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Word Link
Word Link - Image1
Posting Details
Country of origin United States
Created by Stanley Korn
Posted by Stanley Korn
Date first posted February 10, 2014
Game details
Game genre Language
Game summary Construct a sequence of words linking the starting word to the ending word where each word is derived from the previous.
# of players From 2 to a whole class of players
For ages 6 to 12+


Other details


Game Designer / CreatorEdit

  • Created by Stanley Korn

Game SummaryEdit

To begin the game, the moderator gives each contestant a starting word and an ending word; each contestant gets the same pair of words. The object of the game is to construct a sequence of words linking the starting word to the ending word, where each word in the sequence other than the starting word is derived from the previous word by one of the following transformations: change one letter, add one letter, remove one letter, move one letter, and interchange two letters. The first contestant to construct a valid word sequence is the winner.

Players / ModeratorsEdit

  • Target age range for this game. This game is suitable for ages 6 to 12, although teenagers and adults will enjoy playing it as well.
  • Number of players. The minimum number of players is two contestants plus a moderator. There is no upper limit to the number of players.
  • Player dynamics and roles, use of moderators or instructors, etc. The instructors and/or moderators explain to the players how to play the game. The players assume the role of contestants competing against each other. The moderator provides the contestants with the starting and ending words, and judges the contestants’ submitted word sequences for validity.

Game Set-up and ConstructionEdit

Detailed step-by-step instructions on how to set-up and/or construct the game.

  • If whiteboards or computers are to be used, then these items must be set up prior to the start of the game. The instructors/moderators must be knowledgeable on how to play the game, so that they can explain the game to the players.

Details on materials needed including alternatives if possible.

  • Depending on the level of technology available, the contestants can construct their word sequences either using pen/pencil and paper, on whiteboards, or using computers. It should be emphasized that whiteboards and computers are not necessary to play the game; their only purpose is to enable the spectators (if any) to follow the progress of the contestants in building their word sequences.

Estimated cost to get the game up and running and to operate on an ongoing basis.

  • The cost will depend on whether the contestants construct their word sequences using pen/pencil and paper, on whiteboards, or using computers. Some of these materials may already be present in the classroom or other venue where the game is played, resulting in a cost savings. In addition to the cost of the materials, there is the cost of renting the facility in which the game is played as well as the cost of hiring the people to conduct the game.

How to Play / Game RulesEdit

To begin the game, the moderator gives each contestant a starting word and an ending word; each contestant gets the same pair of words. The object of the game is to construct a sequence of words linking the starting word to the ending word, subject to the following requirements:

  1. All words in the sequence must be valid English words, as evidenced by appearing in some predetermined dictionary.
  2. Except for the starting word, every word in the sequence, including the ending word, must be derived from the previous word by exactly one of the following transformations:
  • Change one letter (but not multiple copies of the same letter). For example, changing the “c” in “cat” to “h” results in “hat”.
  • Add one letter at the beginning, end, or anywhere within the word. For example, adding an “s” to “pat” can result in “spat”, “past”, or “pats”, depending on where it is added.
  • Remove one letter. For example, removing the “t” from “stand” results in “sand”.
  • Move one letter. For example, moving the “s” in “spin” to the end of the word results in “pins”.
  • Interchange two letters. For example, interchanging the “a” and the “i” in “dairy” results in “diary”.


The first contestant to construct a valid sequence of words linking the starting word to the ending word is the winner. After a contestant has completed his (or her) word sequence, he alerts the moderator to that effect (e.g., by raising his hand), and submits his entry. If the moderator judges that contestant’s word sequence to be valid, then he (the contestant) is declared the winner; otherwise, he is disqualified. The other contestants continue to work on their word sequences until a winner is declared.

If the moderator judges that the starting word and ending word are particularly difficult to link, then he may declare a letter to be a wildcard. In that case, in addition to the one allowed transformation, any number of the wildcard letters may be added to and/or removed from the word in going from one word to the next in the sequence. For example, if “e” is declared to be a wildcard, then one could go from “employee” to “ploy” by removing “m” (the one allowed transformation) as well as all occurrences of the letter “e” (the wildcard letter).

For the benefit of spectators, the contestants can construct their word sequences on whiteboards rather than using pen/pencil and paper. If the necessary equipment is available, then the contestants can build their word sequences on computers so that the word sequences of all of the contestants are projected on the same screen as they are being built.

Templates / DiagramsEdit

  • NA

Related Web LinksEdit

  • NA

Other DetailsEdit

Playing word link will expand the vocabulary of the players, as well as improve their cognitive skills.

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