Word Games for the Road

Welcome (back) to Amaze-ing Words Wednesday where we enter the labyrinth of language together and follow the scarlet thread to find our way around.

Down here in Texas, school is either out or almost out! While it isn’t officially summer yet, plenty of people will be hitting the roads in the next few months seeking enlightenment, relaxation, or fun. Whether you’re going on a trip to tour museums or amusement parks, you might need something to keep you entertained while in the car.

Summer road trip, here we come!

So here are some Word Games for the Road! Try something from the following list as a fun travel game with your friends or family. If they refuse to cooperate, tell them you aren’t stopping for a bathroom until they agree. Then make as many references as possible to water, rain, lakes, rivers, etc. until they can’t stand it anymore and conclude that a word game sounds like a lovely idea!

I love my love. The first person starts by saying, “I love my love with an A because he/she is __________.” The blank is filled in an adjective that begins with the letter A. The next player must say, “I love my love with a B because he/she is ___________.” Then C, then D, and so on. When a player cannot answer appropriately, he/she is eliminated. The last player left wins.

Example: I love my love with an A because she is amorous.” “I love my love with a B because he is bold.” “I love my love with a C because he is crazy.” Of course, time to respond is short, or you’re out. And letters like Q, X, and Z will be particularly challenging.

from The Fun Encyclopedia, E.O. Harbin, 1940

Name that lyric. Have you heard of Name That Tune? In that game, one player hums a tune and others try to guess the correct song. The first one to do so wins that round. But what about lyrics? Try a round of Name That Lyric instead. One player speaks lyrics from a verse or chorus of a song, and the first player to guess the correct song (full title) wins the round.

Examples: “Ground control to Major Tom.” I don’t know about you, but I’d have that one after the two words “ground control.” However, “I heard that you’re settled down, that you found a girl, and you’re married now” would take me a while (Adele, Someone Like You). Of course, this game is only fair if you select songs that most of you would have a shot of knowing. Still, my siblings or childhood friends and I could have a fabulous time with a round of lyrics using songs from way back when (Are You a Child of the 80’s?).

Progressive Poetry. The first person begins the poem by any line he/she chooses. Each successive player adds a line to form couplets (or more). Example:

We drive all day and drive all night.
We try to avoid a fight.
But Johnny is touching me.
And I don’t have enough room for my knee!

At least, that’s what it might sound like in my car. You must give each person a little time to think of something, but you might come up with some silly lines and enjoy seeing what you all can create. (You could also vary this into a rap song.)

from The Fun Encyclopedia, E.O. Harbin, 1940

The Alphabet Game. Using signs of all kinds (road signs, billboards, business names on buildings, etc.), find words that begin with the letters of the alphabet. First, find a word that begins with A, then B, then C, etc. Each player must call out the word they are using since each word found can only be used by one player.

For instance, if a sign says “La Quinta,” only one player can get that Q word, and other players must find another sign with a Q word if they are on that letter. In addition, each player can only pull one word from each sign, so if you saw “Acme Bricking Company,” you cannot do A, B, C in a row; you can have the A and find another sign with a B word. License plates don’t count, but players can decide ahead of time whether bumper and window stickers and manufacturer and brand names on cars will be accepted. Players must go in order, and the first to find words with each letter wins.

from my sister, and I don’t know where she got it

Categories. The first player chooses a category, and players take turns naming items within that category until they run out. For example, if the category is cartoon characters, you might hear SpongeBob, Bugs Bunny, Mighty Mouse, and other such names. The category can be anything, such as Disney movies, songs by David Bowie, shoe brand names, words for stupidity (believe me, there are a lot), video game titles, etc. You can play such that the player who gets stuck is eliminated, or just keep the play going for fun.

from Family Road Trip: 10 Word Games to Play

Questions Only. Have everyone in the car act out a scene — with dialogue only, of course. The catch is that everything must be worded as a question. You start with two players talking back and forth in questions. When one makes a statement, stumbles, or hesitates, he/she is replaced by another player who continues the scene. Each time someone messes up, that player is replaced by another. See how long you can keep the scene going or who can remain in the scene the longest.

from Whose Line Is It Anyway? TV series (For more suggestions from this show, see Mark’s Guide to the Games. Other word games include Alphabet, If You Know What I Mean, Interview, and Rap.)

Now what are some of your favorite road trip word games? What do you like to play when you’re traveling?