Numbers and Letters

  • Numbers and letters is a paper-pencil game for two or more players.
  • The game was originally devised for French TV in 1965 under the name Des Chiffres et Des Lettres and adapted to many national televisions around the world, including the British version Countdown (1982).
  • The game consists of alternating rounds of numbers and letters. Each can also be played as a game on its own right. In numbers round, the aim is to make as long a word as possible from 9 letters chosen at random. In letters round, players try to reach a result as close to a target number as possible from 6 numbers chosen at random.
  • Numbers - From a group of ‘small numbers’ (1-10) and ‘large numbers’ (25, 50, 75, 100) a total of six numbers are chosen at random. Distribution may be 4 small and 2 large, or 5 small and 1 large. Then a 3-digit target number is selected, for example by players saying out digits in turn. Within a given time (e.g. 1 min), players try to arrive at the target number by applying four basic artihmetic operations (+, -, ×, ÷) to six numbers chosen. When time is up, each player declares how close their results are to the target number by saying “exact”, “one away”, etc. The player(s) with the closest result scores 10 pts for exact result, 9 pts for 1-away,... No points awarded if a player’s calculations are flawed.
  • Letters - A total of nine letters including at least 3 vowels and 4 consonants are chosen randomly. Within the set time (e.g. 1 min), each player makes the longest word possible from the nine letters. Player(s) with the longest valid word scores one point per letter, or 18 points if they have used all nine.
  • In one variant, only 8 letters are chosen and players are free to use an additional letter at their will. In this version, if two words are equally long, the one without the additional letter wins.
  • You may use the tiles in the template for choosing letters and numbers.



cutout numbers+letters.pdf
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