View Full Version : The License Plate Game

March 26th, 2016, 09:53 AM
When my son was in elementary school and high school, I would pick him up and drive him home. A boring daily drive from Pearl Harbor to Kahalu`u.

I invented a game to keep him engaged, strengthen his vocabulary and have fun on the long drive.

Most Hawai`i license plates have 3 letters and 3 numbers. The letters range from AAA to (currently) S**, commercial vehicles letters start with T, and are reversed with the numbers. ### T**

The game is: we alternate selecting a license plate, saying the letters, and it is up to the other person to construct a cogent phrase, example:

Him: Jack Tumbled Jill

Then it is the selector's turn to try and come up with something better.
Me: Just try juice.

He won that round.

We learned early on to ignore plates with Z or X, because of limited word choices.

We have seen older plates going back to F**, H** plates from the Big Island, L** plates from Lanai, M** plates from Maui, which are more rare on Oahu, and more fun. He's all grown up now (22 yo) and we still play it.

I still remember my plate from 1981: BCX 068, I think they still had the Kamehameha head back then.

Lately I have seen Hawai`i plates starting with Z, I have no idea from where or why.

Beginning letters I know of, from O`ahu unless stated otherwise:

B** (1981)
BUS (da bus)
BWS (board of water supply)
G** (from about 1999-2000)
H** (Big Island)
HPD (Police)
I - Not used
K** (Kauai)
L** (Lanai)
M** (Maui)
O - Not used
Q - Not used
T** (commercial vehicles)
U** (not seen yet)
V** (not seen yet)
W** (not seen yet)
X** (not seen yet)
Y** (not seen yet)
Z** (???)

I have no idea why U through Y haven't been used and they skipped to Z; any ideas?

Corrections to my assumptions are welcome.
If you need something to pass the time while driving (or stuck in traffic), enjoy!


March 29th, 2016, 05:40 PM
Maybe they heard about the game you're playing and wanted you to expand the "Z" words in your vocabulary...?

March 30th, 2016, 04:39 PM
Maybe they heard about the game you're playing and wanted you to expand the "Z" words in your vocabulary...?

Oh yeah, zebra, zoo, zap, zest, zen, zombie... uh. Gotta go check the dictionary.


(Try that while driving!)

September 14th, 2017, 11:21 AM
T** is now used on passenger vehicles as well.

December 21st, 2017, 07:36 AM
My 1978 Buick Regal was plate number ABC XXX. And I want to say 567.

I wish I could have kept that plate.

October 3rd, 2020, 12:35 PM
Hoooooboy this is an old post :-) Just wanted to add on here that my work had me memorize hundreds of IATA codes, those three-letter codes that designate an airport. Like Honolulu in HNL, Kahului is OGG, etc. For years, when I see license plates I've associated them with airports. Some of the most common ones I see are HKG (Hong Kong) and KUL (Kuala Lumpur). Not sure if I've ever seen an HNL!

Walkoff Balk
November 24th, 2020, 09:25 PM

They would be easier to remember and identify.