Sparkle Bang is a game that my kids learned in elementary school, but we play it a bit differently. I don’t know who created the original, but the variant that’s here works great in the car or when you’re out and about.
Setting up the game is as simple as getting people to say that they’ll play. There are no cards or dice or anything like that. The first player says a word, followed by the first letter of that word. The next player says the next letter, and so on around the table, with each person adding a letter.
If someone says a wrong letter, shout Bang! and that person is out. Yes, it’s an elimination game, but don’t worry, you’ll be back in quickly enough. If you shout Bang! and you’re wrong, you’re out. If someone is knocked out, start spelling the word from the beginning. We sometimes play to the last two players (because when you get two good spellers it can last a while).
Once you reach the end of the word, the next player says “sparkle” and then the player after that starts a new word. Here’s an example of three people playing:
Player 1: Hello, H
Player 2: e
Player 3: l
Player 1: l
Player 2: o
Player 1: Sparkle
Player 2: Philosophy, P
Player 3: I
[Player 3 is now out of the game]
Player 1: Philosophy, P
Two things make this game work. First, the choice of words is up to the people playing. So they can make it as tough or as easy as they want. As an adult, you can steer the game to an end by saying words like palindrome and cybernetic.
Second, each player doesn’t don’t have to know the whole word. You just have to know the next letter, and that turns out to be the real magic. Even bad spellers get confidence from knowing that. They listen to the other players, and when it’s their turn, they deliver their letter and have a victory at something that is often a problem for them.
Give Sparkle Bang a try. It’s fun and easy to explain, and you’ll find there’s even a bit of strategy involved as you think of words and try to count out letters so the better players get the tougher parts of the words you say.