Friday, April 23, 2021

Time for Fun – Three Favorite Word Games for Writers

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Are you sick of COVID (no pun intended), Cancel Culture, politics, shutdowns, shortages, quarantine, isolation, social distancing, and MASKS?


Me too. It’s been a weighty, serious, fun-stealing year. 


During Week Five of the lockdown, friends from Louisiana texted my husband and me to ask if we’d like to play a game on Zoom. Through an elaborate set up that included two iPhones, an over-the-table light fixture, and several pipe cleaners, they had figured out a way to display the gameboard of a new game so socially-distant family and friends could play the game “together.” 


We had so much fun playing with them that we ordered the game, duplicated the setup, and invited friends and family from all over the country to play with us. Having a social and creative outlet brightened our otherwise dreary isolation.


Social restrictions are easing up, but we still take the writing life way too seriously. I thought it would be fun to take a break from all the platform-building, agent-finding, contract-seeking, social-media-wrestling aspects of the business and just have fun.


If you’re a logophile, a lover of words, allow me to share three favorite games guaranteed to test your linguistic creativity and inspire your thinking. If you’re a logomaniac, a person who is obsessively interested in words, you’ll want to buy them all and throw a party—outdoors, of course.



My favorite new game, the one our Louisiana friends introduced us to, is CodeNames. This barnburner of a game has 15,665 five-star ratings on Amazon. Here’s a snippet of Amazon’s description: “Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the table. Their teammates try to guess words of their color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin. The game works very well with four players if you prefer to guess without help. Or you can add more players if you prefer lively discussion.”


Codenames forces you to think creatively and take risks, two skills necessary to succeed as a writer. Suitable for ages 14 and above.



I’ve often described Bananagrams as Scrabble on steroids. Like Scrabble, players use tiles to form words. The person who uses all their tiles wins. But this is where the similarity ends. With 14,208 five-star ratings, “Bananagrams is the award-winning word game that needs no pencil, paper, or board. Players race against each other to build crossword grids and use all their letter tiles first.” The game comes in a banana-shaped pouch so is great for travel and is perfect for everyone 7 and up.


I enjoy playing Bananagrams because I can play it with wordsmiths of all ages and levels. You don’t have to have an extensive vocabulary or spelling ability to win. I was once beaten by an opponent faithfully stringing together three- and four-letter words while I waited in vain for a Q so I could spell quintessential.



I can’t list fun word games without mentioning the classic game of Taboo. Complete with a noisy buzzer to call players out, this game requires an extensive vocabulary of synonyms. Players try to get teammates to say the Guess word on the card without using any of the forbidden words in the clues. The first team to fifty wins.


Taboo is the perfect training for those times when you discover you’ve used the same word three times in a paragraph and need to substitute synonyms for two of the three. It’s fast-paced, noisy, and brain-stretching. Ages 13 and up. Four or more players.


If 2020-21 has stolen some of the fun from your life, why not push back by breaking out your favorite word game or trying one of these? Having fun with words might stimulate the Muse, jumpstart your creativity, and teach you a synonym or two. Best of all, it will make you laugh. 


And we all know laughter’s the very best medicine.


If you’d like to join the conversation, please leave a comment sharing your favorite word game. I’m always looking for the next linguistic adventure.


Time for Fun - Three Favorite Word Games for Writers - @LoriHatcher 2 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lori Hatcher loves God even more than she loves chocolate—and that’s a lot. Since He saved her at age 18, she’s been on a relentless journey to know and love Him more. Her deepest desire is for her others to join her on the journey. As an author, blogger, and women’s ministry speaker, she writes for Our Daily Bread, Guideposts, Revive Our Hearts, She’s written three devotional books, including Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible, and Hungry for God…Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women. Connect with her at or on FacebookTwitter (@lorihatcher2) or Pinterest (Hungry for God).


  1. Lori, you're talking my language! We love games in our home. We discovered Upwords, a variant of Scrabble, that we enjoy. We also like word exercises that can be played by one person Some favorites are crossword puzzles, "Spelling Bee" on the NY Times puzzle page, and the "Seven Little Words" app. I also like the "Elevate" app It has little challenges in different categories.

  2. What great ideas to spark creativity and have fun!

  3. I've heard about CodeNames. I'll have to check it out!