Ghost Words is a great travelling game for four or more players. It is perfect for a Halloween activity after everyone has finished telling their spookiest stories. One person starts by saying the first 3 letters of a word. For example “C, A, U” (for younger players you can prepare cards with suggested word beginnings). Each player in turn repeats ALL the previous letters and then adds one letter. Example: First player: “C, A, U…”, second player: “C, A, U, S…”, third player: “C, A,U, S, E…”
The game is all about bluffing. If a player adds a letter that is not part of a possible word or a complete word the other players can call “GHOST!” By calling ‘Ghost’ you are saying that the player has created a word that is not real – a ghost word – or that they have incorrectly repeated the letters. If the call is correct, then that player is out. If the call is not correct, the player who made the call is out! The trick is to try to get others out by bluffing a ghost word or pretending that you are guessing when it is a real word.
In the example, the fourth player could add a letter to the beginning of the word to try to trick the other players. She is thinking of the word ‘because’ so says aloud “E,C,A,U,S,E…” This does not make sense to player one so he calls “GHOST!”. It is now up to the other player(s) to provide a real word using those letters. Player four repeats the letters B,E,C,A,U,S,E – because. This means player one is out of the game and the other three players keep playing knock-out rounds until there is one winner.
It is best to decide before playing if players can add letters to the beginning and end of the base letters. For younger players it is best just to add letters to the end.
So what happens if no-one calls ghost? Using the same example, the next player (player 1) adds a b and says b,e,c,a,u,s,e… The next player must continue even if there is no possible way to expand on the word. The best strategy in this case would be for the next player (player 2) to say with confidence “b,e,c,a,u,s,e,s…” Having bluffed everyone with confidence, the next player (player 3) is forced to add another letter ie “b,e,c,a,u,s,e,s,t…” No-one is going to believe this is a word, no matter how confident you are. Another player calls “Ghost!” and because no word can be provided, player 3 is out.