Scattergories Online for Free

scattergories online

Scattergories is a fun, party game that challenges players to think of words starting with a letter of the alphabet within a set of categories.

It is possible to play Scattergories Online for free with websites such as Swellgarfo , Catergories and City, Country, River. Players can play Scattergories on Zoom by one player sharing their screen with a random letter and 12 categories. Each player completes the Scattergories list in their chat box, and then sends it to the predetermined judge. Players have a fun time checking answers and the judge keeping score.

Scattergories was originally only a fun board game, where a 20-sided die was used to pick a letter and pre-made category lists used to write on, but can now be played in online parties and online classes. The online and app versions of the game are the same as the board game, except that the random letters and lists are computer-generated which is quicker and more convenient.

Scattergories online is also a great game for online Class – Online Scattergories is especially useful for learning English as learners can practice practicing existing vocabulary, and learning new words from friends.

In this article we will explain exactly where and how to play Scattergories Online for free.

  • To start, pick a random letter from the alphabet. (All letters are available except Q, U, V, X, Y, Z as they have limited vocabulary and may be too difficult).
  • Choose 12 random categories – These are also called Scattergories Lists
  • Players have 3 minutes to write a unique word for each category starting with the pre-selected letter.
  • After time is up, players check their answers. If they have an original answer, they receive a point.
  • If players have a similar answer, no one receives a point.
  • One game usually consists of 3 x 3 minute rounds
  • At the end of the game the player wit the most points, wins.

Here is an example Scattergories Game:

The letter is B, players fill in the Scattergory list.

  1. Boys name – Ben
  2. TV show – Brooklyn 99
  3. Animal – Badger
  4. Countries – Belgium
  5. Fashion Brand – Bavari

Rules for Scattergories

As a word game, Scattergories challenges the vocabulary strength and imagination of participants within the time limit. This forces players to think fast and under pressure. Basic rules for Scattergories are:

  • Players must write words matching each of the categories in the allocated time.
  • No adjectives may be used before nouns. For example: “red BMW” for “cars that start with the letter R” will not count.
  • Players must complete their list of words within the set time of 1 to 3 minutes; writing it down in the case of a classroom situation and/ or typing it in chat box when using online versions.
  • A word may be used once only in a round; it cannot be repeated in a second category. For example: The word orange can be used for “fruit that starts with O” but not be repeated for “colors that start with O”.
  • Give bonus points for using the initial letter twice in an answer. For example: the alliterative answer ‘Dunkin Donuts’ for “a place to buy fast food;” or ‘Marilyn Monroe’ for “name of a movie actress that starts with M.”
  • No made-up names or foreign languages may be used. These rules and the debate regarding which words do not qualify is the both fun and educational for students.
  • Remember that the teacher can set the rules depending on the level of the students. Bonus points can be awarded for the longest and thus most creative words, but as always, be absolutely hundred percent fair in allocating points.
  • In the case of more advanced students, decide on which dictionary (Google too) to use to determine the legality of words. (In the online ‘Categories’ game includes a dictionary.)

Scattergories boardgame ►

Here are some FREE Scattergories lists:

BooksThings you plug inHistorical Figures
Farm AnimalsType of drinkReason to call 911
Things made of MetalGreen FoodThings to do on a date
Words with double lettersMusical GroupsCountries
Villains/MonstersWebsiteSports team
Things that can kill youMath TermFashion Brand
Famous DuosItems in your roomCar
Personality TraitsSong TitlesSomething you do every day
Names used in SongsThings found in the oceanWeekend activities
TV showsThings to do at a partyItems in your bag
Scattergories list

How to play Scattergories Online using Zoom

There are two popular and easy ways for teachers to play Scattergories online for free while using a platform such as Zoom. First is the Swellgarfo version as discussed in the following video; second is my personal preference for solo practice against AI robots, the ‘Categories’ game by  

In this game players get a random letter and must then write down words, using the first letter in 12 categories and in only 3 minutes. For example if the random letter is “D”, students must write down words starting with D next to each of the categories, which could be “types of animal; kinds of vegetables; kinds of sport” ect. The names could be donkey, dove, dolphin in category one with students having to decide if birds and fish are animals. If the student can’t think of a vegetable starting with D, they leave the category blank and write darts or diving as sports.

You can let students do it individually, in pairs, or place them in groups. It’s fun to play in normal or online classes. This is a great activity to use, even when unprepared. The online version looks like the following:

How to play Scattergories online for free on Swellgarfo

Marked by its simplicity, Swellgarfo’s online version is popular among ESL teachers. This list generator, developed by Anthony Kenzo Salazar, is very easy to use. It picks a random letter, prepares random categories and also provides a timer.

swellgarfo online scattergories

Using Zoom, the teacher uses share screen to display the lists to the students, who can either write their answers on paper and then display it to the rest of the class; or alternatively type their answers in the chat box. The class then debates the merits of the answers and see who gets the most points. The teacher then hits the restart for round two and again for round three. It’s pretty simple. Just make sure everyone has a piece of paper, a pencil, and do not cheat with their answers. Whoever has the most points at the end wins.

Can you play Scattergories with 2 players?

Yes, it is possible to play Scattergories with only 2 players. Open up Scattergories on Swellgarfo. Once you start the game each player has to write down as many words as possible. Remember to make the answers unique, as you don’t score a point if you have the same word as your opponent. Once time is up the 2 players compare answers. The player with the most unique answers for a category, wins.

If there is a tie, play a tie breaker where you pick a category and each player write as many words as possible in 1 min. The person with the most answers, wins.


Another website where you can play Scattergories online for free is called ‘City, Country, River’.

It is an easy site to use and you can play against AI robots or friends.

To start a game you can choose the options, categories you want to use and invite friends to play.

Once you’ve started a game you have a set amount of time to type in as many unique answers as possible.

After each round the scores are added up and after 3 rounds, the player with the most points, wins.


City, Country, River.

A second online Scattergories game was created by and is called ‘Categories’. Their Scattergories game is a sophisticated online version that can be played either in single or multi-player mode against friends or other people online. It is available in 22 other languages such as Spanish and Portuguese.

‘Categories’ is a free game, but players who wish to see their statistics need to login. Players select the twelve categories from a list of about five hundred  topics. Thanks to a comprehensive statistics function, students can see exactly how they measure up to other players of this nice online game.

On opening the latest Scattergories game online, this is what students will see on opening page of the ‘Categories’ game by Gamiac. They can either log in, or just play the game in one of twenty-three languages, making it the ideal platform not only for English teachers, but also for students learning other major languages such as Spanish, German, French or Russian.

The ‘Categories’ online game is supported with a dictionary and also keeps statistics of the game, making it interesting for players to compare themselves to other online players, both from their own countries and internationally.

Scattergories Online

Can ESL Students play Scattergories in other languages?

Apart from English, the Gamiac version currently supports the following languages: French, Slavonic, Russian, Croatian, Czech, Thai, Portuguese, Hungarian, Vietnamese, Swedish, Dutch, Italian, Romanian, Polish, Spanish, Turkish, German, Indonesian and Danish.

Students can challenge friends, or play in a foreign language to improve their vocabulary. The game also or be motivated to be the best for their country for the past 24 hours, a week, a month or since the inception of the game in September 2016.  

How good are you at playing Scattergories?

From the following screen-print, readers can see the results of a quick test of one minute games I’ve played against two robots on the Gamiac version. It provides stats for the past 24 hours/ week/ month. On the left of the picture the many nationalities of players can be seen.

How to play Scattergories online without Zoom

Those ESL teachers who are using school platforms to communicate with their students can also play Scattergories, using the Swellgarfo version. First, they set up the number of players in the Scattergories room and select the game categories the students must play, the number of rounds and allotted time, then copy and send the link to the players.

Students can type their answers and submit it in their chat boxes. Alternatively, they can write it on a piece of paper and show it to the teacher when the time is up.

Playing Scattergories in the classroom is very easy. First place the students into pairs or small groups.

Hand each group a paper to write on and then explain the rules to them.

  1. You will show them 10 categories.
  2. Then you will pick a random letter.
  3. They have to write down a unique word for each category.
  4. After 3 minutes they will stop and everyone will show their answers.
  5. They only get a point if they have a correct answer, and nobody has the same answer as them.
  6. After 3 rounds you will count up the totals to find a winner.
  7. You can use the Scattergories list in the article.

How to play Scattergories on phone apps

Teachers can in some cases also play Scattergories with their students using the app on their phones while using the school platform to discuss the words and points as the game progresses.

The Scattergories version on Google Play

An Android version of Scattergories by Magmic Inc can be downloaded from the Google Play store. It has a ranking of 3.7 stars overall and over 100,000 installations.  It allows play against another random player or connect it to play against other students or friends on Facebook. This app also has an auto-correct feature to improve answers plus a points and rewards system.

The iTunes version of Scattergories

Teachers and students can also play Scattergories on their phones or tablets using a free download by iTunes. This app requires phones with iOS 8.0 or better and has a user rank of 4.5 overall. The only complaint being long advertisements while playing on the free version. In tournament mode players can keep track of their wins on a leaderboard, earn points for time boosters and even dispute rejected words.


Scattergories is a fun and educational game great for any age that can easily played in real-life and online. Many English as a Second Langauge teachers successfully play the game in their classes to help their students learn English.

Try Scategories with your friends, family or students as a fun, party game.

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