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Word Search / Finding the Best Word Game
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Oregon
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Somewhere out there exists the ultimate Word Game. I don't know whether it will turn out to be a form of Scrabble or something like Apples to Apples or perhaps even a game such as Boggle. It is out there somewhere though.

I like words and language. I like games. Therefore, I must like word games, right? I've tried a few and been more than a little disappointed by some, however, I keep hoping I can find the right one.

Help me find it. I'll list the top ten Word Games as sorted by Overall Rank on the Geek. In instances where I have played said game, I will comment on it briefly and I would hope that you choose to do the same. After that, the list is open for additions, if you think you know of a better word game that does not fall into the top ten please add it and comment on it. Tell me how it works and why you think it is better than the others. Point me in the right direction.

Note: Where a game is represented in more than one version (i.e., Apples to Apples and Apples to Apples Jr.) I have allowed the higher ranked version to stand in for all subsequent versions and included the next unique game in the list.
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1. Board Game: Paperback [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:398]
Hunter Bennett-Daggett
United States
Portland
OR
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This game, currently on Kickstarter, combines deckbuilding mechanics with a card-based word game. Initial reviews indicate that it works well, and I'm really excited about the way being able to "buy" new letters/cards will allow you to avoid the luck-of-the-draw issues with Quiddler, our current favorite word game. The art and theme of writing a novel are clever, too. Check it out!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fowers/paperback-a-novel...
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2. Board Game: Beyond Balderdash [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:857]
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A bluffing game based on creating believable definitions to obscure words. Which is fine, I enjoy learning new words and the creative excercise in creating false definitions seems like a fun idea. I am reminded of a little book co-written by Douglas Adams called 'The Meaning of Liff'. He assigned odd place names to common everyday experiences which seem to have no name.

Aside from that, although I have never played it, it seems very much a party game and suited best for larger groups of people than the usual one or two I have to play with.
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3. Board Game: Big Boggle [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1119]
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A larger version of Boggle. Visually sift through the letters and try to pick out words that can be spelled with what you see. The shortcoming seems to be that it is very vocabulary dependent. If the people you are playing against have a more limited vocabulary than you do you should be able to outscore them handily. If you end up having the smaller vocabulary then you struggle to keep up. As far as expanding your vocabulary as you play the game I don't think that it would work so well. The time it would take to really add new words to your vocabulary would slow this down.
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4. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1138]
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Scrabble is sort of the Grand Daddy of Word Games. I like it well enough with the right sorts of people. If you are the sort who has memorised the Scrabble Dictionary, you probably aren't the person I want to play with. However, if you have a good working vocabulry and you are fairly relaxed about the whole thing, then we will be fine. I've enjoyed many games of Scrabble against some of the kids I work with. Usually we pair up each kid that wants to play with an adult and go about things that way. The words are on the board long enough for people to learn new ones and, if need be, the dictionary is near by for definitions. On the whole, not too bad when played for fun.
 
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5. Board Game: Bananagrams [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:1235]
Steve Kearon
United Kingdom
Cardiff
Wales
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I'm not much of a word-game fan, but I played this a couple of months ago, and the other players all enjoyed it.

Chunky bakelite tiles with letters are scattered face down on the table. Each player takes a bunch and races to make a crossword of legitimate words. When they've finished, they call "pull" and everyone has to take another tile to incorporate into their crossword. When no tiles are left in the middle, the first to call gets their crossword checked - if all words are OK, they win. If there's an error, they lose and all their letters go back into the middle, and remaining players continue.
 
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6. Board Game: Taboo [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1362]
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Taboo is not only a party game, it is a team party game. That means my chances of playing this are slim from the get go. That and it's premise of guessing a particular word based on uncommon clues doesn't really make this the sort of Word Game I look for.
 
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7. Board Game: Attribute [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1627]
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Attribute is nearly the reverse of Apples to Apples. In Apples you get an adjective or adverb and have to match a noun in your hand to it. In Attribute you make up a noun and the other players have to match their cards containing adverbs or adjectives to it, or alternately, not match them depending on what indicator card they have. Then everyone tries to figure out what everyone else tried to do and score points for correct matches and avoiding losing points for incorrect matches. This can make for some really crazy associations and I have often lauighed while playing. But, again, not so much about the words as it is about how someone else's brain works.
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8. Board Game: Apples to Apples [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:1804] [Average Rating:6.10 Unranked]
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Apples to Apples is an okay game in my book. It isn't particularly brilliant and relies too much on who you are playing it with to be fun all the time. With the right crowd though it can be a fun and even funny game. My biggest contention with Apples to Apples though is that it isn't so much a game about Words as it is a game about the associations we make with Words in our own minds. Half the fun is in seeing how someone else's brain works and that IS fun to me. It isn't what I am looking for when I think of Word Games.
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9. Board Game: Scattergories [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:1865]
Danielle Anner
United States
Orchard Park
New York
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“A sense of humor...is superior to any religion so far devised.” ― Tom Robbins
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Best word game evar? Matter of opinion of course.

To play, you roll that big die over there and fill out a list that requires you to use the same letter for each of your answers.
For instance, if the letter is "B" and one of the categories is "Sports," alot of answers come to mind.

However, what I enjoy about Scattergories is that you only score if you have picked a unique answer that none of your opponents has. It forces you to be creative and use your knowledge and command of the language.

I enjoy "agonizing" over whether to go with Baseball, Badminton or Bowling... what will the other people pick?

Fast playing party game.
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10. Board Game: Unspeakable Words [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:1969]
Senor EvilMonkey
United Kingdom
Canterbury
Kent
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Well here's another offering that definitely ISN'T the ultimate wordgame (so we may find it yet by a process of elimination?!)

It's almost fun as a family party game, as the D20 adds an extra element of randomness meaning kids have a chance of winning. However, it is precisely the same D20 that is making me start to hate this game...

The mini Cthulhus are cute tho
 
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11. Board Game: BuyWord [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2087]
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I've not played this one. I'm told it is a good game, but there seem to be a lot of additional complication to it that I may, or may not, enjoy. Is this the Word Game I am looking for? I don't know, you tell me.
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12. Board Game: Cranium Hoopla [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:2115]
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Another party game that isn't about the words so much as the activity of the people trying to get you to guess the words. The words you try to guess are merely the things you get to act silly about. I don't mind acting silly, but when looking for Word Games this doesn't fit the bill.
 
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13. Board Game: Quiddler [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:2371]
Dave Wilson
United States
Pleasanton
California
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Quiddler is rummy with letters. It's not perfect, but it makes for a nice, relaxing exercise in anagramming. Yeah, I'm sure in some cases you will benefit from memorizing the "crap words" (see my comments on the Scrabble entry), but somehow this game doesn't warrant that kind of fanaticism. Often in our games it kind of devolves into a cooperative affair, where everyone tries to help the one player with a particularly gnarly hand of cards (unless, of course, that player's in the lead ). Not intense, certainly, and again, not perfect, but for me, it fills its niche well.
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14. Board Game: Articulate! [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2401]
Senor EvilMonkey
United Kingdom
Canterbury
Kent
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This is a word game that is almost bordering on a Trivia game (as some knowledge of the article/person/event that you are attempting to describe makes things a LOT easier). Like many seemingly simple games, this one can be played on a number of levels, depending on who you are playing with. The basic idea is you are describing a character or place or similar and the first team to correctly identify the item on the card wins the turn. But, in order to try and ensure that it is your team that gets the answer you can use clues or lateral thinking to try and tailor your hints to members of your own team. So instead of simply describing the item on your card in basic terms, you can use your knowledge of language and fellow players to specifically target your team.

For example, were you to draw a card with 'World War I' on it, you could either say "fighting in the trenches and mud at the Somme and all that kinda business" which most people would probably realise is your waffling attempt at describing WWI. Or, you could try "a super conflict" and hope that the military boffin on your team will realise that you're hinting at the 'Great War'. You could even slip in seemingly random comments, but with a knowing look at a team mate, such as "I'm trying to think how to explain this without going 'over the top lads' but my mind is getting bogged down, like wading through mud".

 
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15. Board Game: Montage [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:2618]
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This seems interesting. It seems to be equal parts word construction and code breaking. Again, not one I have played but it certainly seems to have potential. How about it?
 
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16. Board Game: Password [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:2655]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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Password is about as stripped-down a word game as you can get. There's a secret "password" which your partner tries to get you to say by saying one word. For instance, if the password is "triangle," your partner might say "isosceles...." Or if the password is "morose," your partner might say "sad." You only get one guess at the password, and if you're wrong, the other team gets to say one clue word and have the partner take one guess at the password, and so on, with the points diminishing from a starting point of 10 with each additional clue given.

One nice thing is that you don't even have to sit at a table to play Password. You can loll about on comfy furniture or even play while riding in a car. You do need exactly four players.

You don't especially have to be able to spell, but a good command of English will certainly help.
 
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17. Board Game: Haste Worte? [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:2800]
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Seems to be another party style game, though I could be wrong. Also does not seem to be available in English. Combines word association with bidding and may be interesting. What can you tell me?
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18. Board Game: Facts in Five [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:2994]
Scott Caputo
United States
Santa Clara
California
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Before there was Scattergories, there was Facts in Five, and in many ways, I like Facts in Five better than Scattergories. The players get to create the categories (based on the guidance from some cards), and the player is trying to fill out a 5x5 grid of categories and letters. It's always a fun challenge. There's not a whole lot of interaction, but I still find this game compelling.
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19. Board Game: Typo [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:3075]
Richard Pardoe
United States
San Ramon
California
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A word game for those who might be afraid of word games. One advantage, one need only form the start of a word, making this a bit easier to approach then perhaps Scrabble where all the letters are needed to place a word on the board.
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20. Board Game: Snatch [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:3556]
John Farrell
Australia
Aspley
Queensland
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This game is very similar to Milleranagrams and some others I can't remember right now. There's a pool of letters that everyone is trying to make anagrams from and you can steal other people's words. With smart people it could be a party game.
 
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21. Board Game: Pick Two! [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:3723]
John Farrell
Australia
Aspley
Queensland
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A game where players build crosswords simultaneously. I found it to be very intense and encouraged me to think of the same sorts of words as Scrabble. I didn't need so many crap words as there were no points to be gained from laying words parallel to others.
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22. Board Game: Upwords [Average Rating:5.71 Overall Rank:4269]
John Farrell
Australia
Aspley
Queensland
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Upwords doesn't reward short words as much as Scrabble does, but the board is smaller so a lot of the time you're dealing with 5 or 6 letter words. Once the board gets cramped (there are 100 spaces and 100 tiles, compared to Scrabble which has 225 spaces for 100 tiles) the only way to go is up. At that point you have to think about how you can modify words already on the board which is a nice way to think.
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23. Board Game: Hit or Miss [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:4386]
Sue Hemberger

Washington
Dist of Columbia
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We've had a lot of fun with this one lately. Encourages thinking outside the box and provokes lots of laughter/conversation as you discover that your sense of what's obvious and what's obscure is quite different from others'. In our experience, it plays well with mixed ages (unlike, say, Facts in Five).
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24. Board Game: Palabra [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:4441]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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I do not like word games. I would play just about anything over a word game. But my wife likes word games, and my friends like word games.

A really good friend, knowing I'm into games, gave me Palabra as a gift. He says it's the finest word game he's ever played, and he plays it regularly on his lunch hour.

I've only played it once and I found it tolerable, which is more than I can say for some other word games. I will probably even give it a try again. So maybe this is the word game you are looking for...
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25. Board Game: A to Z [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:4442]
Sue Hemberger

Washington
Dist of Columbia
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Fun game with a few mechanisms that handicap the leader. You get a category and a time limit and have to think of words that fit the category and start with different first letters. Only letters you haven't covered in previous turns are playable. On some rolls, a player gets to remove tokens from another player's board through the same mechanism.

Avoid A to Z jr at all costs. Dire categories. Regular A to Z works fine with kids.
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