A fast paced, challenging and addictive way to improve your vocabulary, think faster under pressure, and put the old Scrabble board to good use.

Materials

To play, you need at least 3 people, and I wouldn't reccommend more than 5 or 6 people. You won't need the Scrabble board, but you will need all of the tiles, minus the 2 blank tiles. Lastly, you'll need a flat surface: A piece of white posterpaper or oaktag is good, especially since it creates some nice high contrast.

Preparation

Before you play, dump all the tiles on the flat surface, and turn them all over, face down. Any random placement is fine, as long as no tiles are on top of eachother. Another thing to remember while setting up the board is that its definitely considered cheating to try and remember where the tiles are.

Gameplay

Sit around the area where you've laid out the tiles. Begin with a random person (for families, starting with the youngest is nice). They choose a tile anywhere on the board and flip it over. If a word can be made from this tile (in this case, if it's an A or I), then the first person to say this word is rewarded the tile. They lay it out in front of them, but not on the board, in full view of the other players.

If a person collects a word, they turn over the next tile, but if no one collects a word, the next person (going clockwise or counterclockwise, as the players decide) turns over another tile.

There are three places from which you can draw tiles to make words: From your own words, from other players words, and from the board. For example, consider this situation:

Your Words: END
Another Player's Words: SING
The Board: P

You can then combine your END, your opponent's SING and the board's P to create SPENDING.

When using your own words or other's words, you may not break the words down, but you can rearrange the letters or insert letters "inside" the word. For example, if this is your game:

Your Words: I
Another Player's Words: PANE
The Board: D

You may not take the P and N and from PANE to make PIN (because you may not break up words), but you may take the Board's D, your opponent's PANE and your I to create PAINED.

It should also be noted that as many words as the players can make can be made per turn, as long as they all adhere to the rules of the game.

Example

An excerpt from a game, with players Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta.

Alpha turns over I.
Beta turns over R.
Gamma turns over D.
Beta collects RID (from the Board).
Beta turns over T.
Gamma turns over S.
Delta collects RIDS (from Beta and the Board)
Delta turns over E.
Alpha collects STRIDE (from Delta and the Board).
Alpha turns over I.
Gamma collects I (from the Board).

And so on and so on, until all the pieces are off the board. Once this point is reached, the players can look for more words among the ones laid out (they are still not allowed to break up words, however). Once all players reach a consensus that there are no more words to be collected, they determine their scores by adding the value of each letter in their possession. The person with the most points wins.

Challenges, Language, Etc.

Since this game is less an after-dinner-with-a-cup-of-coffee game than a wired-late-at-night game, when a player challenges the validity of a word collected by another player, no dictionary is used. Instead, the collecter must supply a suitable definition of the word in question.

This leads us to the last point, which is that only common language should be used. For example, even though qitar is in the Scrabble Dictionary, you probably don't know the definition, and besides that, its just not how the game is played.

Gambling Variation

Whats that? Intellectual stimulation isn't enough for you (hooligan!)?

Well, you asked for it. Scrabble Attacks, the Gambling Variation. Begin by choosing a "base" number (1 cent, 10 cents, 25 cents, 1 dollar, whatever). Divide the number of possible points (I believe that it's 187, but if anyone knows better, /msg me) by the number of players, multiply by your base number, and thats your ante. For example, if you're playing with 4 people, and your base number is 1 dollar, then each person's ante is $46.75. At the end of gameplay, collect moneys equivalent to your score multiplied by the base number.


So use words you know, play with friends, play with enemies, never break up words, and of course: have fun! (How's that for the perfect corny ending to a Howto node?)

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