- Write out the alphabet from A to Z.
- You each in turn write a word in accordance with the rules given below, and whoever writes the last word loses.
- The first word must begin with A, which is duly
crossed off the alphabet as having been used. If it also contains a B,
the B is deleted; if it also contains a C somewhere after the
B, C is deleted. So is any D following the C, and so on.
For example, the first word might be ALL, deleting A; or ABLE, deleting A and
B; or ABACK deleting A, B and C; or ABDICATED, deleting all four letters from
A to D. (Note that ABDICATE only deletes up to C, because the D comes before
it and therefore doesn't count.)
The second player's first word must begin with the next undeleted letter of the
alphabet. As before, any letters consecutive to it are deleted provided that
they occur in correct sequence in the word.
Here's a sample game:
1st player 2nd player ABack DEFyinG HIJacK LaMiNatiOn PiQue ReSTaUrant VoW XYlophone Zip (loses)
- Improving the game
- You'll soon discover that whoever deletes up to U wins the game. (Unless the other can find a word beginning with V that also eliminates W and X, since V alone loses when followed by WaXY.) Further backtracking along these lines shows that whoever eliminates up to P wins - unless there is a Q-word that also eliminates R, S, T, and U, and I have yet to find one. When you have carried out further researches and discovered that one player has an inbuilt advantage, you will look for ways of opening up the game again. Here are two possibilities.
- Cyclic variant
- Regard the alphabet as cyclic - that is, with A following in sequence
from Z. The game is played as before, except that (a) the first player
may begin anywhere in the alphabet and (b) whoever writes the last word
wins. For example:
1st player 2nd player MeNtiOn PiQue ReSTaUrant VoW XYlem ZeAl BaCkeD EFfiGy HIp JacKaL (wins)
- Scoring variant
- Also cyclic, but this time the winner is the player who makes the larger
score, regardless of who writes the last word. For this purpose you make a
note of how many letters you delete at each turn, and at end of play
calculate your final score by multiplying them all together. For example:
1st player 2nd player QueeReST UVula WaXY ZABaglione CeDE FiGHtIng JacKaL MiNOrshiP (ends)