The Greatest Word Board Games

Games that focus on words have a special place in my heart. Scrabble is one of the games that will always occupy a place of honor in my collection (not that I'm very good at it, mind you), and I'll play any of these games on a moment's notice.

  • 01 of 08


    Close up of Scrabble
    Liz West/Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

    For 2 to 4 players (best with 2 players), ages 8 and up. Designed by Alfred Mosher Butts, published by Hasbro.

    Some players study Scrabble, the grandfather of word games, like Garry Kasparov studies Chess. The Deluxe Edition boasts several worthwhile features, including a board that spins and holds letters in place. If you'd like to improve your Scrabble game, take a look at these resources for Scrabble players.

  • 02 of 08

    Apples to Apples

    Apples to Apples Game
    David Goehring/Flickr/CC By 2.0

    For 4 to 10 players, ages 8 and up. Designed by Mark Alan Osterhaus and Matthew Kirby, published by Out of the Box Publishing / Mattel.

    Who knew that two decks of cards -- nouns and adjectives -- could be this much fun? One player serves as the judge and lays down an adjective. The others scramble to find a noun in their hand which can be described by that adjective. The results are often outrageously funny. A junior edition is available.

  • 03 of 08


    Rich Brooks/ Flickr/ CC By 2.0

    For 2 or more players, ages 8 and up. Designed by Bill Cooke and Alan Turoff, published by Hasbro.

    Players compete to find as many words as possible in a 4x4 grid as a three-minute sand timer works its way down. You score points by finding words that other players don't locate. This game is fast-paced and addictive. The Folio Edition makes Boggle very travel-friendly.

  • 04 of 08


    Buyword game

    For 1 to 4 players, ages 10 and up. Designed by Sid Sackson, published by Face 2 Face Games.

    Published after the death of master game designer Sid Sackson, BuyWord challenges players to buy letters and then sell words at a profit. Naturally, the better letters cost more money. Players have to have good word skills, but it also helps to understand the concept of "buy low, sell high" in this game.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Pass the Bomb

    Pass the bomb game

    For 2 to 10 players, ages 10 and up. Designed by Los Rodriguez and Roger Heyworth, published by Piatnik / Venice Connection / Week End Games.

    A randomly timed "bomb" gets passed from player to player in this game, as they try to come up with words that include the letters on a face-up card. When the bomb "explodes," the player holding it gets the card, representing one negative point. A junior edition is available.

  • 06 of 08


    Typo game

    For 2 to 6 players, ages 10 and up. Designed by Corné van Moorsel, published by Cwali / University Games.

    Typo is a very clever word game. Players begin with a hand of 12 cards (each card has one letter), with five cards on the table. They then attempt to play their cards in such a way that they can expand the cards on the table to form part of a word.

  • 07 of 08

    Balderdash / Beyond Balderdash

    Balderdash game
    Christian Bucad / Flickr/ CC By 2.0

    For 2 to 6 players (best with 4 to 6 players), ages 12 and up. Designed by Laura Robinson and Paul Toyne, published by Mattel.

    Making up definitions for unusual words is the basis for this game. Expanding on the original Balderdash, Beyond Balderdash categories include words, people, initials, dates, and movie plots. The best bluffer wins.

  • 08 of 08

    For 2 to 4 players (best with 2 players), ages 8 and up. Designed by Elliot Rudell, published by Milton Bradley / Hasbro.

    A cousin of Scrabble, Upwords allows you to stack letters on top of existing words to build new ones. Scoring also is different -- each letter is worth the same, with some advantage to stacking them.