Linguaphiles rejoice – there’s a whole genre of games dedicated to the beauty of words! We have something for you here whether you’re looking to make words, break words, link them together, or pull them apart. Find them in a mess of letters, or challenge your friends on definitions and spelling. If the Sunday crossword is the highlight of your week, stay tuned because these are seven games you’re sure to absolutely adore.
There’s no way we can, in good conscience, write an article about word-based board games without talking about the most well-known one: Scrabble!
Scrabble is THE classic word game for a reason. The very nature of the game means you get a different experience each time you play; the scope of the board changes with each new word.
Our advice: spring for the Deluxe Edition with the beautiful solid wood rotating board, and never try to read words upside-down again. It is truly a game changer (and a great gift option!) for the serious word lover.
If that price is a little too steep for you, you can buy the boring basic version here…
Bananagrams is kind of like Scrabble’s less-serious kid brother. The premise is similar: use small lettered tiles to arrange an interlocking grid of words. But it’s a faster-paced game, easier to play, and great for the whole family.
The little banana-shaped pouch means it’s a perfect for travel – just scoop all the tiles back into the pouch and go, no board or box needed.
The scoring is simpler than Scrabble, but the aspect of racing against your opponent makes it an addictive game that will have you always asking for “just one more round!” Don’t slip up and pass this great game by!
If you’ve ever watched a Bond movie and thought “I wish this had more creative wordplay”, then Codenames is the game for you!
The thing that makes Codenames so unique is the way in which it encourages you to think about words you already know in new contexts and make new connections between words you would have previously considered unrelated. For example: what do “shark” and “brush” have in common? Why, the word “tooth”, of course!
The game divides your group into two teams, each with one “Spymaster” who uses creative word associations to help his team identify the various “Field Agents” without naming them directly. Get ready to embark on your brainiest mission yet – and you’ve got a License to Thrill.
We highly recommend the original Codenames first to get the true feel of the game, and after that, click here to check out our ranking of all the incredible Codename expansions and versions here!
Unlike the other word-based games on this list, Quiddler is a card game! Each player is dealt a hand of letter cards and challenged to arrange them into words – the longer the better.
With every round, the amount of cards in your hand increases…which means the potential length of your words increases as well! Rack up points by spelling lots of words, or the longest word.
The fast pace makes it addictive and compelling. Quiddler is one of those games you’ll definitely want to add to your board game library – but you don’t have to take our word for it.
Boggle is another one of those classic games that’s been around for a while – since 1972, in fact – but remember that these games have stood the test of time for a reason! FIFTY Years of being one of the best word board games ever!
Boggle was and still is one of the most compelling word games on the market. Shake up the letters, set the timer, and race to find as many words as you can in the five-by-five grid.
You’ll never be able to go back to those boring wordsearches in the back of magazines after this! Just make sure to have a dictionary near by because you’ll be amazed at what “words” some people try to score.
Taboo is one of those games that never seems to fail to get the whole group laughing.
The game divides the group into two teams, where players take turns attempting to get their side to guess a word – without being able to say any of the related terms!
All the desperation and party game antics of charades, with none of the awkward miming…unless, of course, that’s your thing. We don’t judge.
If you saw Scrabble at the top of our list and yawned, then Upwords is the solution. For those of you Scrabble masters that can wipe the rest of us off the board with your triple-word-score combos and knowledge of every obscure word in the Scrabble dictionary, this game is sure to bring the challenge back into your favorite crossword game.
Upwords is remarkably similar to Scrabble in terms of gameplay, with one very important twist: you can play letters on top of each other! Hence the name, as the tiles on the board stack up and up the longer you play.
Once you get a taste of this new high-flying approach, you’ll never be content to play words side by side again.
Best Word Board Game for Kids
Word board games are obviously going to be tougher for young kids to enjoy since a lot of the fun comes with obscure vocabulary and the like.
That does not mean word board games are off the table for family game night entirely though! We recommend picking up Bananagrams and playing it with everyone.
Best Word Board Game for Adults
I am going to have to go with Codenames here for the best word game for adult groups. The balance of strategy and risk and odd wordplay make this an awesome party game!
There are also a bunch of cool versions of Codenames from themed ones like Harry Potter to two player versions for date night. If you like the concept, there is a version for you. Start by ordering the original below, and then check out our ranking guide on the best Codenames versions here!
Best Word Board Game for Intellectuals
Let’s face the fact, that some people are playing word games to just prove how “smart” they are… And I don’t blame them! It’s fun (and a little narcissistic) to try to embarrass your friends with your knowledge and vocabulary!
This is why true intellectuals want to remove as much chance and luck from their word board games as possible. One on one. Battle of the minds. There is no better thinker’s word game than Scrabble!
Come and play for a spell!
Word games are some of the oldest and most classic board game genres out there – but they’ve stuck around for a reason. As language evolves and more and more new words get added to that Official Scrabble Dictionary every year, our games evolve with them. From tried and true games like Scrabble and Boggle, to newer additions like Quiddler and Codenames, try out these word games and improve your vocabulary, creative thinking, and spelling skills. These exemplary exploits are indubitably the superlative solution to your board game ennui. (Damn, I’m good!)