The rules are brutal, but the rewards are worth it in this card game that works a bit like Scrabble. Although there is a solitary version of the game for one player, you can play with up to eight. Cards containing letters of the alphabet and special combinations of letters are dealt in increasing number each time the dealer completes a round. Once you've collected your share, you can discard and pick up a new card with each turn. The object is to turn all the letters in your possession into dictionary-proof words while leaving one stray card as a final discard. You want to be the first to accomplish the goal, of course, but there is a scoring system that makes the play competitive for everyone. One nice element is the cards themselves: the letter design is based on beautiful artwork from Celtic manuscripts. This card game is a 1999 Parents' Choice Silver Award winner. --Tom Keogh
Quiddler is a fast paced game of words. Arrange your hand into words by taking turns drawing and discarding. Use your high point letters but don't get caught with them uncombined. High score wins. Short words can help you win too because a bonus is given for the most words as well as one for the longest word.