The game we played most often as a family when I was younger was called General Knowledge. Invented by my Dad, it is a game not unlike Scattergories but in my opinion more versatile and incredibly more fun. My sister even wrote about it on her blog. The game itself is simple. Here are the instructions:
1. Everyone playing gets a pen and a blank piece of paper.
2. Each player turns their paper horizontally and draws lines down from top to bottom, creating about 8 or so columns (see above sheet from a recent game with the Ficklins). You can do more or less, depending on the number of people playing. There should be at least one column per player as each column will represent a category chosen by each player.
3. Add one column at the end (it can be a thin one) to write your score for each round.
4. Each player chooses a category. The categories should be ones that everyone playing would be able to answer but creative enough so as to draw out some fun debates (the best part of the game). As you can see from the first game we played (see above sheet), we picked Anatomy, Things that Stain, People you'd find at BYU, Shoes, Movies, Types of Soda, and Words found in the Book of Mormon. For the second game, we picked Things in a Kitchen, Things in Kara's room, Bands, 6 Letter Words, Tourist Activities, Countries and Types of Candy. The chosen categories get written at the top of each of the columns you’ve already created.
5. When everyone is done, one person takes another blank piece of paper and writes each letter of the alphabet randomly on that page. Now, the game begins!
6. One player closes their eyes and randomly picks one of the letters on the page. They open their eyes, and yell out the letter they picked.
7. Everyone then races to write down one word in each category starting with the letter that was picked. You are not allowed to use the same word for more than one category and you’re not supposed to use adjectives. You can see examples of this from the game above.
8. The first player done writing one word in each category yells “Stop” and everyone has to stop.
9. One by one each category is named (usually by the person that yelled stop) and everyone says what they wrote for that category. If you wrote the same word as someone else, you each get one point. If you were unique in your answer, you get 2 points. If there is a debate, the person who owns that category (the one who chose it) decides how many points to award (no more than 2.)
10. After all the answers for the chosen letter are read, total up the points in the last column. Then someone else chooses the next letter and play resumes.
11. After you've gone through as many rounds as you like, the points for the whole game are totaled.
There are several reasons this game is still a family favorite. First, it is different every time because you will always have different categories. Second, the debates can be hilarious. Third, it’s fun to watch how people respond under pressure.
Some of my favorite categories ever are...
1. Things you can fit in one nostril
2. Things that float
3. Things couples argue about
4. Things that stain
5. Things you would find under a bed
Some of the worst categories ever are...
1. Things that squeak – this quickly turned into “Things you can get wet and rub on a mirror,” like an elephant for example
2. Shapes – this turned into "Animals" because evidently all animals have a shape
3. Names - this gets out of hand quickly. Yes, I would name my child "Zarlit," wouldn't you?
The next time your family is looking for a quick and fun game, try this one out. You'll love it!