OBJECT: Score points by forming a word. The first player or team to attain 100 or more points wins the game.
OVERVIEW: The dealer will distribute seven cards to each player, one card face-down at a time going clockwise. He will place the remaining cards face-down to serve as the Draw Pile. He will turn the top card face-up to start the Discard Pile. He then looks at his cards and establishes the BID. The BID indicates the exact number of letters (cards) you must use to form a word. The BID or any subsequent bid-change must be 4, 5, 6, or 7. Play begins with the player to the left of the dealer and then proceeds clockwise. The players will take turns, each one in succession until the hand is concluded by a successfully played word. You must begin each turn by drawing the top card from either the Draw Pile or Discard Pile. You must conclude each turn by discarding one of your cards face-up on top of the Discard Pile. The objective is to form a word by rearranging the letters in your hand, which you may do at any time throughout play. But if you want to play a word, you must wait for your turn, then you must display your word after drawing and before discarding. Once you discard, your word will be subject to a challenge, and the challenging drama begins. If your word goes unchallenged or if it is challenged and determined to be valid, you score one point for each letter used to form your word. Your score is then doubled with each double-vowel used, if any. For example: if you successfully play a seven-letter word with two double-vowels, you score 28 points (7x2x2=28). The first player or team to attain 100 or more points wins the game and shall be crowned Word Master. He/they will hold that distinguished title along with all applicable bragging rights unless and until dethroned by the winner(s) of a subsequent contest.
SINGLES FORMAT: 2 to 4 players. It is every man for himself. The scorekeeper will keep a running total of each player’s score.
TEAMS FORMAT: 4 players. Sit across from your partner so that you have one adversary seated to your left and the other one to your right. Teammates will combine their scoring. The first team to attain 100 or more points wins the game and they will share that illustrious and vaunted title.
56 PLAYING CARDS: 50 letters; 2 Wild cards; and 4 Bid/Play cards. The letters are comprised of one of each double-vowel (AEIOU); one of each single-vowel (AEIOU); one of each Q/Z; and two of each remaining letter of the alphabet.
WILD CARDS: A Wild card may be used as any one letter, but it cannot be used as a double-vowel. You may hold both Wild cards, but you can use only one to form a word, which may result in an inadvertent dilemma of consequence.
BID/PLAY CARDS: A Bid/Play card can be used only when discarding. You may either change the BID or PLAY again (free turn). If you change the BID, it will begin with the next player; if you choose to take another turn, begin by drawing a card and then proceed as usual. Bid/Play cards cannot be used to start the Discard Pile at the beginning of the hand. You cannot draw a Bid/Play card from the Discard Pile. If you play a word and discard a Bid/Play card, you must use it to change the BID, which will begin with the next player.
WRITING MATERIALS: You may use writing materials as an aid in forming words, but electronic devices cannot be so used. Material of any kind cannot be used to keep track of discards or the cards held by other players.
WORD VERIFICATION SOURCE(S): Word masters of old used dictionaries; in fact, many of them used two – an unabridged dictionary and one containing modern slang. However, with the onslaught of the internet and newfangled electronic devises, aspiring masters of today use a variety of novel sources to verify words. Whatever your preference, the players must agree on one or more such source(s) prior to the start of play, and only that source(s) can be used to verify words.
DISCREPANCIES: You should always have eight cards after drawing, or seven cards after discarding. Once a discrepancy is discovered, play is suspended while you correct it. If you need another card, take the top card from the Draw Pile. If you have too many cards, the player to your right will politely remove one of your cards, without looking at your cards, and he will show it to all players before placing it on bottom of the Discard Pile. Play resumes.
DRAW PILE: If the Draw Pile runs out of cards, play is suspended once the last card has been drawn. The dealer will shuffle all the discards and place them face-down to replenish the Draw Pile. Play resumes. The player who drew the last card will start a new Discard Pile with his subsequent discard.
PROTOCOL OF PLAY: Once you draw a card, you cannot put it back. Once you discard, you cannot take it back. If you draw a card from the Discard Pile, you cannot discard it during the same turn. Prior to discarding, you may exchange your word, rearrange the letters, or take it back. Once you discard, you cannot exchange your word, rearrange the letters, or take it back, it will be subject to a challenge. In fact, once you render any decision during your turn to act, you cannot change it. You cannot look through the Draw Pile or Discard Pile. You cannot look at your cards or notes while play is suspended. Teammates may discuss strategy between hands, but once a hand is in progress, partners cannot consult or offer advice to each another except to deliberate about whether-or-not to challenge a word that has been played by one of their opponents.
CHEATING AND SUCH: Imposing a two-point penalty may be an effective strategy when dealing with defiant behavior, but no guarantee.
DUB THE SCOREKEEPER: Begin your quest for one honest and temperate individual to serve as the scorekeeper, but if your search fails to bear fruit, then any brave soul may step forward.
DURING PLAY: Play begins once the dealer has established the BID. Hold your cards with the small letters appearing in the upper left-hand corners for easy viewing. Rearrange the letters in your hand until you form a word from your left-to-right. Position any unused cards to the right of your word.
TO PLAY A WORD: Starting with the first letter of your word, remove one letter at a time in succession and place it face-up on the playing surface, positioning those letters from your right-to-left with the large letters facing away from you, facing toward the player seated across from you for his convenience. Then conclude your turn by discarding. If you have any cards left over, do not show them to the other players until the hand is concluded.
CONFORMING TO THE BID: Your word must contain the exact number of letters as indicated by the BID; otherwise, you must return it to your hand unchallenged: no harm – no foul – no penalty. But you will not get another chance to play a word during that turn. You cannot take back your discard. Your turn is concluded. The hand continues.
CHALLENGING A WORD: Once you play a word and discard, play is suspended and the challenging drama begins. The player to your left is first to challenge or pass. If he passes, the right-to-challenge will pass to the next player in turn, if any, and so on until your word is challenged or the other players all pass. Only one player can challenge. When playing teams, your partner may challenge your word. It is rare, but there is a strategy that may warrant a challenge from your partner . . . but remember to keep it civil.
WORD VERIFICATION: If your word is challenged, any other player(s) may check the word verification source(s) to verify whether-or-not your word is valid, but you cannot check your own word. You must leave your cards in place as you displayed them on the playing surface until the scorekeeper has recorded the results of the play.
SUCCESSFULLY PLAYED WORD: There are two possible ways to play a word successfully: either your word goes unchallenged or it is challenged and determined to be valid. Either way, you score one point for each letter used to form your word. Your score is then doubled with each double-vowel used, if any. For example: if you play a six-letter word with one double-vowel, you score 12 points (6×2=12). Those points will be added to your accumulative score. Moreover, if a player makes an unsuccessful attempt to challenge your word, he will be assessed a penalty equal to half the point-value of your word. In other words, if your word scores twelve points, the player who wrongly challenged it will have six points deducted from his score. The hand is concluded. The deal passes clockwise to the next player in turn to deal. He shuffles the deck and distributes seven new cards to each player. He then sets up a new Draw Pile, a new Discard Pile, and establishes the Bid. Play resumes.
UNSUCCESSFULLY PLAYED WORD: Your word is challenged and determined to be bogus. You must return your cards to your hand. You cannot take back your discard. Your turn is concluded. You will be assessed a penalty equal to half the point-value of your word. For example: if you play a bogus six-letter word with one double-vowel, six points will be deducted from your accumulative score. If a penalty results in a fraction, the scorekeeper will round it up to the next whole number. Be advised, the player who challenges is never awarded points for a successful challenge, the fact that he thwarts the culprit in midst of a misguided attempt to play a bogus word will suffice. The hand will continue with the next player in turn, much to his delight.
BOGUS WORDS: Any of the following criteria will result in a bogus word: if it is misspelled – if the letters are displayed out of sequence – if it must be capitalized – if it requires a hyphen or apostrophe – if it is a symbol or abbreviation – if it is a prefix or suffix that is not a word by itself – if it is not listed in at least one designated word verification source.
TRUMPING THE BID: You can trump the BID by playing an eight-letter word. The last letter of your word will serve as your discard. If your word is challenged and determined to be bogus, you must return the first seven letters to your hand and then place the eighth letter on top of the Discard Pile. Your turn is concluded. The same scoring/penalty rules will be implemented.
TIME LIMITS: Embracing time-limits may enhance your game. Try 60, 90, or 120 seconds for each turn or impending decision – or any mixture thereof. The first time-period begins once the dealer has established the Bid. If you are ready to conclude your turn before your time expires, simply discard and a new time-period will begin for the next player. There are many countdown timepieces on the market, try searching kitchen countdown timepieces.
WORDOLOGY™ OPTION: This feature is used when playing with time-limits. You can extend your turn by buying more time. Once your initial time runs out, you may purchase an additional segment-of-time by boldly declaring ‘WORDOLOGY’, then your time begins. You may take up to an additional five minutes to conclude your turn; however, there will be no free lunch, a time-assessment charge of one point will be deducted from your accumulative score for each full and/or partial minute of additional time you take regardless of whether-or-not you play a word. You may exercise your wordology-option only once during each hand, so choose wisely.
Copyright 1991, 2020 Billy Lee Simmons
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED