How to Play Scattergories

By Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor

This is a great group word game of quick thinking and originality. Just make a list of words falling under various categories that all begin with the same letter. Sound easy? There is a time limit, and you have to think of things nobody else does. So if your category is "colors" and the letter is "P," you'd better think of something other than pink. Try taking a chance on polar bear white or pale red - but only if you don't think of peach, pigment, purple or puce.

Pass out pencils, answer pads and category lists to each player.

Decide on a category list number by randomly picking one (don't peek at the list items).

Roll the letter die to reveal the key letter that all answers must begin with in round one.

Start the timer.

Fill in the first column of answers on your answer pad, starting each one with the key letter and making sure all of the answers fit the categories from the selected category list.

Stop writing immediately when the timer expires (about 2 1/2 minutes).

Read your answers aloud. All players do this for each numbered item on the list.

Challenge the answers of other players if you think they might not apply to the category or if they do not fit under the rules of play (see Tips, below).

Circle all answers on your list that are not used by anyone else and are not successfully challenged as unacceptable.

Score the round by writing the number of circled answers at the top of your list.

Repeat steps 3 through 10 (using the same category list) for two more rounds of play. Use the remaining columns on your answer pad for these two rounds. Three rounds complete a game.

Total the scores for the three rounds of play. The highest score wins the game - but don't stop now.

Start a new game by selecting a new category list. Be sure everyone is using the same list number.

Tip

If the same letter is rolled twice in the same game, roll again to get a different letter. The same player can't use the exact same answer more than once in a round. So you can't use "Violet" as a girl's name and as a flower in the same round. All players (even the one challenged) vote on the acceptability of a challenged answer. The majority rules. In case of a tie vote, the word is disallowed. Play a playoff round to resolve a tied score in any game. Scattergories Junior is available for ages 7 to 11, with lists scaled down to six kid-oriented categories.

Warning

The company cautions that the 20-sided letter die is heavy and may damage a tabletop. A die-rolling board is provided.