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Letter Auction

No. of Players: 2+
Type of Game: written and spoken
What you need: pen and paper


To make words by winning bids on letters in an auction.

How to play

In preparation for this game, players create together a set of 100 cards with a single letter of the alphabet written on one side. To expedite gameplay, the following distribution of letters is suggested:

12   10   8   6   4   3   2   1
E   A, I   O   N, R, T   L, S, U, D   G   B, C, M, P, F, H, V, W, Y   K, J, X, Q, Z

This means that 12 cards will have the letter E, 10 cards the letter A, 10 cards the letter I, and so on.

The gamemaster, or auctioneer, gives each player an equal amount of tokens. These can be pennies, beads, dry beans – anything that can be used as money in the game. The auctioneer then shuffles the deck of cards facedown, turns up one letter and offers it for sale. Just like in an auction, the players bid on this letter with their money. The player who bids the most gets the letter, paying the auctioneer the price that has been bid. Another card is turned up and the players bid on that letter, and so on, until all letters have been sold to the players.

Once the auction is over, each player attempts to make as many words as possible with the letters they have bought. During this time, they can also make offers to buy letters from other players if they want a particular letter. The winner will be the player with the highest score: 1 point is awarded for each letter in a word, and 1 additional point for a 3-letter word, 2 points for a 4-letter word, 4 points for a 5-letter word, 6 points for a 6-letter word, 8 points for a 7-letter word, and 10 points for words 8-letters or more. As well, players get a point for each token they did not use to bid on a letter in the auction. The winning player becomes the next auctioneer.

If only two people are playing, the auctioneer can also bid on the turned up letters. In this case the tokens used in winning bids are taken out of gameplay.

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