Scattergories

Scattergories is a word game first published in 1988 by Milton Bradley (MB). It has since become a popular goup game, especially for parties. It requires a good vocabulary and a quick mind. It's also extremely easy to learn and if played in the right spirit can provide plenty of laughter.

Scattergories

Buy Scattergories
Over the years many Scattergories has been available to buy in many versions - Junior, Bible, Super etc - as well as providing the basis for a short lived game show. In addition there are a number of sites that allow you to play online.

How to Play

Scattergories is a very simple game to play and the rules are very short.

The main game equipment consists of a special 20 sided die, each side showing one letter of the alphabet, and a set of category cards. In addition there is a timer and a set of notepads and "folders" to contain hold them.

Each category card contains four lists of twelve categories - for example Insects or Furniture. There are three unique cards for a total of twelve possible lists. Six copies of each card are provided to allow for up to six players.

A game consists of three rounds, each using the same list of categories - all players will use the same list which is chosen either at random or by mutual agreement.

For each round the letter die is rolled and the timer started. The players then attempt to write one example of each category that starts with the letter rolled. The objective is not to think of the most obvious name but one that no-one else will have. The initial "A", "An" or "The" of a phrase is not considered when determining the first letter. Thus "The White House" would be a building starting with W.

When the timer runs out (about 2 1/2 minutes) the die is rolled again and players attempt to fill out the same list of categories with the new letter.

After three rounds the players' lists are compared and each player scores a point for each valid word that no-one else wrote (this scoring system clearly makes it impossible to play Scattergories with only two people!).

There can sometimes be debate about whether an answer is valid. Since many of the categories involve proper nouns a dictionary is not always helpful. In this case players decide between themselves as to whether or not an answer is allowed.

Alliteration is encouraged. According to the official rules extra points are give where proper names use the key letter twice (eg "Peter Pan" is worth two points). Many players use this rule for any category of answer (eg "Coffee Cup" would score two points). Sometimes adjectives are also allowed (eg "Chipped Coffee Cup" for three points). These versions have the potential to result in much disagreement so it is essential that they be played in the spirit of fun with players applauded for their creativity.

Personalised Scattergories variants can easily be made with lists of categories tailored to the interests and knowledge of a particular group of friends.