SNAP Review – Nerd Words: Science

Anitra holding blank cards from Nerd Words Science

We are both nerds. (“We sure are!”) And we’re proud of being nerds. Because being a nerd is about enthusiasm for things you like, and learning, and using your brain, no matter what the actual subject is. So we’re going to talk about a game that does exactly that – Nerd Words: Science!


Nerd Words is a team-based clue-giving game by Eric Slauson and John Coveyou and published by Genius Games. The box here says it’s for 2-12 players, ages 13 and up, and it plays in about 40 minutes.


Well Anitra, let’s talk about the art in Nerd Words.

Since this is a word guessing and clue giving game, there’s not a lot of art here. We’ve got cards with science words, whiteboards for each team, and a separate one for the clue-giver, a scoreboard, and point trackers.

The color choice for the point trackers is a little bit weird. The blue and the black look very similar. And there’s so many colors in the rainbow (to choose from)!

Nerd Words scoreboard and point trackers


So let’s talk about the mechanics and how you actually play Nerd Words: Science.

It’s obvious from the components that this a word guessing game, but it’s not as free form as you might think.

The first hint that this game is a little different is that the teams start with six points. (Hm, do I sense some betting?)

To start the game, though, the clue giver needs to pick a word or phrase off one of their cards like this. They’ll write the number of words (usually one, sometimes two) that are in that science term.

Then, they’ll have to come up with a clue, like this. Here’s the kicker, though. That clue has to start with a letter that’s in the answer word, but not the first letter, and not part of the word.

Then, the clue giver will secretly bet some number of points that *someone* will guess their clue. And, both teams get to attempt to guess.

After the timer runs out, all of the teams reveal their guess, and the bet the guessers made. In this case, I bet zero, because I’m not very confident at all.

If anyone got it right, the clue giver’s team gets whatever points the clue giver bet. If nobody got it right, the clue giver’s team loses those points.

But, any team that did get it right, gets the number of points on their board, plus the number they bet. But of course, if they bet something and got it wrong, they’re going to lose those points. (Just the points that they bet, though, not the other points “over here”.)

If no one guesses correctly, clues continue until the fourth clue. If you get all the way down here, that fourth clue must start with the same letter as the answer. Everything else remains the same.

Go around the table doing this until everyone has had a chance to give two clues. Then, whichever team has the most points wins!

You can play Nerd Words: Science with fewer than four players. There is a three player variation with three “teams” each made up of one person, and there’s also a two player cooperative version.


[Andrew] So Anitra, let’s talk about what we expected from Nerd Words: Science.

[Anitra] I first heard of Nerd Words from our friends at BGE a couple of years ago. They said it was a great tool for reviewing science terms and really well suited to a classroom setting. So I expected a pretty typical word guessing game, like a Pictionary or Taboo: something with big teams and big clues, and just lots of craziness back and forth.

[Andrew] For me, my expectations were the same. It’s a word game. I should have known better that coming from Genius Games something would be a little different, but again, it’s a word game.


But it is from Genius Games, so there were some surprises. What surprised us about this game?

[Anitra] Nerd Words is a way more challenging game than I expected. The restrictions on how to give clues, plus the bidding, means you are really stretching your brain constantly. The words included in the game span lots of different scientific disciplines, which could be challenging with younger kids.

But I love the way everyone stays involved – that all teams get to guess on every clue.

[Andrew] I totally agree on the stretching of the brain. Even though the requirements that clue words have to start with letters inside the answer word isn’t thematically scientific, it does provide a limitation that actually makes sense that really makes you think about all of the aspects of that answer word. It’s a really great educational tool in that way.

Anitra holding blank cards from Nerd Words Science


[Andrew] Anitra, do we recommend Nerd Words: Science?

[Anitra] I think this game would be great for highschoolers and adults, especially in a larger group like a classroom setting, where teams can brainstorm to come up with their words – and with their bets!

The game even includes a whole deck of blank cards, so that teachers could customize this to the science words that they’re currently working on.

I wouldn’t recommend the game for kids under 12 though, or for groups of fewer than five players.

[Andrew] I agree. This is a great game where the players really are trying to dig into the subject matter. Looking at something from all angles is a really good way to understand it deeply. And it kind of helps with explaining the subject matter at hand.

[Anitra] All of the aspects of a word.

[Andrew] So Anitra what are we going to rate Nerd Words: Science?

[Anitra] We’re going to give this game 3½ nerdy words out of 5. (That’s fair.)

And that’s Nerd Words: Science, in a SNAP!

Nerd Words: Science

The Family Gamers received a copy of Nerd Words: Science from Genius Games for this review.

This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?

Nerd Words: Science
  • Nerdy Words


Age Range: 13+
Number of Players: 2-12 (we recommend 5+)
Playtime: around 40 minutes