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Are you looking for a fun way to spend quality time with friends and loved ones AND improve your freelance writing skills? You need to play one of these top 15 board games for freelance writers!
And if you’re still working on getting your freelance writing business up and running, here’s a post that can help:
I’m what you might call a board game junkie. I LOVE playing games with my family and friends. Here’s a peek at our massive wall of games, after my ten year old son recently organized it:
I truly believe there are awesome benefits for freelance writers from playing board games. You can practice your skills, stretch your creativity, and gain confidence in your abilities. All while having a blast and kicking some booty! 😀
Are you ready to see which games are the best for freelance writers? Here are the ones that made my cut:
Have you ever played this hilarious bluffing game? When I was a kid, we played the super cheap homemade version of this game – The Dictionary Game. It used a real dictionary instead of cards with definitions on them. 😀
Here’s the premise of Balderdash:
One person is the Dasher each turn. The Dasher’s job is to:
- Select a card
- Roll the die to see which word on the card to use
- Read the word aloud
- Spells the word aloud
- Write down the correct definition
- Gather the definitions from the other players
- Read all the definitions aloud
- Provide the correct answer
After the Dasher has read the word aloud and spelled it, the other players each write down their own definition.
The goal is to convince people that your definition is the RIGHT one.
After the Dasher reads all the definitions (including the real one), everyone votes on the one they think is correct.
Points are assigned and the Dasher title is moved to another player for the next round.
Why Balderdash Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
Freelance writers need to have a working understanding of the English language. They also need to be able to match the tone of their client.
With Balderdash, you need your definition to sound like a dictionary one. You can’t write some random thing and hope that you bluff everyone.
Balderdash is also a fun way to build your vocabulary. Because, you never know when you will need to write a blog post about rowels and leefangs.
Just kidding – you probably will never use those exact words. But, freelancers should make it a point to expand their vocabulary.
2. Tell Tale
When I bought this game for my kids, I never expected to love it as much as they did!
The instructions come with several different game variations. Here’s our favorite way to play.
Shuffle the cards and deal out an equal number to each player. (You may need to set some aside and not use them depending on how many players there are.)
Pick on person to go first. They select one of their cards and set it in the middle of the table, beginning the story. They tell the first sentence or two, associated with the picture they put down.
The next person plays on of their cards and adds to the story. It must make sense to the plot, and be connected to the picture.
Play continues until all the cards are played. You never quite know how this one is going to turn out! Maybe Princess Aurora will get turned into a talking frog by the evil Maleficent, and Harris, Hubert, and Hamish from Brave will have to travel to the ocean to find a sparkling necklace to turn her back.
Or maybe the princesses will turn bad and it will take the magic mirror to get everyone back to how they used to be.
You just never know!
Why Tell Tale Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
When you write, you must wrap up your loose ends. You need to ensure that your sentences flow together and make sense. If you’re adding images, they need to relate to your topic.
This game teaches you to think creatively, but quickly. You learn how to take common characters, settings, and objects, and use them in new ways.
After all – your voice matters. So use it.
And as a bonus, story telling is an important skill for writers.
A beautiful card game, Quiddler focuses on building short words. The goal is to be able to turn each of the cards in your hand into words, with one card to discard.
At the beginning of the game, each player is dealt three cards. So, you need to be able to make a two letter word to go out. You can draw and discard letters to make this happen.
When one player goes out, each of the other players gets one more turn. Then you score based on the words you played.
The next hand, everyone gets four cards. You keep going, playing hand after hand, until the final round. In this one, all players get ten cards.
There’s also a solitaire version which is fun.
Why Quiddler Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
When you’re a freelance writer, you need to write in conversational language. There’s no sense in using a million dollar word when a fifty cent one will do.
So the focus on short words is fun. It’s also neat to see all the different ways you can arrange letters to make words. It helps your brain make connections as you play.
In Buzzword, you have to get your team to use the buzzword to complete each clue. Each of the answers will use that special word.
So, if the buzzword is Christmas, here are five of the clues:
- Bing Crosby’s smash (White Christmas)
- Mail these early (Christmas cards)
- Famous poem (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas)
- Savings and loan program (Christmas Club)
For each answer your team gets correct, you get one point. If they desire, they can call out pass and you can move onto the next clue. But, there’s no going back to the ones you skipped.
And, the other team gets a chance to steal the ones you passed.
Then, the other team draws a new card and one reader reads the clues for them.
The first team to reach 50 points is the winner!
Why BuzzWord Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
BuzzWords is all about making connections and blurting out that phrase that’s on the tip of your tongue.
Also, the clues are a fun way to practice quickly describing something. That’s an important skill for freelance writers – being intriguing and succinct. Reading how others do it can help you improve your own skills.
5. Bubble Talk
My daughter’s friend introduced this game to us at Family Camp this year. A copy of it is going to wind up under our Christmas tree this year… (Shh!)
This game reminded my kids of Apples to Apples. But, instead of using words, you’re using pictures. A picture is flipped at the start of each round. The other players then select one of their caption cards that they think best matches the images.
They play this caption down. The judge of the round collects all the captions and reads them. The judge then selects the one they think is best. That person gets points.
Why Bubble Talk Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
Pictures are worth a 1000 words! And being able to use a picture can really help drive home the point of your whole article.
There are some hilarious pictures in this game, and the captions are a hoot. Humor helps you reduce stress, which can build up when you’re trying to grow a business.
Also, you can play your cards to the judge. That means you can select a caption you know the current judge will love. Learning to read your audience and plan for them is an essential part of being a successful freelancer.
Malarky is a bluffing game. You’re given a question and you have to convince the other players that you know the right answer.
For instance, do you know why the US Postal Service has two types of flavors of glue on postage stamps?
Or what the IRS does with our old tax forms?
Even if you don’t, no worries. You just have to come up with compelling answers and convince the other players that you know what you’re talking about.
One person each round is randomly given the correct answer. They also have to read the answer and convince the others that it’s the correct.
And…often the real answers are hard to believe!
For instance, the two flavors of glue are because a gentle formula is used on commemorative stamps and a different glue is used on all the rest…I had no idea – did you? They all taste bad in my opinion but I never took time to compare the flavor profiles of postage stamps to try to find a pattern…
In Malarky, you get points for seeing through everyone’s bluffs and selecting the correct answer. You also get points if you convince people that your false answer is the right one.
Why Malarky Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
To win at Malarky, you must be confident. To win as a freelance writer, you must be confident.
When you first start out, you will be nervous. But, you don’t want your clients to sense that nervousness. You need to believe in yourself! This game will help you practice speaking confidently.
And…it helps you learn to see through the bluffs to find the truth. When you’re researching for posts, you will come across all kinds of information. There’s no limit to the junk that people publish.
You need to be able to discern truth from the noise. And do so quickly. This game will help you learn more about going with your gut.
7. In a Pickle
How is the universe smaller than a library? Can you fit a turkey in a purse? Well…you can if it’s sliced turkey!
There’s all sorts of thinking outside the box when you play In a Pickle.
The goal is to win the most rows of cards. You can win the row by playing the largest object.
The cards in this game all have a noun on them. You will find words like:
On your turn, you need to play a card to one of the rows. Your card must be either larger than the current largest object, or smaller than the current smallest object in the row.
You can argue you point – but it only counts if the majority agree so make sure you have a logical explanation.
Once one row has four cards, it’s time for a Pickle round. Here, everyone competes to get the largest object in that row. When everyone is done, the person who played the largest object gets to keep the row and a new row is started.
Play continues until one person collects the necessary number of rows.
Why In a Pickle Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
As a business owner, you need to look at life a little differently. You need to think outside the box and not settle for the same old limiting beliefs that are holding everyone else back.
You can make great money from home, and grow your business without working full-time.
Being able to see connections and use your creative brain to pitch new ideas is an essential part of topic brainstorming. So, practice these skills with this fun game.
8. Pitch It!
This game has been on my wish-list for about two years, ever since I first heard of it. I just ordered it, and I can’t wait for it to arrive!
Here’s the premise:
You draw a product card and a target audience card. Your job is to quickly prepare a pitch you could use to sell that product to that particular client base. You have three minutes to:
- Create a product title
- Come up with a slogan
- Craft a logo
Then you get to present your pitch to the other players. There’s voting to see who made the best pitch.
Can you come up with a great pitch to sell toothpaste to lawyers? Or a backpack to politicians?
Why Pitch It! Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
Pitching is a huge part of freelance writing. And while you probably won’t ever be selling bubblegum to park rangers, you do need to know how to tailor your pitches to your target audience.
This game helps you build your creativity, look for connections, and customize your pitch. And, the sharing your work with others part totally helps you get over your fear of putting yourself out there.
This classic has been one of my favorite games for many years.
To play, each player takes a copy of the same list and an answer sheet. Then, one person rolls the special letter die.
Whatever letter comes up, you must think of a word from the categories on the list that start with that letter. So if an L is rolled, everything you write down needs to start with L.
You get points for unique answers – if someone else wrote down what you did, neither of you get a point for that category.
Why Scattergories Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
When you play this game, you have to think quickly. You must access your brain and think of different words that start with a particular letter.
Since the time limit is so short, you really have to move. There’s not a lot of time for planning or thinking – you just have to write down your answers and move on.
When you’re thinking about becoming a freelancer, you can spend way too much time in the thinking stage. But, if you never move on you will never succeed.
Also, this game is great for improving your vocabulary!
I picked this game up at Goodwill a couple of years ago. You never know what condition you’ll find things in when you purchase a board game from a thrift store.
Thankfully, the one I grabbed was ready to play. The pieces were all accounted for!
In this game, you alternate drawing and writing. Each person plays each round, making it a lot of fun.
Everyone starts by drawing a card and drawing a word from the card into a little dry erase sketch pad.
When everyone is done drawing, the pads are shut and randomly switched. The players each pick up the new sketch pad and look at the picture. They write down what they think it is.
The next person to get that sketch book draws a picture of what the previous person just wrote. So, you are alternating writing and drawing, and it’s like the telephone game in picture form.
Want to see how I adapt this game for my younger kids? Check out this post:
Why Telestrations Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
Sometimes as a freelance writer, you experience clients who don’t know exactly what they want. Learning to work with them is like trying to discern your four year old’s drawing.
You’re pretty sure it’s a picture of her friend, but then she announces it’s a flying fairy. :O
When you’re working with unclear expectations, and not quite sure what you’re looking at, you can ask your client for help. You can also:
- Use clues to help you gain as much insight as possible
- Read other articles this client has published
- Pick a direction and act- shifting gears as more information comes in
This game also boosts your creativity and helps you remember to write clearly so everyone else can understand you.
11. Life Adventures
Time for a confession…I often don’t play board games by the rules. Sometimes, we just make up our own version of the game.
That’s the case with this one. I got it to review several years ago, and we’ve been playing it ever since. But, I somehow managed to lose the rule sheet. And instead of looking online and printing a new one, I just made up some rules the next time we played.
It was so much fun!
So I can’t tell you how to really play this game. But, I can tell you how we play it.
- Divide the cards by color and spread them out by color group picture side up
- One person goes first and selects up to 10 cards
- The cards can be taken from any of the colored piles
- The player gets to look at the cards
- When the player is ready, they tell us their life story using the cards.
Maybe they’re going to get married and have twins. Then they get a pet monkey and take a trip to the ocean. They work hard and gets lots of money.
After the dream life story is done, the cards get returned. Then the next player goes.
Why Life Adventures Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
Are you dreaming big? Or are all your visions of the future safe?
If you aren’t setting big goals, you’re never going to hit them. As a freelance writer, you must sit back and occasionally think big. What changes can you make? How can you make your business stand out and get you hired?
Reflect. Dream. And share your dreams with others – even if they seem too big. You can do this!
This game is so much fun! It’s similar to Telestrations, but enough different that it warranted it’s own spot on my list.
In this game, each person selects a card and a sheet. There are three different captions on the cards.
Players each pick a caption from their card and write it on the paper. Then, they scribble a picture. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Or even beautiful. But, it should relate to the caption.
Players roll up their sheets a little in the special holders, and pass them. The next person looks at the picture, and writes a caption for the new picture.
Play continues, alternating images and captions. Then, when all the spaces are full, the finished sheets get set out for everyone to admire.
Before unrolling them to see all the hilarious entries, it’s time to guess which image started off as your caption. Can you see past all the changes and pick the original one?
Players also vote for the funniest drawing or image before the end of the round.
Why Scribblish Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
When you play Scribblish, you really need to take into account how the other players are going to interpret your act. You also have to keep the time limit in mind.
As a freelancer, you must be aware of deadlines. Like the dripping sand in the hourglass, your task needs to be completed before the due date.
You also need to make sure it’s a match for the audience. If no one understands what you meant, you aren’t going to get many people to read what you write.
Lots of imaginary storytelling? Yes please!
Dixit is a game I recently heard about. It’s going to wind up underneath our Christmas tree this December.
Here’s the premise:
- Each player has a hand of cards depicting various pictures
- The player who is it secretly selects one card and tells the other players a very brief description (without revealing the card)
- The other players look at their own cards and determine which is the best match
- They play the card they choose into the center
- The cards are shuffled and flipped picture side up
- When it’s time, the active player votes for the best
- The players vote on which card the active player will pick
- Points are totaled
- A new person starts over as the active one
Why Dixit Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
Making connections is huge. You can’t just write random sentences and pray your audience sees your point.
You must be able to explain your thinking a bit. And connect your ideas to the point of the overall article. No rabbit trails going on in your posts, okay?
14. Man Bites Dog
I’ve mentioned this game before, in my article on top gifts to encourage young writers.
This game is all about making headlines. You get word cards and combine them for points.
- The dealer deals 5 cards to each player
- Each player decides whether or not to discard and draw new cards (up to three)
- Everyone uses their cards to construct the most outrageous headline possible
- Scores are tallied
- A new round begins
- The first person to reach 500 points is the winner!
Why Man Bites Dog Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
Headlines matter! Only a small percentage of people who see your headline will click through to read the post.
That means if you have a bad headline, it doesn’t matter if your article is great – it won’t get seen as much.
Playing a game like this helps you focus on headlines. It spurs your creativity and gives you ideas for power words you can use. And emotionally charged words.
It also introduces to you to click bait. Please don’t transfer that over to your writing, okay? 😀
My husband and I first played this game at a young couple’s game night at the church we went to in San Diego. It’s been a family favorite ever since!
The goal is to get your partner to guess the word on the card. But, you can’t say certain words that are related.
So, if the word is shadow, you may not say:
Can you do it? You may have to start reciting the poem by Robert Louis Stevenson:
“I have a little _____ that goes in and out with ___ And what can be the use of him is more than I can see. “
But, that only works if your partner knows the poem. If they don’t, you’re just wasting time.
Your clues have to be easily understood by your partner, and get them to guess the word.
If you say one of the taboo words, someone is going to buzz you so watch out!
Why Taboo Is One of the Best Board Games for Freelance Writers
Keywords are important as a freelancer. You need a solid SEO understanding.
And this game helps you to start seeing how keywords can work together. The reason the words on the list are taboo is because they all are very much related to the main word.
So if you were writing an article on shadows, you’d want to use words like sunlight and shade.
This game helps you recognize connections. And, it inspires you to speak directly to your audience in a way they will understand.
Finally, it makes you get outside your comfort zone a little bit and describe common words in new ways. A little imagination stretching is always a good thing for freelance writers.
What’s Your Favorite Board Game for Freelance Writers?
What did you think of my list? Do you agree that these are great games for freelancers? Do you have any to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Here’s to happy family game nights and growing our businesses!