Car games, Word games, Boardless Games - OH MY

I grew up in California and every year we did at least one trip down to LA from Sacramento. For those that aren't aware, that's about a 7 hour car ride. And we were armed not with mobile phones or tablets. We didn't have a DVD player in our car. No.


We had the cassette tapes.


We had silly songs.


We had "car games."

Forever I'll have the sensation of staring out the window, watching the expansive and flat, brown terrain of the farm lands surrounding the "5" whenever I hear a Beach Boys song. But nevermind that. What I want to talk about are the CAR GAMES and those like them.


They're great games that don't require a board or cards or dice. They're games like I-Spy (I spy with my little eye...), 20 questions, and The Alphabet Game (also called the Sign Game). I'm going to tell you how to play some of the lesser known games, and some I learned as an adult while camping with friends.


Briefly, The Alphabet Game that I just mentioned (which is strictly a roadtrip game) involves looking for words on billboards, street signs, and store fronts. Pretty much anything that you can read on an object that can't or doesn't move (no writing a word on a piece of paper and putting it out the window!) You have to find the words in alphabetical order. That's pretty much it. The whole car works together to find each word, and some are harder than others.


(Don't forget to pump your arm, like so, to get the Big Rigs to honk their horns!)


One game that I enjoy, and one we even played during the holiday party, is similar to 6-Degrees of Kevin Bacon (the theory that you can connect anyone to Kevin Bacon in 6 steps). I think we named it "Star Connection." You select two actors, any actor, and then connect them via other actors through movies. No TV shows allowed! Voice acting is ok. For instance, Simon Pegg and Doris Day.


Doris Day was in The Man Who Knew Too Much with James Stewart.

James Stewart was in Fievel Goes West (voice of Wylie) with John Cleese.

John Cleese was in A Fish Called Wanda with Stephen Fry.

Stephen Fry was in Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy with Bill Nighy.

Bill Nighy was in Shawn of the Dead with Simon Pegg.


The goal is to get them as close as you can. I'm sure there are closer connections than I just did between Simon Pegg and Doris Day, but 5 steps isn't too shabby! (You should also do your best not to use IMDB). You can also make it harder and insist each connection must share a scene together.

High-fives required with a successful connection.


This next one is a favourite of ours. We came up with a name for it once, but I can never remember it. This is a word association game. In a group of people, two of you come up with a word independently. They say their words at the same time. Then two different people choose a word that connect the original pair. They each say their words at the same time. And you go like this until two people say the same word at the same time. For instance...


- Tim and Susy go first. They count to three and say their words at the same time - "Turnip" and "Sink."

- Lena and Bob go next. They've both come up with a word relating to both Turnip and Sink.

One, two three - Lena says "Kitchen" and Bob says "Prep."

- Susy wants to go again because she thinks she has it! Kevin steps in with a word now.

One, two, three - They both say "Cooking" at the same time.


And that's it. Sometimes it takes a bit longer and everyone is circling the drain with their words. Or, if you're like me and Katie, you only go one round. haha!


A story-building game that is quite fun is One Line at a Time, wherein you build a story as a group, each person telling just a few lines of the story at a time. We have a channel for that in our Discord server, making stories as a community!


You can look up other games similar to this last one, as they're mostly improv games. (this can also build your skills as a Role-player).


Do you have any games like these that you like playing? Tell us about them in the comments!

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