Categories rules title

OBJECTIVE OF CATEGORIES: Say a word that matches the category, making sure not to repeat words already said.


MATERIALS: None needed

TYPE OF GAME: Word game



Categories setup

If you want to test your thinking skills, Categories is a great parlor game you can play at any party. No supplies are necessary; all that is needed is fast thinking and a good attitude. Although the game may seem simple, you’ll be surprised at how many people will be stumped by a simple category just because of the pressure of the game!


Categories gameplay

To begin the game, the players must first choose a category. To decide on a category, first determine who will start the game. This can be arranged with a round of rock, paper, scissors, or by determining who is the youngest player. This player must choose a category for the game. Examples of categories include:

  • Fast food restaurants
  • Sodas
  • Shades of blue
  • Electronics brand
  • Types of shoes

All players must sit or stand in a circle. Then, to start the game, the first player must say something that fits that category. This is the first word. For example, if the category is “sodas”, the first player might say, “Coca-cola”.

Then, the second player must quickly say another soda, such as, “Sprite”. The third player must then say yet another soda. The players must take turns saying something that matches the category, making sure not to repeat any that any previous players have already said.

Keep going around the circle until someone is either:

  1. unable to think of something in that category, or
  2. repeats something someone has already said for the category.



Categories is often played as a drinking game by young adults. If the players are 21 years and older, turn it into a drinking game by having the person who cannot say a word in the category take a drink.


A harder and more complex version of Categories uses a big 20 sided die full of letters, a die rolling board to randomize the letter each round, answer sheets for each player to write on, a timer, and a writing utensil In this version of the game players roll the die to determine the key letter of the alphabet this round will use. The key letters will change every round.

The players will have a timer to write down on their answer sheet creative answers that all start with the same letter as the first letter of each word. Players cannot write the exact same answer they have used in previous rounds. Once the timer is out player’s must immediately stop writing. Players will read their answers aloud. Players that have unique answers from other players score points for each unique answer. If any player things another players does not have acceptable answers such as a word with the wrong initial letter, they may challenge them. Player’s then vote to vote on if they should be allowed. In the case of a tie, the challenged player’s vote is not counted. At the end of the game the player with the most points wins!


The last player remaining wins the round! The winner of the previous round can choose the next category and starts the next round.