The game Scattergories is a word game that requires players to provide an answer in different categories that begin with a certain letter.

For instance, the letter might be ‘C’ and the categories might be “vegetables,” “states,” “things you throw away,” “occupations,” etc. (categories taken from an actual Scattergories list).

So, you might write down these answers:

  • Vegetables: cucumber
  • States: Colorado
  • Things You Throw Away: cores
  • Occupations: carpenter

Pretty simple really.

The letter for each list is chosen by a role of a die that comes with the game.

This die is 20-sided.

If you know that the English alphabet contains 26 letters, you know that some letters have to be left off the Scattergories dice.

So, which letters are missing?

A 20-sided Scattergories dice (die) sits against a black background

Scattergories Excluded Letters

The Scattergories’ creator really disliked the end of the alphabet when he created the game.

Or it sure seems as if he did.

After all, only one letter in the alphabet after the letter ‘T’ appears on the Scattergories dice, and that letter is ‘W.’

So, on its face, it really does seem like the Scattergories creator had it out for the last few letters of the English language.

In reality, of course, the end of the English alphabet is just where many of our lesser-used letters – and, consequently, the ones we use to start fewer words – happen to be.

The letters that do not appear on a Scattergories die are (in alphabetical order) –

  • Q
  • U
  • V
  • X
  • Y
  • Z

With most of these letters, you can understand why the creator of the game chose not to include them.

(I have some quibbles about the letter ‘V’ myself. It might be difficult, but I think it could be done a lot of the time.  But, then, what letter would they take out?)

Including these letters would make the game infinitely more difficult.

On some Scattergories lists, it might even make it next to impossible.

So, when chucking letters to make a 20-sided die, it makes sense that these were the letters the game’s creator chose to leave out

Still… I wouldn’t mind taking a crack at these lists with a ‘V’ in the mix from time to time.

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Why Are These Letters Missing?

Why were these letters given the cold shoulder in the design of the Scattergories letter die?

The answer lies in their rarity in the English language.

These characters appear far less frequently in words, making them less suitable for a game centered around quick thinking and brainstorming.

Final Word

The Scattergories letter die, with its six missing letters, serves as a testament to the delicate balance between challenge and accessibility in game design.

While these rare characters may be absent from the die, their presence (or lack thereof) continues to spark intrigue and debate among board game enthusiasts.

Whether you choose to embrace the original design or venture into uncharted territory with the full alphabet, one thing is certain: Scattergories will continue to delight and challenge players for generations to come.

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