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Scattergories Game Rules: How Do You Play Scattergories?


Every time I get together with the family at mom’s for Thanksgiving or Christmas, we end up playing word games. She can sometimes con me into a game of Scrabble, but the snail’s pace of that game leaves me antsy and sends me wandering around the house between turns (which annoys the other players and makes the game take even longer). I like fast-paced word games like Boggle or Catchphrase. Scattergories is that type of game. Furiously paced word generation that awards creativity and allows players to challenge or defend their answers (go rhetoric!). If you’re here because you need Scattergories rules to get out of a LOTR-trilogy-length game of Scrabble, we’ve got you covered.

The Rules of Scattergories:

Each game of Scattergories consists of three rounds. Before the start of the game, choose three lists which will be used during the rounds.

Pass each player a folder, and clip the three lists inside in the order in which they will be played. Make sure that all players have A) the same lists, and that B) the lists are in the same order.

Begin each round by rolling the letter die, and start the timer. If you roll a letter that had already been rolled during this game, re-roll.

Players attempt to create an answer that begins with the letter on the die for each of the categories on their list.

Answers must begin with the letter on the Scattergories die.
Articles (A/An/The) do not fulfill the beginning letter requirement. Instead, the word following the article will be the letter that counts. For instance, if the letter was “W” and the category was “TV Shows,” The Walking Dead would count as an acceptable answer; however, the answer would be unacceptable if a “T” had been rolled.
Players cannot use the same answer twice in the same round, even if it would otherwise be acceptable.
Last names can be used first, for example “Bush, George” as an answer for a US President beginning with “B.”
Get creative. You can be flexible with you answers. Other players can challenge you, though, and answers that fail a group vote won’t count toward your score.

Write each answer on your Scattergories scorepad. When time’s up, immediately stop writing.

Players take turns reading their lists. Cross out any answers that matched another player’s. Players score one point for each answer not crossed out.

Creative answers are allowed, but any player has the option of challenging an answer. If an answer is challenged, all players, including the player whose answer is being challenged, vote on the acceptability. Majority rules. In the event of a tie, the vote of the challenged player does not count.

The player with the highest score wins the game. In the event of a tie, the tied players play a tie-breaker round.

Optional Rules:
Award extra points for alliteration. (Horrible spelling aside, Krispy Kremes would earn two points for a rolled “K” in the “Breakfast Foods”category).

Tip: Don’t break your mother-in-law’s glass table while playing this game—the 20 sided die is heavy. If you happen to break the table, any expletives uttered must begin with the letter showing on the die.


  1. Kevin says:

    If I roll K on the die in scattergories is Kevin Durant and Kevin James both accepted names ?

  2. Jessica Cook says:

    As long as it matches the category. You can use last name first .

  3. Edward Stratton says:

    Can you use answers from a different language? For example if we are playing the English version and someone uses a French word can they get the answer?

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