Word Games with Sequences

Sequence games create chains of words or sentences based on different ways in which a word by one player can be related to a word from another player.

- in word association games each player has to produce a word related in meaning to the previous player’s: sky, plane, pollution ... etc. A player is eliminated if they dry up or produce a word that has no discernible relation to the previous word.

- in alphabetic sequence games, players have to produce a word beginning with the next letter of the alphabet, as in the game known as The Parson’s Cat:

The parson’s cat is an angry cat.

The parson’s cat is a bashful cat.

The parson’s cat is a clever cat…

A player who can’t think of an appropriate word is eliminated, or loses a life. These alphabet games are sometimes played without the letters X, Y and Z as they have too limited a range of words to choose from.

An alternative way of going through the alphabet is I love my Love in which a series of statements about your love rotate through the letters of the alphabet

            I love my love with an A because she is awesome.

            I hate her with an A because she is ambitious.

            Her name is Anne and she comes from Aldeburgh.

And so on for the Bs etc.

The sequence can also depend on the last letter of the word. Players have to choose a category such as countries and then make each country start with the letter the previous one ended in:

Canada

Afghanistan

New Zealand …

- structured sequence games involve predetermined sequences of moves or sentences. A well-known version is Humphrey Lyttleton’s Mornington Crescent where players complete a journey round London based on never-stated sequencing rules, played with a number of local conventions such as the Finsbury Rules.

In the traditional game of Consequences players produce a story collectively. This was popular with Victorians, possibly on account of the slightly risqué combinations it easily produces. Players build up a story by writing words on pieces of paper which they pass round a circle each turn, having folded them over to conceal what they have written. One of the many variants has six turns:

1. (man’s name) _______ 

    met

2. (woman’s name) _______ 

3. in the (placename) _______ 

4. He said to her: “_______ ”

5. She said to him:  “_______” 

6. And the consequence was: _______ 

But the skeleton story can easily be amplified as much as the players like by asking for adjectives for the nouns, finishing with ‘And the world said “_______”’, and adding extra elements to the story skeleton.

- a word sequence. Players in a large group improvise a story by adding one word at a time in rotation, a sort of uncontrolled Consequences.

Words index  Vivian Cook   Guessing Games with Words   Letter Games with Words