Looks like I only get the energy to blog when I’m on holidays with wifi.
Rather than reading all the worthy novels I brought, I got through The Guinness Book of Word Games by David Parlett, which I bought second hand on Amazon for a pittance. You may know David Parlett from his card game books, his Oxford History of Board Games and Spiel des Jahres winner Hare and Tortoise.
It’s split into:
- Spoken Word Games e.g. I Spy, Charades
- Written Word Games e.g. Jotto, Hangman, Call My Bluff
- Boxed Word Games e.g. Scrabble, Boggle, Upwords
- Playing With Words – a slightly superfluous section discussing issues in word games, e.g. anagrams, synonyms, franglais etc.
I really enjoyed the book, despite not really being a fan of word games. I listed the best known games above, but many original lesser-known games are described. The book also covers a lot of games I already knew in depth. I had no idea there was a dictionary specifically for Call My Bluff / Fictionary.
David Parlett’s writing style is worth the read in itself. He never misses a chance at neat, witty word-play, while still writing perfectly sparse, economical English.
I played Jotto last night, which is a true classic and I’m looking forward to trying more.
I forgot to mention that you can get a taste of the book by reading David Parlett’s original word games at his website.