Players 2 (or more)
Equipment Pencil & paper
Another form of verbal Battleships, together with Phrase Maze.
You each take a separate sheet of paper and draw a grid of 5 x 5 = 25
squares. Number the columns from 0 to 4 across the top and the rows from 5 to 9
down the left-hand side. Now you can identify every square by quoting its grid
reference. For example, the centre square is "72". This is your main grid. You
also need a similarly numbered separate grid to record the results from your
opponent's main grid.
Next, think of a secret key-word consisting of five different letters and enter
it from left to right in any row, or from top to bottom in any column. This
leaves 20 blank squares, which you now fill up with 20 of the 21 unused letters.
It doesn't matter which letter you leave out, but you must make sure that -
No letter appears more than once, and
No other row or column contains a genuine five-letter word.
For example, here's a grid with letter J omitted and the key-word PSALM occupying column 4 :
You'll be amazed to learn that the aim of the game is to cleverly deduce
your opponent's key-word before they are lucky enough to guess yours.
You each in turn call out a grid reference and your opponent tells you
what letter, if any, occupies that square. For example, "72" calls for the
letter in the central square, and in the specimen above returns the letter
When you think you know your opponent's word, you must wait for your next turn
and announce what you think it is instead of hitting another square.
If you're right, you score 1 point for each square you have not yet
hit (that is, 25 minus the number of letters you have hit), and your
opponent continues play alone.
If not, you must wait for your next turn before hitting another square
or calling another word.
You both carry your scores forward to the next game in the set, and the set
ends when one player reaches a total of 25 points (or any other previously
Here are two more special rules:
If you accidentally uncover your opponent's key-word by hitting all
five letters without having announced it in advance, you score nothing, and
your opponent continues play alone. (The aim of the game is to deduce
the hidden word, not to trip over it.)
If you accidentally put two five-letter key-words in your own grid (whether
because you were careless about fitting the unused letters in, or because you
didn't realise that a particular combination of letters made a valid word),
there is no special penalty, except that your opponent wins by correctly
announcing either of them.
The fun and challenge of this game lies in filling up the 20 irrelevant
squares with letters in such a way as to form combinations that look as if
they might form a word when only one or two of them are visible. For example,
a player attacking row 6 in the sample grid might easily be misled into guessing
a false key-word WAVES.
It can also be misleading, and is quite legitimate, to incorporate genuine
words of less than five letters, such as CHIN, FERN, TWO and BRA in the sample
grid. Note, too, the nice but unreal word TWOCK in column 0. (Lewis Carroll
Quizl for three or more
Quizl works perfectly well for three or more, apart from the hassle of having to draw a check-grid for each
opponent, so it's best to have them pre-printed. Each player in turn calls out a grid reference,
as before, but you have to get used to the fact that when you call one, you do not reveal the letter you have
placed in that cell of your own grid. If somebody wants to know what you have in it, they will have to make
the same call, even though they will learn nothing new about the others in that turn.