A word game played with a large set of letter tiles. Sometimes two or three Scrabble sets are combined, without the blanks, but it is best played with an original Anagrams set, the best of which has about 360 letters and a higher concentration of tough letters than Scrabble. (Search eBay for Anagrams to see one; there's almost always one up for auction, but there are several other inferior Anagrams games with fewer (sometimes far fewer) letters.)

In Anagrams, all the letter tiles are turned face down and shuffled like in dominoes, and usually a small area is cleared in the middle of the letter tiles for ones in play. Players take turns flipping up a letter tile, always flipping away from themselves so any advantage conferred by who sees the letter first goes to the other players, but generally should wait to flip a letter until they believe nobody is able to find a word.

Any player at any time may claim a word by calling it out. A word may be claimed if it can be formed out of either just face-up tiles in the middle of the table, or by some combination of those tiles and the tiles in one or more previously-formed words, but to use an existing word you must use all the letters in it. Also, it's prohibited to simply add on to an existing word, like turning "plant" into "planted"; some players play this rule to mean only that plays that just add on a suffix or prefix are illegal, while others play a stricter version that any play that contains the previous word as a substring is illegal. Also, there is a minimum length requirement, usually 4 letters but often 5 letters among expert wordsmiths.

In any case, the player who claimed the word takes all those letters and arranges them in front of himself on the table to spell the word, facing the players on the opposite side of the table. When a player makes a play that uses the letters of another player's previously-formed word, he is said to steal that word. (It is permissible, and generally a good idea if you can do so, to "steal" your own word.) It's permissible to combine two or more previously played words, perhaps also adding loose face-up letters from the middle, but this is so difficult I have never seen it done. It then becomes his turn to flip the next letter.

The game continues until there are no letters left to flip and nobody can find any more words.

The scoring at the end: each word is worth the square of its length for the player who holds it at the end of the game. With a large set like I described above, and top players, some words of 10 or more letters will usually be formed.

Challenges are usually informal and if there's a clear consensus in favor of or against the word that will stand, using an appropriate dictionary to resolve those where opinion is split, and no penalty is incurred for calling a phony or an impossible word.

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