Many people don’t think of Microsoft as a maker of word games but they are, after all, the distributors of Windows and they have made a number of cool ones. One of their best is Dabble, a quick game that will keep you coming back for daily challenges. This app combines word guessing with storytelling. Perfect for small groups and party or family game nights.
1. Words With Friends
Words With Friends is a free-to-play online multiplayer word game founded in 2009 that lets kids build words crossword puzzle style with friends or random opponents. It helps strengthen vocabulary and can provide hours of fun and mental stimulation.
One of the best tips to win Words With Friends is to think ahead a few turns. This will help prevent your opponent from forming high-point words and getting a boost in their score with the use of premium squares, such as triple word tiles or S.
Kids can also improve their chances of winning by using power-ups, which are available to purchase in the game. These include Hindsight, Word Radar, Swap+ and Get Word Clue. This free jigsaw puzzles helps them make higher scoring plays and connect their words better to the board.
2. 20 Questions
While this game does require a bit of strategy, it’s also fun and easy to play. One person thinks of an object, animal, place or person, and the rest of the players ask “yes” or “no” questions until they can guess what it is.
A popular category is famous people, although you can limit this to a specific time period or allow any kind of person. Another common question is ‘animal, vegetable or mineral?’, which uses the Linnaean taxonomy of the natural world to classify objects.
For something a little different try ‘fact or fiction’, a fast-paced game where everyone takes turns reading a statement and the other players have to guess whether it is fact or fiction. It’s best played with a lot of preparation beforehand though.
One player starts the game by whispering a word or phrase to another person. That person repeats what they hear to the next person, and so on until it reaches the last player, who says the phrase out loud. The final result is often hilarious, as the word or sentence can change a lot as it goes through each player.
The interplay between the hidden information and the area control is what makes this game stand out. Players back empires that they think will score well, but they also want to know what other players are doing because they might be able to steal their thunder with a strategic move or sudden shift in allegiance.
The only negative about this game is that it has a pay-to-play model, but the quality of gameplay more than makes up for it.
4. The Minister’s Cat
This Victorian parlour game involves describing the minister’s cat with adjectives starting with each letter of the alphabet. Players sit in a circle, and the first player begins by saying “The minister’s cat is a ____ cat.” Each subsequent player must describe the cat using an adjective that starts with the letter ‘a,’ for example, angry or admirable. The game continues until a player misses a turn or gets eliminated by repeating an adjective that has already been used.
This is a lightning-quick word game that requires clapping and timing. It’s also good for developing spelling and logical thinking skills. The last team to reach their goal wins. This is another game that can be enjoyed by a wide range of age groups. It takes a more literary approach to words than some of the other games on this list, and could be particularly useful for English literature students or teachers.
5. Alphabear 2
The sequel to Spry Fox’s 2015 word puzzler, Alphabear 2, is a cute, devilishly addictive English word game that starts off easy but gets much tougher as you progress. The rules are simple; tapping out words on a grid causes cute little teddies to appear. The more words you form and the bigger they are, the higher your end-of-round bonus.
Before each level, players select a bear that will boost their score or provide extra help in that specific challenge. Choosing the right bear for the task at hand is key: some will give bonus points to players who love putting an ‘s’ on the end of their words, while others can help beat timed challenges by adding an extra tile or extending existing ones.