Scattergories Lists

scattergories lists

Scattergories has been a player-favorite for over thirty years because this incredible, fast-paced game is something anyone of any skill level can join in on. Players compete to create short lists of words that start with the same letter based on the roll of a die and the Scattergory categories they are given. The concept is simple, but winning will be more of a challenge. At the end of each round, players read their answers aloud, and you only get credit for words that no one else used. Duplicates don’t earn points, and originality is key. We’ll teach you everything you need to know to play this fantastic game anytime. We will also provide free printable Scattergories lists if you don’t have the game or if you lost the pieces.

DIY Scattergories

How to play DIY Scattergories:

  1. Print the letters and then cut them apart. Place them in a box or a bowel.
  2. Print the free Scattergories lists printable. The Scattergories cards are typeable so you don’t have to print them if you prefer to type on them.
  3. Give each player one copy so each player works from the same list.
  4. Each round lasts for 3 minutes. Each letter is one round.
  5. Have someone close their eyes and pick out a letter for each round
  6. During the 3 minutes, all players fill the first column with words or phrases that fit the category and start with the letter that was drawn.
  7. When the timer runs out, everyone puts their pencils down.
  8. Beginning with the player who rolled, each person will read off their answers. Any word that someone else chose is invalid.
  9. Circle only the answers that do not match what the other players read aloud.
  10. After the last player reads, everyone can tally their scores. You get one point for each unique word.
  11. Repeat this process for each column.
  12. The player with the most points wins the game.

Scattergories Printable Lists

Print one of these Scattergories printable lists for each player. There are free printable Scattergories lists for different occasions such as Christmas, Halloween, birthdays or everyday categories.

Select a Letter

Printable scattergories Letters PDF File    Image File

Generic Scattergories

Printable scattergories list with a birthday theme

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Baby Shower Scattergories

Baby Shower

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Thanksgiving Scattergories


PDF File    Image

Halloween Scattergories


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Christmas Scattergories


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This template has the following categories: Christmas candy, Christmas gift, Christmas song, holiday food, holiday dessert, holiday tradition, something green, something red, item of clothing, places to visit, December activities.

See Christmas Scattergories for a list of words from A to Z for each of the categories above.

Birthday Scattergories

Printable scattergories list with a birthday theme

PDF File    Image

How to Set Up Scattergories

Before you can play Scattergories, you need to set up the game. You will need at least one other player, but three or more is preferable since games with only two players tend to take longer. Your game box should contain six cardboard folders and six copies of the 13 category cards, a pad with answer sheets divided into columns for the three rounds, a D20 (twenty-sided die), and an hourglass timer. Additionally, each player will need a pencil or other writing implement, and you need a flat tabletop or another level surface to roll your die.

Each player needs one answer sheet, one cardboard folder, and a copy of each category card. Next, select the first three lists so everyone works from the same list each round. It’s vital to ensure these are in the same order. Begin by rolling your die to determine the first letter of your first round. You will note that the die has letters instead of numbers. Since it only has 20 sides, the letters Q, U, V, X, Y, and Z have been omitted. There aren’t enough words starting with these letters to fill some categories.

Interesting Fact: Some older editions of Scattergories included small pencils and a board for rolling your dice. However, the current iteration only has the components listed above since most players have tables and writing implements readily available.

How to Play Scattergories

  1. Set up the game so each player works from the same list. Determining who rolls first is up to you. We recommend rolling for it, and whoever gets the earliest letter in the alphabet (A, B, C, etc.) goes first, then play clockwise.
  2. The first player rolls and then flips the timer.
  3. All players fill the first column with words or phrases that fit the category and start with the letter rolled.
  4. When the timer runs out, everyone puts their pencils down.
  5. Beginning with the player who rolled, each person will read off their answers. Any word that someone else chose is invalid.
  6. Circle only the answers that do not match what the other players read aloud.
  7. After the last player reads, everyone can tally their scores. You get one point for each unique word.
  8. Repeat this process for the next two rounds using lists 2 and 3.
  9. Add your three different round scores together. Whoever has the most points wins.

Pro Tip: In case of a tie, the players who got the same high score roll and have a run-off round. Whoever gets the high score wins, and you can have as many run-offs as necessary.

Scattergories Rules

  • Valid words or phrases must begin with the rolled letter. This is called the Key Letter.
  • If you can name someone or something with a multi-word name where all the first letters match the rolled letter, you get one point for each word. For example, if the category was fictional men and the letter you rolled was J, you would score one point for The Joker but four points if you put down John Jonah Jameson Junior.
  • You can only use a word once per game.
  • Articles do not count as words. If your title begins with “A,” “An,” “The,” or a similar term, then start with the second word’s first letter. For example, “The Hunger Games” begins with “H” for the purposes of this game.
  • You must reroll if you roll a letter already used in a previous round. This helps prevent players from using the same word twice.
  • Both first and last names count, and you may use either to indicate a person. For example, if the category was Comic Characters and the letter was P, you could list Peter Parker as either Peter or Parker, but not both.

Tips for Better Play

  • You can use ‘creative’ answers that push the limits of the category definition. For example, if the category is Stars and the letter is C, then you could say “Chris Evans,” “Cher,” “Tim Curry,” or “Castor” (a star in the Gemini constellation).
  • When playing with people with mobility issues, you may want to extend the timer to 5 minutes so they can write everything down.
  • Always start by answering every category you can. Skipping answers won’t help you, and there’s no penalty for being wrong.
  • Anything can be a category. If you add lists, as many players do, remember that anything can be a category, but you need to choose options with a plethora of optional answers. Overly specific categories make the game less fun.

How Long is the Scattergories Timer

The Scattergories Timer is three minutes long. If you think fast, this is enough time to fill out a column on your sheet. However, it’s important to remember that you can’t simply pick the most obvious answer every time and expect to win. Coming up with unique but relevant solutions in just three minutes is more challenging than it first seems.

Scattergories Categories

The original Scattergories game, copyrighted by Milton Bradley in 1988, has twelve lists, each with twelve categories for a total of a hundred and forty-four starting categories. Additionally, game fans have taken it upon themselves to create and share numerous homemade categories. The original categories are listed below to help you avoid unnecessary duplicates if you decide to make your own lists.

  • 4-letter words
  • A boy’s name
  • A girl’s name
  • Animals
  • Appliances
  • Articles of Clothing
  • Athletes
  • Authors
  • Awards or ceremonies
  • Baby foods
  • Bad habits
  • Beverages
  • Birds
  • Bodies of water
  • Book titles
  • Breakfast Foods
  • Capitals
  • Car Parts
  • Cars
  • Cartoon Characters
  • Celebrities
  • College majors
  • Colleges and universities
  • Colors
  • Companies
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Cosmetics and toiletries
  • Countries
  • Crimes
  • Dairy Products
  • Desserts
  • Diseases
  • Ethnic foods
  • Excuses for being late
  • Famous duos and trios
  • Famous females
  • Farm animals
  • Fictional characters
  • Fish
  • Flowers
  • Footwear
  • Foreign cities
  • Fruits
  • Furniture
  • Games
  • Gifts or presents
  • Halloween costumes
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Heroes
  • Historical Figures
  • Hobbies
  • Household chores
  • Ice cream flavors
  • Insects
  • Items in a catalog
  • Items in a kitchen
  • Items in a purse or wallet
  • Items in a refrigerator
  • Items in a suitcase
  • Items in a vending machine
  • Items in this room
  • Items you save up to buy
  • Junk food
  • Kinds of candy
  • Kinds of dances
  • Languages
  • Leisure activities
  • Magazines
  • Medicine
  • Menu items
  • Movie titles
  • Musical Groups
  • Musical instruments
  • Names
  • Nicknames
  • Notorious people
  • Occupations
  • Parks
  • Parts of the body
  • People in uniform
  • Personality Traits
  • Pizza toppings
  • Presidents
  • Pro sports teams
  • Product names
  • Reptiles and amphibians
  • Restaurants
  • Sandwiches
  • School subjects
  • School supplies
  • Something you keep hidden
  • Something you’re afraid of
  • Song Titles
  • Sports
  • Sports equipment
  • Stones/gems
  • Store Names
  • Street Names
  • TV Shows
  • Television stars
  • Terms of endearment
  • Terms of measurement
  • Things at a circus
  • Things at a football game
  • Things at the beach
  • Things found in a desk
  • Things found in the ocean
  • Things found on a map
  • Things in a park
  • Things in a souvenir shop
  • Things in the medicine cabinet
  • Things in the sky
  • Things made of metal
  • Things that are black
  • Things that are cold
  • Things that are round
  • Things that are sticky
  • Things that grow
  • Things that have spots
  • Things that jump or bounce
  • Things that you wear
  • Things with tails
  • Things you are allergic to
  • Things you plug in
  • Things you replace
  • Things you shout
  • Things you throw away
  • Tools
  • Toys
  • Trees
  • Tropical locations
  • Types of Drink
  • US cities
  • States
  • Vacation spots
  • Vegetables
  • Vehicles
  • Villians and monsters
  • Ways to get there from here
  • Weapons
  • Words associated with exercise
  • Words associated with money
  • World Leaders and politicians
  • World records

Making Your Own Category Lists

Making your own Scattergories category lists is a ton of fun, and it’s encouraged. However, it would be best if you remembered that the potential answers should always be as wide-ranging as possible. Your subject has to be open-ended enough to have multiple answers starting with almost every letter of the alphabet.

You can choose a niche subject like Opera Singers of the 1990s or Names of Actors and Actresses who have been in 007 Movies to customize your game for the group you are playing with and still offer plenty of potential options for savvy players. Remember that those niche categories are only useable if the group you are playing with has a good general knowledge of the subject. Adding Mythological Creatures works well for many groups, but Legends of the Balkans is too specific for most groups. Don’t tailor questions to one individual’s knowledge base; instead, offer subjects everyone at the table is likely to know the answer for.

Scattergories Lists

The lists in Scattergories are very straightforward. Each list needs twelve categories, and you need enough copies of each list so all the players have one. Ensuring that players of this highly entertaining and challenging game are all working on the same list and letter each round is essential. You can play versions of this game tailored to any audience if you are willing to create your own categories and print a few lists.

When writing a list of your own for a home game, think about the audience that is most likely to see your categories and adjust them accordingly. If you want a family-friendly game, come up with categories for which people of different ages will all have answers. The easy customizability also makes Scattergories great for when you want to use the game as a learning tool—adding categories relevant to your studies helps with memorization. Making custom categories can also be fun and rewarding since you can add silly options, more challenging levels, and other new ideas to keep it fresh and exciting. There is no limit to how many lists you can create.

If you and your friends or family love word games, Scattergories is an excellent game-night addition to any table. Knowing words is a start, but it’s not enough to get a high score. You’ll have to get creative to have the best unique answers every round. Watch out, though. The timer is ticking, and you’re playing against other people who could guess the same word. Scattergories, like many timeless classic games, is a simple idea that requires little set-up time and only a few rules to play, yet it remains challenging for players of any age.

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