Zoolphabet: basic rules (ages 6+)

Zoolphabet: basic rules (ages 6+)
Video Instructions:
Players: 2 to 5
Age: 5+, 8+ years
Time: 15–20 minutes
Learning the English alphabet is easy! Kids don’t have to know the letter names in order to play Zoolphabet — the skill will come
naturally from playing the game. Children who already know the letters will also enjoy playing the game. In this case, the game
will develop their memory and spelling skills.
• 26 cards with animals and their English names.
• 70 cards with letters (26 color-coded cards for the basic version of the game,
the rest of the cards are for additional rules-based games).
• 4 checklist cards and illustrated game rules.
Zoolphabet: basic rules (ages 6+)
To play the game, you have to pick out one of three card
sets. The way the card sets are organised guarantees the
optimal number of cards for each version of the game, as
well as the presence of all the letters of the alphabet.
Fig. 1
To pick out a set, use the leaf-shaped tags of different
colours, printed in the low right-hand corner of the letter
cards and animal cards (fig. 1). To make the selection process
easier, use a checklist card, which lists all the letters and
animals arranged in groups for each version of the game.
The card set marked by orange leaves is for the simplest version of the game. It includes 8 animal cards
and 9 letter cards. These are the most commonly used letters of the English alphabet (which make up
more than 60% of all letters in a typical text).
The sets marked by purple and blue leaves include 13 animal cards and 16 letter cards. You can add
them gradually to the basic card set, introducing new letters and animals, and making the game more
Shuffle the letter cards thoroughly and lay them face-down
on the table forming a 3x3 or 4x4 grid (depending on the
type of game set you’ve chosen).
Fig. 2
Shuffle the animal cards from the corresponding card set
and put them next to the layout (fig. 2).
Game Objective
The game consists of several rounds. At each round the players compete for one animal card, which is taken out from
the pack of cards at the beginning of every round. The players’ objective is to turn over all of the letters that are used in
the name of the animal. The player that turns over the card with the final letter of the word takes the animal card, and it
becomes his or her “trophy.”
Then another round begins and the players draw the next animal card from the pack. The player who gets more animal
cards than the others becomes the winner!
Game play
The players take turns in a clockwise order.
Fig. 3
During their turn, players turn over one of the letter cards.
If there is no such letter in the word on the animal card, the
player puts the card ‘face-down’ on the same place it was
before. (The other players should memorize the placement
of the letter, which will come in handy in the following
rounds). Then, it’s the next player’s turn.
If a player turns over the card with one of the letters that
form the word on the animal card, he puts the card ‘faceup’ on the same place and turns over one more letter card
(fig. 3).
Thus, the player can turn over letter cards until he makes a mistake. Each correctly turned-over card remains ‘face-up’ until
the end of the round. When one of the players turns over the last letter of the word (in other words, all letter cards used in
the word are ‘face-up’), he takes the animal card, and the round is over.
After that, all turned-over letter cards should be returned to their ‘face-down’ position, and remain in the same exact places
they occupied during the first round. The next animal card is drawn from the pack, and the next round begins. Right of first
turn goes to the player next to the winner in a clockwise order.
Ending the Game
When all the animal cards from the pack have been taken, the players count the cards in their “trophies.” The player with the
most animal cards is the winner! If the players have the same number of cards, compare the total number of letters in the
names on collected animals cards, and the player with the most letters wins.
More Challenging Options
• The animal card is shown only at the beginning of the round and then is turned ‘face-down’. During the round, the players
have to recall what letters the word consists of (they can say the word to themselves and spell it out).
• Another challenge: the players have to turn over the letter cards in the order they occur in the word starting with the
first one.
• You can also add the cards from the other sets.
* Although the cards also depict fish, birds, and plants, we call them all Animal cards for brevity.
Additional Game Options
Memory (6+)
For this game, you will need paired letter cards (you can increase or decrease
the level of difficulty and the length of the game by using from 6 to 26 pairs).
The cards are laid on the table ‘face down’. The player turns over two cards: if he
happens to turn over two cards with the same letters, he takes the pair.
After the player takes a pair, the game can be continued in two ways: 1) this
player can have another try and turn over two more cards 2) it’s next player’s
turn. Playing with small children, when you don’t use many cards, it’s better to
follow the second option (next player’s turn); with older children, when many
cards are used, the first option (the player has another try) can be more suitable.
If the player failed to open paired cards, he turns the cards face-down, and it’s
next player’s turn. The player with the most cards by the end of the game wins.
Bingo (6+)
For this game, you need to pick out a card-set, following instructions given in the Basic rules. One of the older players takes
on the role of game leader.
The players each receive one or several animal cards and place the cards in front of them. The game leader shuffles the
letter cards and then shows them one by one, naming the letters.
When a player notices that the word on his animal card contains the called-out letter, he has to be the quickest to yell “got
it!”. If he’s right and was the quickest, he gets the letter card. If a player yells “got it!” but was actually mistaken and his animal
has no such letter, he has to put one of his previously won letter cards back into the pack.
The game is over when the game leader runs out of cards; the player with the most letter cards wins.
Burners (8 +)
For this game, you need a pack of letter cards. Put away all of the cards with consonants that are marked with blue or purple
leaf-tags, but don’t have orange leaf-tags on them. Thus, the pack for this game will only have one card for each of the least
used consonants. Such setup allows for quicker word compilation and adds fun to the game process.
Shuffle the letter cards and put the pack ‘face-down’ in the middle of the table. The players take turns, going in clockwise order.
During turns, each player takes the top card and puts it ‘face-up’ on the table. Each following card should be placed next to the
previous one and all the cards should be clearly visible
The player taking a card may get “burned,” if during his turn (before the next player puts down another card), one of the
opponents notices that some of the face-up cards on the table can form a word (a common noun in its singular form).
What’s more, it doesn’t matter whether the word contains the letter displayed during the current turn or whether it can be
formed from the letter-cards that are already on the table. The important thing is that one of the players managed to form a
When somebody calls out a word, the “burned” player collects all of the letter cards that form this word as a fine, and then it’s the
next player’s turn. The game is over when there are no cards left in the pack, and the player with the least amount of cards wins.
Dummy (8+ years)
For this game, you need all of the letter cards.
The players choose a word (preferably 5-7 letters long), and
spell it out on the table with the help of letter cards. The rest
of the deck is shuffled, and each player is dealt 5 cards. The
players take turns in clockwise order.
During his turn, a player may add one letter to the word
spelled on the table to make a new word (a common noun
in singular form). The new word can be formed in any
direction except diagonally.
The number of letters used to form a new word equals the
number of points a player gets for his turn. Then the player
draws one more card from the stack, to have five cards in his
hand, and it’s the next player’s turn.
If a player can’t form a new word, he can pass his turn.
Instead, he gets an opportunity to discard one of his letter
cards and replace it with a new one.
The game is over when no letter cards are left in the stack,
and none of the players can form a new word. The player
with the most points wins.
More educational games at
V.1 2016 RUS
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