Lists by Letters

A simple game of list-writing where all the words must begin with the same letter

2+ players
5 minutes per player
  • A pen or pencil for each player
  • Notepaper for each player
  • Two small slips of paper for each player
  • A two-minute timer


Lists by Letters is a game that has players competing to see who can think of the most words or phrases in a given category that start with a particular letter.


It should be decided beforehand whether first names or surnames (or either) should be used for people's names, and whether or not "A" and "The" should be excluded from the start of titles.


Each player writes a broad category (e.g. animals, towns & cities, food items) on one slip of paper, and a letter of the alphabet on another. Both of these should be kept hidden from other players.


The game is made up of rounds. The first round can start with any player, while all subsequent rounds will start with a player decided in the previous round.

Each round starts with one player revealing the category they wrote down, then selecting another player who has not yet revealed their letter. The selected player then revelas their chosen letter, and becomes the player who will start the next round with their category. The category and letter revealed are the constraints that will be in place for all players in the current round.

As soon as the letter has been revealed, all players have two minutes to write down as many words as they can think of that belong to the category and begin with the letter. Once the time is up, players discuss their answers and decide as a group if any answers do not qualify. If a decision can't be agreed as a group, the player whose category it was has the deciding say (or the player whose letter it was if it's the category owner's word being disputed).

Valid words are then counted, and each player receives a point for every valid word they wrote down.

Ending the game

Once the final round has finished, all points are added together and the player with the most points is declared the winner.


An alternative way to score the game is to award double points for a unique word (i.e. a word that no other players thought of). And an alternative to that is to award points only if an answer is unique, meaning an answer that any other player got becomes worthless. If you like the sound of this, check out the unique answers quiz page.

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