and ends with the two exposed letters.


All the players can participate in coming up with a word. It doesn’t have to come from the champion.


Score a point for that round to the side that came up with the word.
Depending on the level of the players, you may want to make a four or five letter minimum.


An option is to reward longer words by scoring a point for each letter in the word. In the round above, DENIZEN would score seven points for the team that came up with it, rather than just the three points of NOD or DEN. Of course, the timing is critical. Does a team want to risk not receiving any points, by losing the round because it chose to try for a longer word? The strategy can be interesting.


Another option is to have each round last for a designated time. Each team has, for example, sixty seconds to write down as many words as they can. They only requirement is that each word begins and ends with the two letters.


Team Boggle

Divide the group into equal teams.


Pass a bag of Scrabble tiles around the room. Each player takes one or two tiles. Write down all of the letters on the blackboard.


Each team has a set amount of time to write down as many words as they can. They are limited to just the letters that are on the board. The letters do not have to be contiguous, as in Boggle, but they must have been chosen from the bag. For example, teams cannot write down the word three unless there are two instances of the letter e on the board.


Teams take turns reading from their lists. A team scores a point of their list includes a word that no other team has. If two or more teams have the same word no points are awarded to anyone. Everybody crosses out that word


Plurals, past tenses, and other add-ons to words count as separate words. For example, the word talk is considered a different word than talks, talked, or talking.


An option is to award additional points for longer words. Depending on the level of the group, you may want to set the limit at words of four letters or more. Unique words of four letters score a point for that team. Unique words of five letters score two points.


Count to Ten

All people have to do to play this game successfully is be able to count from one to ten, and be sensitive to their fellow players. The goal is for the group to count out loud the numbers from to X. X is the total number of the players. Sound simple? The added challenge is that no two players can speak at the same time. If two or more players say the same number, at the same time, then the group has to begin again with the number one.



First player thinks of a word, then gives the clue, I m thinking of a word that rhymes with blue . Any player thinks of a possible word, and asks a question, without using the word. Is it fresh and young?  First player answers by figuring out the rhyme: No, it s not new . If It can t think of the rhyming word of a question, s/he must reveal her word. Crambo can also be played by teams.


Dumb Crambo

Divide group into two teams. One team, the guessers, leaves the room. The other team comes up with the secret word. They also agree on a clue word that rhymes with the hidden word. The guessers come back and hear what the secret word rhymes with. Guessers then mime what they think the word might be. Other team is allowed to hiss if the mime is incorrect, or applaud if the mime is correct.


In the Manner of the Adverb

Adverbs modify verbs. They can also modify other adverbs, but that doesn t apply to this game. Oh, yes, adverbs usually end in ly.  Two or three detectives leave the room. While out of earshot, the group agrees on the same adverb. The detectives  goal is to deduce which adverb the group has chosen. Detectives acquire clues by asking the member s of the group to act out any type of action. All participants will not only readily do so, they will act out the requested verb, in the manner of the adverb that they have chosen. Detectives may chose to ask group members to shake hands. If the adverb were slowly, all the players would shake hands very slowly. Asked to tie their shows, all members would willingly bend down and tie their shoes. Of course, they wouldn t be in a hurry to do it. Generally, detectives ask the entire group to act out verbs in the manner of the adverb. It is possible to ask smaller subsets to carry out specific actions.


Name Five

This is a naming game, instead of a guessing game. Players take turns making and meeting challenges. The challenges come of the form of being able to name specific items with various categories.


This Is My Nose

This is a game about body parts. It's also a great game to teach listening skills. The first player in the circle points to a part of his body, turns to the person next to him, and boldly announces, This is my nose.  What s strange is that he was pointing to his wrist. The receiving player only pays attention to what was said, however. She immediately points to her nose, turns to the next player, and just as confidently explains that This is my ear.  Each player must correctly point to what s/he heard, not what she saw, and say a completely different part of the body to the nexts player


Three-Syllable Game

Have everyone sit in a big circle, facing in. Invite two or three players to leave the room to become guessers. Don t worry about filling in the gaps around the circle. While the guessers are gone, all the players in the circle decide on a three-syllable word. Divide the circle of players into three sections. Each section is assigned one syllable of the three-syllable word. Invite the guessers back into the room. The guessers then ask all of the players what the secret word is by counting to three. At the count of three everyone in the group yells out her/his syllable, at the same time. The guessers task is to unscramble the rush of sounds, and figure out the secret word.


Bird, Beast, or Fish

Divide the group into two teams. Each team sends one champion to receive instructions from the zookeeper. The zookeeper decides on a specific bird, beast, or fish for both of the champions to act out for their teammates. The two champions return to the area in front of their teams. Once there, the champions independently act out the specific creature for that round. The players on team A can only watch Champion A. Team B players can only get clues from Champion B. At any time a player can make a guess by calling out the name of a bird, beast, or fish. Even while pantomiming behavior of the assigned bird, beast, or fish, the champion must listen carefully. If the champion hears the name of the correct creature from teammate, she quickly walks back to tag the zookeeper. The first champion to tag the outstretched hand of the zookeeper wins a point for that team. Two new champions are chosen for the next round. The game continues until everyone has had a chance to be a Champion.


War Tag

The classic card game War pits two opponents against each other to see who plays the highest card. Players simultaneously turn over the top card from their decks. The player with the highest card wins that round and captures the opponent s card. The winner is the person who ends up with the entire deck. A more active version of this game has each player holding and representing one card. Each round also becomes a quick game of tag. Divide the group into two teams. Deal out the cards, one card per player. The players are not allowed to look at their cards, or show them to anybody else. Shuffle the cards by having all of the players mill around in a random order with their teammates. The two teams line up facing each other, about five steps apart. The two players from the front of each line step forward into the arena. On the count of three both of the players reveal their cards. The game then turns into a game of tag. The winner of that round, the warrior with the highest card tries to tag the other player before she makes it back to her line. The loser tries to run back to her line without being tagged. A successful tag captures that player and her card for the winning team. A player who makes it back to her line without being tagged remains on his original team.



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Date Website Was Last Updated: July 2, 2019