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Game Play

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PLAYING THE GAME : Played by two players though you may practice by pulling down the Start Play Menu and clicking Practice Myself.

Players operate under an overall Time Limit for all their plays which can be set in the Options Menu. 30 minutes for each side makes clock management a serious part of the game. Theoretically you lose if you run out of time. This rule is not enforced by the program as your clock is allowed to go negative. As you improve your play, you will discover a game is only around eight or so plays for each player. This is not short-word Scrabble with blocked up boards!

When the Host and Guest have successfully connected, the Host pulls down the Start Play Menu and selects Play Connected Opponent. You can browse the menus. Everything is pretty obvious for turn to turn play. The Scoreboard shows you the status of game play: your turn or not, your chance to challenge, etc.

BASIC RULES AND ACTIONS:

Asterisk / Wild Tiles: The asterisk tile plays like a wildcard. It can stand for one letter or a string of continuous letters. The board also has 20 Turn To Wild squares. Any tile played on such a square becomes a wild tile and can represent one or more letters. These tiles and squares change the whole nature of the game. 7 tile plays of 12+ letter words are a regular occurance for experienced players. But it's not easy to find that word! Defense is an issue too.

An asterisk tile at the intersection of vertical and horizontal words can stand for one letter or string in the horizontal word and a completely different letter or string in the vertical word. An asterisk tile can represent different letters on different plays. In short, the asterisk tile does not represent one or more specific letters except in relation to a single play. It must, however, be explained if the player is challenged to prove the result is a valid word.

Asterisk tiles and tiles on Turn To Wild squares have a point value of zero, but everybody loves to draw them. There are a dozen in the bag. And those already on the board can be exploited for you own purposes.

TradingTiles: A player can trade all tiles (not one or two tiles, etc.) every turn, but a player can trade only when it actually becomes his/her turn and only one trade per turn is allowed. When letters are traded the computer first puts all your tiles back into the bag and then draws your new tiles randomly. Beware of a BLT (i.e., Bad Letter Trade). You can go to this well too often.

The Play: When it is a player's turn, the player may play (by making a word on the board) or pass (never seen it done).

To play (i.e., to make a word): When it's your turn, click and hold the mouse button on a letter in your tray, drag the letter to a square on the board, and release the mouse button. If you have a Touch Screen, you can use your finger. Whenever you have a legitimate play on the board, the score of that play will show under the tray. Try all sorts of plays. 40 addition points are awarded to a player who uses all 7 tiles in a single play, also known as a "Bomb." Bonus squares are only calculated for the play that covered them in the first place. When it's not your turn, you can still rearrange the tiles in your tray. There's a Shuffle button to randomly arrange them for possible inspiration! Click it five times. Maybe you will see something in a new light.

Challenges: When a word is played, the computer asks the opponent if he/she would like to challenge. If an opponent decides to do that, the clock is paused. The player of the word(s) must then spell out all new (unless they are obvious) words formed that involve wild tiles. The Chat Box is used for the full spelling.

Once the merits of  the challenge have been determined, the player who challenged will click on whether the challenge succeeded or failed. All words formed must be in at least one of three online dictionaries that can be referenced with one click on a Lookup Button. If one dictionary reports "Valid," the word is fine. No capitalized proper nouns. No abbreviations only. No chemical symbols only.

If the challenge succeeds, letters are removed from the board, and it becomes the challenger's turn. The player loses their turn. If the challenge failed, the play remains on board, the score is awarded to the player,  and it remains the player's turn. The challenger loses a turn. Bluffing and risk analysis are tension-building and strategic parts of the game, and can lead to great comebacks.

Game End: The game is over when one player uses the last of his/her tiles and none remain in the bag.The total point value of the tiles held by the opponent is tripled and added to the score of the player who went out. You will, on occasion, leave one tile in the bag to prevent an opponent ending the game on their next turn.