‘Emkata: The Acrostic Word Game’ Is Perfect for Summer!

My 9-year-old son and I have discovered a new word game this summer and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. It’s called Emkata and if you are a fan of Scrabble or Bananagrams like we are, you’re going to want to keep reading.

‘Emkata: The Acrostic Word Game’ is Perfect for Summer Learning!

Image Source: Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley

*Disclosure: I received Emkata at no cost in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Emkata is an acrostic word game designed for ages 10 and up. The game can be played with 2-6 players, individually or in teams, making for flexible family play. The game is simple to explain and gameplay is quick, with 5-minute rounds. What’s more, this game is perfect for summer as it travels easily.

The title of the game comes from the Portuguese word “em” which means with and the Maori word “kata” which means laughter. And let me tell you, my son and I laugh a lot while playing this one!

The best part? This game is perfect for gameschooling and stealth summer learning because your children will be working on vocabulary, spelling, word retrieval, addition, and multiplication!


Emkata consists of the following:

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  • 110 letter tiles
  • 28 bi-grams (these tiles double your score)
  • 16 tri-grams (these tiles triple your score)
  • 2 bridges (this tile can be used for any letter but you’ll lose one point)
  • 30 category cards featuring over 500 topics
Image Source: Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley

How to Play Emkata

Emkata can be played one-on-one or in teams of two or more players. To play, each team draws a category card and chooses a word from that category for the other team. This word can be selected from the idea bank featured on the category card, or the team can think of a different word in the same category. This word will be the other team’s acrostic for that round. These steps are repeated for each round. Play consists of three 5-minute rounds.

Once acrostics are selected for both teams, play begins. During each round, players have 5-minutes to build upon their acrostic word and try to score as many points as possible. Players can use the special bi-gram and tri-gram tiles to double and triple their score for each word created. Bridge tiles can be used once per round and can be used as any letter.

This fast-paced game is giggle-inducing as players race to find words related to their category that fit in the acrostic. And while simple in concept, the timed element adds a fun challenge. It can be tough to complete your acrostic in 5-minutes!

The goal is simple:

  • Maximize each word’s score by using bi-grams and tri-grams
  • Try to use as many tiles as possible per word
  • Build your acrostic in under five minutes
  • Try not to spend too much time on one letter of the acrostic

At the 5-minute mark, all play stops and points are tallied. Incomplete words, misspelled words, or words unrelated to the acrostic are not scored. All other words receive one point per letter tile. Bi-grams double each word’s score and tri-grams triple the score. Bridges are worth -1 point.

You can see an example below, taken from our play the other night. The word was larping.

Image Source: Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley

This Game is Perfect For

My son and I have thoroughly enjoyed playing Emkata over the past couple of weeks. This game would be perfect for family game night and large groups because it would appeal to all ages. It’s also small and portable and perfect for summer travel. Not to mention the fact that this game, which uses both language art skills and math, would be perfect for the classroom or homeschool setting.

Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: What is your favorite game right now? Share here!

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Tags: games

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