Credit for much of this description of the rules goes to my cousin David.
The player with the most words in their possession at the end of the game wins.
Players take turns revealing one letter at a time, by pressing the spacebar. At any time, any player may type a word using the upturned letters in the center. Upon hitting Enter, the letters in the center will disappear and the word will be displayed under that player’s name on the board.
What makes this game interesting is that at any time, any player may also steal a word from another player by combining at least one letter from the center with that existing word. That is also done by typing the word and hitting Enter.
The player must combine all of these letters to create ONE word. Also, every word that the player steals must be rearranged, i.e., it can not be a sub-string of the new word the player creates.
Examples of Stealing:
- GAPE + R → GRAPE
- GAIN + T + P → TAPING
Examples of Illegal Stealing:
- GAPE + S → GAPES (GAPE is a sub-string of GAPES)
- SLEEP → PEELS (you must add letters or words)
The game ends after all letters have been revealed and every player agrees that they can’t make any more steals.
Minor Rules and Miscellaneous Points of Play
- When a player creates or steals a word, that person is next to flip a letter.
- Unless the players want an exception to the rule, all words created must be at least 4 letters long. The game’s host may allow 3-letter words if playing with a beginner, and then everyone else should kindly refrain from calling any 3-letter words themselves.
- A player may wait as long as they wish to turn over a letter on their turn. After all, this is a game of thought. Note, the other players are, however, encouraged to harass that player to make sure they don’t forget that it’s their turn.
- If more than one player types in a word, the person who started typing first will be awarded the word.
- However, if you take more than five seconds to type in the word, from beginning to end, you lose your place in the queue, and someone who began typing later will be able to claim the word.
- If someone is typing, the board will show “reserved”, and it will not be possible to turn over a letter. Watch for the blue outline around the center pile of tiles to indicate that you can flip over a letter.
- Look for the ING: There are thousands of words that end with ING. This can be very useful. For example, if you notice that ENGINE has the letters for ING in it, then you can look for a word to make out of ENGINE which ends in ING. This leaves you with the letters ENE to make the beginning part of the verb, so it is obvious that you can make NEEDING if a D comes up.
- Know what kinds of words are vulnerable: Generally, new words, short words, and words with common letters are vulnerable. Try to steal those.
- Make plans: If you see a potential steal, remember which letters you need to steal that word and get ready to steal it. For example, if someone had KINDRED then one could wait for an L and an E to come up, and type REKINDLED.
- But be spontaneous: Making plans is a good idea, but you also need to think fast when a letter is turned over. For example, if you’re too busy waiting for the D for NEEDING (as in the above example) you might miss KEENING when a K shows up instead.