Play the T-SQL Alphabet Game

I recently had the opportunity to play the T-SQL Alphabet Game, which was introduced to me by SQL Server MVP, Rodney Landrum, the author of Pro SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services.

While I am not much of a game player myself, I can see how it can be a fun game for DBAs to play when they need a diversion from their generally stressful job duties.

On the surface, the game seems very simple to play, but looks can be deceiving. Here’s how you play. First, you need two or more players. The more players, the more fun the game can be. Second, pick someone to start the game, it doesn’t matter who it is. The first player must come up with a valid T-SQL command that begins with the letter “A”. The second player then must come up with a T-SQL command that beings with the letter “B”. The third player must come up with a T-SQL command that begins with the letter “C”, and so on, rotating through each of the letters of the alphabet. Everybody gets a turn in a round-robin fashion.

For example, a valid T-SQL command for the letter “A” might be “ABS”, for the letter “B” might be “BACKUP DATABASE”, and for the letter “C” might be “CAST”, and so on.

Each person gets 5 seconds to come up with the answer, and if they can’t come up with a valid answer, then they are out of the game. This continues  until there is only one person left—the winner. If you have a smart group playing the game, you may have to cycle through the alphabet more than once until you have a winner. Of course, if you have to recycle the alphabet, you can’t recycle previous answers. All responses have to be different.

As I said earlier, this game sounds easy, but under the pressure of time, and with some letter’s that have few T-SQL commands that begin with that letter, the game can become very challenging.

If you want, you can change the rules of the game to add variety. For example, you can give 10 seconds to each player to come up with an answer, you can choose the winner by who comes up with the most correct answers within the designated time frame, or make up any variation of the game you want, assuming you set the rules before you begin the game.

So the next time you and a few of your DBA friends get together, and you want to do something really fun (geeky), then play this game, and see who really is the most technically savvy (geekest) DBA of the group.