Word search board games are a great addition to any collection since they are generally easy for people who rarely play games to immediately jump in and enjoy. Straightforward mechanics and a simple concept–finding words–ensure everyone can fully participate and have a chance to win.
Surprisingly there are not that many word search games, not to be confused by the many word-based games on the market. But, there are a few worth looking into.
Use this table if you’re looking to quickly reference a specific game, or you can scroll down to read a little more about each game.
|Game Name||# of Players||Time to Play||Review Links|
|WordSearch!||2-4 players||30 minutes||Read Amazon Reviews|
|WordSearch Jr.||2-4 players||20 minutes||Read Amazon Reviews|
|Boggle||2-8 players||10 minutes||Read Amazon Reviews|
|Big Boggle||2-8 players||10 minutes||Read Amazon Reviews|
|Boggle Jr.!||1-2 players||10 minutes||Read Amazon Reviews|
|Pathwords||1 player||variable||Read Amazon Reviews|
|Pathwords Jr.||1 player||variable||Read Amazon Reviews|
WordSearch! and Wordsearch Junior
WordSearch! takes a common activity everyone learns early in life and turns it into a competitive race. As a race, all players are actively engaged at all times during the game, constantly on the lookout for whichever of the over 460 possible words is currently in play.
The over 460 words are spread across 16 different puzzles that double as a word-filled battleground.
While not deep in strategy, WordSearch! does offer a good comeback mechanic in that words found later in the game can push aside words found earlier. This ensures that no player is ever truly out of the game.
Wordsearch Junior scales back the reading requirement to enable younger players to participate.
Designed for ages 4 and up, Wordsearch Junior scaffolds by providing multiple steps for young children: matching pattern puzzles, words-with-picture puzzles, and word-only puzzles.
Boggle and Boggle Jr.
As a young kid growing up in the 80’s, Boggle and its bigger brother Big Boggle are two of the first games I recall playing. Unlike WordSearch, Boggle variants offer a truly random experience. Each game is dependent on how the letter dice roll.
Like WordSearch, though, Boggle keeps all players engaged as they race against the 3-minute timer to find more words than their opponents. The longer the better, and the shorter generally means more likely to overlap with another player.
I’ve included Boggle Jr. here even though it doesn’t follow the word search pattern of standard or Big Boggle. That said, I’ve always been a big fan of Boggle and the junior version is a great way to help three- and four-year old kids improve letter and word recognition.
Pathwords and Pathwords Jr.
Pathwords is distinct from the previous two games in that it is intended for only one player. Pathwords combines word searching and logic puzzles by presenting you with a challenge: how do you configure Tetris-like pieces so that they each form a word?
The beginner cards are definitely too easy for adults, but they get rather challenging by the time you get to expert versions. With 40 cards, there are enough to keep you busy unless you binge-play the game. However, games like this usually do not have much repeat-play value for me since I tend to remember how to complete cards. Still, it should should take 15-20 hours to complete all of the cards, and it offers an easy-to-play game for family or friends to play when visiting.
Pathwords Jr.’s gameplay is much the same as the standard version; just simplified!
One extra element is that each puzzle is themed (e.g., baseball or computer keyboard), which can help younger players figure out what words they are searching for.