What Are the Different Types of Anagram Games?

Cindy Quarters

An anagram is a type of word game in which the letters are taken from one word, or group of words, and rearranged into other words. Ideally, the second word or words will bear some relation to the first, though in most anagram games that isn’t actually necessary. There are many different types of anagram games, including those available to play online, as board games or with pencil and paper.

Online anagram games appear on many different websites across the Internet.
Online anagram games appear on many different websites across the Internet.

The simplest anagram games to play in terms of materials required are those using nothing more than a pencil and paper. Players are given a starting word or phrase and are challenged to use all of the letters to create related words. A variation on this game requires the player to create the most words possible from the starting term. Such games can be played alone or in competition with others. In some cases scoring is calculated by word length as well as quantity, or players can race the clock.

The board game industry has created many different anagram games that use some type of dice, tiles or other device for game play. The game Boggle® is one example of this. Boggle® uses lettered dice to provide players with the source for their words, then they race each other to see who can make the most words before time runs out. There have been a number of other tabletop anagram games available commercially, including an anagram version of Scarbble® called Clabber®, as well as Bananagrams®, an anagram game packed inside of a banana-shaped case.

Online versions of these and other anagram games appear on many different websites across the Internet. Some games are quite simple and limited while others use graphics and animation to grab the user’s attention. Televised anagram games pit players against one another, the clock or both as they work to create the most anagrams from random groups of letters or words. There have been a number of televised game shows using an anagram format.

Newspapers and puzzle books challenge players to make anagrams from various words and phrases, sometimes encouraging readers to send in their best efforts. Some of these are rather straightforward, but others require players to solve a series of challenges in order to get the letters that make up an anagram of the answer to the puzzle. Often printed materials offer anagram challenges at varying levels so that players of all levels of ability can play.

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