Waddington's Spelling Bee card game - 1930s


Forerunner of Scrabble and Lexicon.

This early word card game has players all trying to find words simultaneously, from the same set of cards.

There are two decks of 56 cards each. The green-backed deck's cards have single letters or 2-letter combinations on them, and is suitable for children as well as adults (2-6 players). The red deck is for larger groups (4-10) and older players, and has 2- or 3-letter combinations, as well as individual letters in red ink. Each card also has a point value attached.

Any even number of cards is dealt out, so the total is about 50 cards with one deck, 100 cards for both. (E.g. 25 for 4 players, 20 each for 5, 18 for 6, etc.) The remainder makes a face up pool in the center. Players hands are kept face down, and all start by turning up the top card, starting their pack.

A turn consists of exposing the top card of your hand onto your pack (and presumably waiting a short time for people to think). At any time, if a player can make a word out of 2 or more of the visible cards, they call it out and play stops. If the word is verified, the caller takes the entire packs containing the cards he used, and places them at the bottom of his hand. Red letters may only be used as the first or last letter of their word.

If two players call out at the same time, the longer word wins; if tied, the packs involved go into the pool. If a word is wrong and challenged, the challenger gets the packs; if the challenge was incorrect, the challenger's pack goes into the pool.

The winner is the one who gets all the cards; or, after a set length of time, it is the player with the highest total value in his cards.


Drop lid box with a tear to the front but includes original rules and the cards are in good condition. Grade 3 overall under the Hoyles Vintage Grading System.