Rules for playing wordthief
Wordthief is a game for two to four players. The object of the game is to make or steal as many words as possible to acquire points. The game is over when the deck has been fully dealt and one player has used all his cards or no player is able to make or steal another word.
The Wordthief deck contains 108 cards: 104 letter cards and 4 Jokers. Each of the four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs) contains 26 cards. Each of those cards has a value of from 1 to 10, based on the frequency of the letter’s usage in the English language.
A full game with four players tables about 50 minutes. If only two people are playing, the deck may be cut in half for a shorter game.
- The deck is cut and each player turns over a card. The player with the letter closest to A goes first. The cards are then returned to the deck and the deck is shuffled.
- Each player is dealt seven cards face down.
- A card is dealt face up to serve as the trump suit. It will be picked up as the last card from the deck.
Beginning the game
- The first player uses the letters in his hand to make a word listed in a standard English dictionary. Any word of two letters or more is permitted. Exceptions are abbreviations and words requiring hyphens, apostrophes or capital letters.
- The value of all the letters in the word made is added up and registered under the player’s name on the score pad or the player takes the equivalent value in chips.
- Words made in more than one suit can be stolen by other players. If a player steals your word, he also takes the point value of that word. If all the cards used in a word are of the same suit, the word is wordlocked and cannot be stolen by other players. Wordlocked words receive double points, triple points if the word is in the trump suit.
- The player who has made a word replenishes his cards. Players must have at least seven cards in their hands.
- Play passes to the left. The next player must either make a new word from the cards in his hand or steal one complete word from another player. If a player steals a word, he must increase its value by adding letters to it. He may also increase its value by breaking it into 2 or more words, then adding or subtracting letters until +all* the stolen letters plus at least one from the player’s hand have been used in the new words. The player must use all the letters from the stolen word and each new word made must contain at least one letter from the word that was stolen.
Once a player has created a word, he cannot steal, change, add to or lock that word. Only other players may do so.
As mentioned in rule 5, the value of all the letters is added up and registered under the player’s name on score pad or taken in chips.
- A bonus of 5 additional points is awarded for each word of 5 letters or more. 5 bonus points for a 5-letter word, 10 points for a six-letter word and so forth.
- If a player is unable to make or steal a word, he loses 5 points, takes another card and misses a turn.
- When a word is stolen from a player, the points are registered in the minus column as points lost or chips are returned to the bank. Bonus points remain with the player.
- A Joker is wild and can be used for any letter of any suit in creating, stealing or locking new words. Jokers have no value.
- A player who uses all the cards in his hand (a minimum of seven cards) in one turn receives a bonus of 20 points.
- White Chips = 1 point
- Blue Chips = 5 points
- Red Chips = 20 points
Ending the game
- The game is over when all the cards, including the face-up trump card, have been dealt and one player has used all of his cards or, when no one can make or steal another word. Any cards remaining in the players’ hands are subtracted from their scores or the equivalent value in chips returned to the bank.
- The player with the highest total, arrived at by adding points (or chips) made and subtracting point wins the game.