I suck at Scattergories. I've played the game dozens of times, and as far as I can remember I have never gotten anything other than last place. Usually the gap between me and the next lowest score is large. I just finished a full 16-round game with a final score of 51. Only 24 words were crossed out due to others having them; 1 or 2 words tops were crossed out due to challenge. That's an average of just 4.7 words that I filled in per 12-word list. I believe that putting something down for each line is the most important aspect of the game, so clearly I'm doing something wrong.
Here are my strategies for filling up the slots on each list:
- Think of any and all words starting with the letter and find a category that they might fit in, selecting the most obscure category to avoid overlapping with another player.
- Think of any and all words associated with the category on the list, and see if any of them start with the letter. Usually this involves visualizing the category. For example, with “things in a junk drawer” I visualize my own junk drawer, name each item, and check the first letter for a match.
- Read the list, the instructions, and any text in the room for words that start with the letter. Any that do, find a category for them if possible.
- Sound out in my head the letter followed by a common next letter, waiting for my brain to fill in a word. For example, the letter is “S,” so in my head I say “sh...” and “se...” until words like “shout” and “seer” pop up. Then, find a category for that word.
- Write the first letter to see if my brain will auto-complete a word simply by muscle memory.
You might be tempted to comment, “it's a party game, just have fun with it.” Since I'm not particularly competitive, that's basically what I have done in my dozens of attempts. However, at this point the pattern of suckage is hard to ignore, and I'm quite curious what key aspect of the game I must be missing.