Acrostics

Acrostics is a word building game where players must think up a series of words. Players should have reasonably good spelling and vocabulary skills.

Age: Adults and older children

No. of players: 2 or more

Equipment: Pen/pencil and paper for each player

Time: 5 minutes+

Aim: To write a set of words with the most letters within a given time limit.

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1. Players choose any word of 3 to 6 letters as the keyword. (Keywords should only include fairly common letters, since it is difficult to find words which end in Q, for example.) Each player writes the word down the left-hand side of their page and writes it up the right-hand side of their page, with enough room between the columns to fill in other words.

2. Each player then fills in the spaces within the column with a series of words that start with the letters from the left-hand column and end with the letters from the right-hand column. Players have three minutes to complete the words, one word for each letter in the keyword. Words should not include abbreviations, proper names or foreign words.

For example, assume the keyword is GAME.

    G  aug      E
    A  luminiu M
    M  illenni   A
    E  ndin     G

3. Players score one point for each letter. (Players score zero if they do not add letters between the letters in the keyword. For example, if the first and last letters are A and N, they cannot simply say their word is AN.) Use a dictionary to check any words which may be in dispute.
Using the example above, the player would score 5 points for GAUGE, 9 points for ALUMINIUM (note the Australian spelling is worth one more point than the American spelling), 9 points for MILLENNIA and 6 points for ENDING. Total = 29 points.

4. Play continues with a new keyword for each round. The overall winner of Acrostics is the player with the highest score at the end of play, which can be after a set number of rounds (say, five rounds) or after a given time (say, 30 minutes).

Alternative scoring: Any words which another player has also written down are not counted. This encourages players to think of less common words, although it makes it harder for children to compete against adults.

Variation: To make the game easier for younger children, they only have to write a series of words that start with the letters from the left-hand column.

Easter Acrostics: Click on the link for a number of printable Easter Acrostic sheets, from easy to medium/hard.


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