A Classic Travel Game

If you are heading down the highway and need a free idea to pass some time, the alphabet game is a great way to get everyone involved and it doesn't cost a thing.  The next time you are facing a long road trip the alphabet game might just do the trick to keep the kids entertained for a while.

ABC Alpabet Travel Game For The CarThe beauty of the alphabet game is that you don’t need any game pieces.  You don't need a pen and paper.  You don't even need any room to do anything in the car.  It also doesn’t matter where everyone is sitting in the car in realtion to one another.

The alphabet game is good for kids who are just learning to read and up through Grandma and Grandpa.

Here's How This Travel Game Works

The Goal of the Alphabet Game

Each player in the game must find the letters of the alphabet, in order, from A to Z.  The alphabet game works will witn any number of players.  In fact, if you are bored and facing several hundred miles you might as well play alone as it will pass some time, but the competition of having others in the game adds a lot to the fun.

The goal is to be the first player to finish.  The first player to call out his “Z” wins the game.

Where To Find Letters

There are many variations to the answer for this question but the most common places are road signs, billboards, and buildings along your route. 

Moving objects such as other cars or trucks, or trains, are not allowed.  This is in part due to the fact that they are moving in opposite directions and the game becomes too difficult to judge.

It is also normal to disallow anything that you have driven past.  This is because if creates an unfair advantage for the backseat riders and the front seat riders cannot verify the finds.

How To Begin

To begin the game, all players begin to look for the letter A.  When a player finds an A they call out “A”, point out the source of the letter to the other players, and begin looking for their next letter, B.  The other players cannot use the same A from the same word as the first player and are still looking for their A.  Play progresses in the way.

There are no turns in the alphabet game.  It is a free for all.  Every player is looking for his next letter at all times.  This adds to the fun, but will test your ability to know where everyone else is at in the game, especially if you have several players.  There is also a bit of an honor system in place here.Can A Letter Be Reused?

Speed Limit Sign Used in Alphabet Travel Game

No.  A letter may not be used by more than one player, so once a player calls out an A, that A from that sign is off the board.  Other players may find another A on the same sign, but the original A is out of play.

Can A Sign Be Reused?

Absolutely!  A sign can be used for any number of letters by any number of players.  This is what adds a bit of chaos to the game, particularly if you are barreling down the highway at 70 miles per hour. 

One variation of the rules states that a single sign may only be used for one letter and one player to keep the pace a little slower, so if you choose you may use that rule.  This is a good idea if you have lots of players and the car is moving fast, since verification of an opponents find is very difficult when 3 people all start hollering letters at the same time.

Doesn’t The Best Reader Always Win?

Stop Sign Used in Alpabet Travel Game for the CarNot necessarily.  You will find that even a kid playing the alphabet game with an adult will result in a competitive game.  This is because you don’t have to read that well, you only need to learn to read know your letters well.

The other reason for this is that there are certain letters that are just hard to find.  You will find that the pace, when you start with A, B, and C, will be very fast.  Those letters are very common and people will be shouting out letters quickly.  However, letters like J, Q, or Z will take a bit longer.  This will allow others to catch up so don’t despair if you have fallen behind.

How Long Does It Take?

A typical alphabet game will take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes or more, depending on the skill level of the players, the number of players, and whether you are in an urban area or a rural highway.  In fact, in a truly rural place it could take much longer.

Are There Other Variations?

Yes, there are, and you will think of even more.

One common variation is to allow a single sign to be used only once.  This will slow the speed of play and make the game more sane.  Some will enjoy this variation while others will think it turns the speed down too much.

Another common variation is to alternate signs, where player 1 gets the first sing, player 2 the next one, and so on.  This is a good variation if you have younger players since the adults can help them discover the letter on their sign, but it takes much of the true competition out of the game.

Once you run through the alphabet game once you will know what variations, if any, you should try to make the game work for the players in your car.  What you change is up to you - there are no strict rules except to agree on the rules.

Are You Going To Play?

Why not try the alphabet game on the long drive to your next family vacation?  It is a terrific classic travel games travel game for the car that is completely free and ready to play when you are.