is a word game
in which players take turns adding letter
s to the beginning
of a group of letters, so as to make part
of a word
, without making a complete
word. Complete words shorter than a certain length (usually 3 or 4) are ignored, so as not to eliminate too many starting sequences.
On his turn, if a player thinks that the last play was not valid, he can challenge that it is not part of a valid word, or that it is a word.
For example, the first player might play H.
The second player adds a G, playing GH.
The first player (assume there are only two here for simplicity... there could be many players) plays GHO.
The second player plays GHOS.
The first player is in trouble now, because GHOST is a complete word, and he doesn't know any other word containing GHOS. He knows any challenge is doomed, so he tries to bluff with RGHOS.
The second player isn't fooled, and challenges this as not part of a word, and the first player can't come up with one, so loses the round.
A player is eliminated after losing a certain number of rounds, most commonly 1 (for a quick game with many players), 3, or 5 (in which case the letters in GHOST are used to keep score, much like in the basketball
There's a lot of strategy in trying to play words that won't end on you, especially when there are only 2 or 3 players left. Prefixes and suffixes are critical, since you want another player to get "stuck" having to make a complete word, and not being able to add on to the other end of the word. Sometimes it's critical to play letters up to one end of the word to avoid the possibility of somebody being able to add onto the other end. There's also an interesting element where you can sometimes try to stump the other player by picking a particular difficult letter sequence.