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Say the Word

Say the Word is a what I call a lifestyle game, one that you play in the background of your life. You don’t sit down around a table, or schedule time for this game. Instead, you just set it up and go.

Requires: paper, pencil, one envelope per player


Each player writes 20 words on a piece of paper. Cut the paper up so that there is only one word per piece of paper. Drop all the pieces into a cup or a hat or some such thing. After shaking up the container, each player picks one piece of paper from the hat, memorizes whatever is written on it and then seals it up in an envelope. The player then writes his or her name on the front of the envelope and keeps the envelope.

You may also want to set a time limit on the game (one day, one week, one weekend – something like that).

How to Play

The goal of the game is to get at other players to say the word that you have sealed up in your envelope. This is not an exclusive activity. After you have your words, go about your regular business. The game is played throughout the day, tucked into the regular conversations that you normally have.

As soon as you get another person to say your word, take out your envelope and open it to show them your victory.

Each time you get someone to say your word, put the words from his or her envelope into your own. You can use those words just as if they were your own. The game ends when only one person has any words left in his or her envelope.


Words should not be commonplace things that are said every day. For example, “the” would be a bad choice because the game would be over in 10 seconds.

However, if you get too crazy with your words (like “serendipity”), you run the risk of actually picking that word and having to try to get someone else to say it.

Optional Rules

Limit the words to being only proper nouns (like “Venice”, “George Washington”, or “Spiderman”). If you feel the game is too easy, instead of using words, use phrases (like “ah, Venice”, “once more into the breach”, or “where’s my pencil?”).

Cooperative Variation

After you’ve mastered playing with your friends and family, try the same game but with other people:

  1. Pick only one word (instead of a different one for each person)
  2. The winner is the first person who manages to get someone who is not playing the game to say the word in front of everyone else that is.

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Posted August 26, 2015 in Games