Build words using letter cards to earn money and stock.
Use money to buy letter patents. Patents earn royalties when their letter is used. Some patents grant additional abilities.
Game ends when one player's patents sum to a given value. (See Goals.) The player with the highest combined value of patents, money, and stock wins!
- Letter "Factory" Cards
- One of 102 cards each with a letter. Some letters are more common than others (see Letter Frequency game card).
- Player Hand
- Each player has a hand of 7 letter cards. Players always draw back to 7 at the end of their turn to replace any card they have played or discarded.
- Community Pool
- A shared, face-up set of 3 letter cards available for use by any player. These are also replaced at the end of each turn.
- Money (or Coins)
- Earned by playing words, or through patent royalties. Used to buy patents. Winning or losing challenges can also earn or cost money.
- Earned by playing longer words. Grants points at the end of the game, but cannot be spent.
- Letter Patents
- Each letter has one patent. Patents may be purchased with money; costs range from $2 to $10.
- The owner of a letter patent earns $1 for each matching letter played by another player. Player's don't earn royalties on their own words, or for special letters generated by patent abilities.
On your turn, you may build a word using letter cards from your hand or from the community pool. Each word must contain at least one card from your hand and be at least 3 letters long.
If your word is not challenged successfully (see Challenges), you earn money and stock depending on its length. (See Word Scoring.) Some patent or letter abilities may increase earnings; see Special Abilities.
Other players earn royalties for the patents they own (see Royalties).
Then, you may buy a patent. You many only buy a patent matching a letter in the word(s) you played this turn. You must also have enough money to purchase the patent. Each patent can only be owned by one player; once a patent has been purchased, it cannot be purchased by another player.
The community pool is refilled, and then you may choose to discard any number of the cards in your hand. Finally, your hand is refilled to 7 cards.
Some patents grant special abilities:
- B Patent Ability
- Earn double if your word begins and ends in vowels. Both money and stock is doubled.
- J Patent Ability
- Earn double if vowels are at least half of your word. Both money and stock is doubled.
- K Patent Ability
- Earn double if your word has only one vowel. Both money and stock is doubled.
- Q Patent Ability
- You may replace a card to start your turn. You may discard and draw before playing words.
- V Patent Ability
- You may build two words. Each word earns money and stock individually. Other patent abilities may be applied to one word or the other, not both. Each word must contain at least one card from your hand and be at least 3 letters long.
- X Patent Ability
- You may use one letter card twice. (That is, you may duplicate a letter.) You must use at least 3 real (not duplicated or generated) letter cards total. If playing two words with the ‘V’ patent ability, a letter from the first word may be duplicated in the second. Other players do not earn additional royalties on the second copy of this duplicated letter.
- Z Patent Ability
- You may add an ‘S’ to the end of your word. This must form an acceptable word. You may not purchase the ‘S’ patent without using a real ‘S’ letter card. Other players do not earn royalties on this generated ‘S’.
Some letters also have special abilities:
- Q Letter Ability
- Words with ‘Q’ earn double (both money and stock). This ability is independent of the ‘Q’ patent ability.
- Y Letter Ability
- Player decides whether each ‘Y’ is treated as a consonant or a vowel for patent abilities.
- Player Challenges
- In the default rules, players may challenge other player's words. If the challenged word(s) are not in the dictionary, the challenge succeeds and the active player takes back their cards, loses the rest of their turn, and must discard a card as a penalty. If the word(s) are in the dictionary, the challenge fails and the challenger must pay the active player $1. (If the challenger has no money, the active player takes $1 from the bank.)
- Automatic Challenges
- This version implements a challenge variant to smooth online play. In the automatic challenge variant, players may not challenge. Instead, every play is automatically challenged by the system. If the word(s) are in dictionary, play proceeds. If not, the player may be allowed to retry (depending on the variant configuration; default is 3). If they run out of retries, they lose the rest of their turn and must discard a card as penalty.
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