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Dictionary game (Fictionary)


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I have a numerous family, and when we get together for birthdays or holidays, we usually play tabletop games, being my favorite one the Dictionary game. This game is great to expand your vocabulary, I still remember weird words because I laughed so hard at the made up definitions (and sometimes at the real definition as well).

I don't know how popular or known is this game in other countries so I'll explain how you play it:

You need a sheet of paper (preferably identical) and something to write with for each person playing, and of course a dictionary. My grandmother has this huge old dictionary (Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, 1925) where you can find words that no one use in these times. The bigger the dictionary the better!

The first player picks a word from the dictionary and says it out loud, if other player knows the meaning of the word the first player must search another one, until no one knows it. When the word has been chosen, the player who picked it writes the real definition and the other players do the same but with a made up definition. When everyone is ready, all sheet of papers go to the one who picked the word, who will shuffle them (to avoid give away the real one) and then proceed to read out loud all the definitions. Then the players vote for the one they think is the real one. The scoring may vary depending on who you play with, but this is how my family does it:

1 point if someone votes for your definition

1 point if you vote for the correct definition

3 points if you are the picker and no one votes for the correct definition

and 5 points if you manage to write the correct, or almost correct, definition

Here are some tips for playing

  • Try to pick words or words with definitions that sound unreal or plain stupid
  • When writing your own definitions use terms like the dictionary would
  • The person reading the definitions should read them to himself first, and if there is any word he can't understand ask the person who wrote it. Mistakes and laugh while reading the definitions can give away the fake ones.
  • Be creative!

I was thinking that if you can gather people that is learning the same language as you, you could play Dictionary to improve your vocabulary. We could even play it here on the forum, but it will be hard to tell if someone is cheating


So, anyone play Dictionary with family or friends :)?

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Thanks for the sharing Sness!

We used to play tabletop games on a regular basis many years ago, later the video games consoles began to displace them, and when we started surfing the web, all pastimes, games and entertainment activities began to spin around the Internet.

However sometimes we miss those tabletop games of the past and, being unable to play many of them because we don't longer have the boards and cards, we are back to the web, without really giving us a chance to find new tabletop gaming alternatives.

I thinks this is a good one to try the next time we come together to play :)

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Great game.

My family also plays board games during the holidays. Some members of my family are very competitive. I often feels sorry for the guests during the holidays. Pictionary and Monopoly are the games of choice. A few of us play chess and backgammon. 

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However sometimes we miss those tabletop games of the past and, being unable to play many of them because we don't longer have the boards and cards, we are back to the web, without really giving us a chance to find new tabletop gaming alternatives.

There is another game which is very played in the classrooms across all Latin America, called Tutti Frutti (in my country we call it Bachillerato) and you can play it with just paper and pen too. And again, I don't know if this games is known in other countries outside Latin America. This one is more childish but is equally entertaining:

All players make a grid like this one *clickclick* and then write the categories on the top row. You can use whatever categories you like. These are the ones that are used in my country:

L | Name | Country or city | Fruit or vegetable | Color or object | Brand or TV | TOTAL

(L is letter and the name can be first or last, total is to put the score of the round)

(When playing with my family, we often add at then end "Book or movie" and "Band or singer", and sometimes we even add "Historical figure" or "Politician".)


When the categories are set is time to chose the first letter, this can be done by writing down all the letters in individual papers pick one at random or one player can go through the alphabet in their mind and other player says 'stop' whenever they want. When the letter is chosen everyone start to fill the categories fastest as they can with things that start with the chosen letter. Example:



[td]L[/td][td]Name[/td][td]Country or city[/td][td]Fruit or vegetable[/td][td]Color or object[/td][td]Brand or TV[/td]




First to finish all categories says "stop!" and everyone should stop writing. Then the player who said stop goes category by category asking what everyone wrote down and the scores are put:

100 points if you wrote a word no one has

50 points if you have the same word with someone

and 200 (plus 100 points if the players are more than 3) if you are the only one that wrote in a category

Rinse and repeat until you are out of letters or you want to finish the game!

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