Scattergories Game Rules and How to Play Guide

You are currently viewing Scattergories Game Rules and How to Play Guide

In this article, you can read about the basic rules of the game Scattergories and learn how to play. The object of the game is to score the most points. You score points if no other player matches your answer.


Separate the category cards into six sets of lists numbered 1 through 12. The cards are double-sided. Give each player a play folder. Store the lists inside each folder on the left side. Every player slides a blank answer sheet into the right side of their folder.

The game is played in three rounds. First, decide which list number you want to use and clip that card in the folder so that it is facing you. Make sure each player is using the same list number. Press the top side of the timer switch. Turn the knob clockwise as far as it will go. Be careful not to damage the timer by overturning it.

One player rules the 20-sided letter die to determine the key letter. Because the die is heavy, use the die rolling board to help prevent possible damage to tabletops. One player presses down the start side of the timer and the round begins. All players simultaneously quickly fill in the first column of their answer sheets.

Answers must fit the category and must begin with the key letter rolled. The first word of your answer must begin with the key letter. Articles a, and, and the, do not count as key letters but are instead ignored. The first letter of the next word would need to begin with the key letter. You cannot write the exact same answer multiple times on your answer sheet in the same round. When answering with proper names, you may use the first letter of the last name, so long as the first letter begins with the key letter. Creative answers are also acceptable.

Challenging a word

You may challenge a word you don’t think fits a category. Every player votes whether or not they think it is an acceptable word with a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down, majority rules. If it is a tie then the word is rejected.

When the timer stops players must immediately stop writing. Players, in turn, read aloud their answers. When the player reads an answer to a category that is the same another player, the other players inform, and all those players cross off that answer on their answer sheet.

Scoring Points

No points are awarded for players having duplicate answers. If the player reading aloud has an acceptable answer no one else has for that category, then he circles that answer and will score one point for it.

Tally-up the score for the round and write it at the top of the column. Reset the timer and roll the die. If you roll the same letter already used in the game re-roll it. Using the same list as the previous round, repeat the process two more times. After the third round tally-up all the points from all the previous rounds.

The player with the most points wins. If there is a tie play one more round. The tied player with the highest score from that round wins. To play the variation of the extra points when answering with proper names or titles score an extra point for each use of the key letter more than once as the first letter in a multiple word answer. There are three yellow marks on the timer. For a challenging game with less time, set the timer at any one of the marks.

Scattergories Game on the Market

The board game Scattergories is on the market in many versions. The one that I refer to in this article I link to here:

Feel free to share this post. is an affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Share this post