How to play ABET
The object of ABET is to use your hand of 12 cards to make four words of three or more letters using cards of the same color. (Black cards may be used as any color.) Also score points, for yourself and one opponent, by adding letters to an old word.
Each turn you will:
- Draw a card. Take it from the face-down stack, or from any discard pile. There will be a face-up discard pile in the center for each player.
- (optional) Add to an old word, and draw a card to replace each one you used.
- (optional) Make one new word. If it has more than 3 cards, draw a card, from any pile, for each card over three.
- Discard. At the end of your turn you will have 3, 6, 9, or 12 cards - or none!
Abet is a game for 2-6 players; probably best with 3-5. With 4 players, one round takes 10-15 minutes, and a full game takes 45-60 minutes.
Equipment: A deck of 102 cards. For most letters, there are 1, 2, or 3 cards in each of three colors. There is only one black card for each of the rare consonants, which can be used as any color.
Deal 12 cards to each player. The player on the dealer's left goes first. Take turns clockwise.
These are the phases of a turn:
- Draw one card
Take the top card from the deck, or from any discard pile.
- Extend one word (optional)
Add one or more cards to a word on the table, including one of your own:
- Added cards must be the same color as the word, or black.
- You may add letters anywhere, but don't change the order of cards already played: CARE can become SCARE, CARVE, CARET, or even CAREER or SCARLET, but not CAPER
- Exception: you can't just add an S at the end of a word if it only creates a plural or verb form: you can't change CARE to CARES, but CARES to CARESS is OK.
- Draw a replacement card, from any pile you choose, for every card you added.
- Both players score 5 points per card added, plus the points on the added cards (see SCORING).
- Make one word. (optional)
Place the cards on the table in front of you, so other players can read it.
Discard one card.
- The word must use at least three cards
- The cards mut be the same color, except that black cards may be used as any color.
- Only one word may be made per turn.
- If the word has four cards or more, draw a replacement card, from any pile you choose, for every card over three. (This means you draw again before discarding. Seeing extra cards is a reward for making longer words.) If you need more than one replacement, you may draw one card and look at it before deciding where to draw the next.
- The "Qu" may be used as two letters, or by itself - either with a "U" from another card, or in the rare words where "Q" is not followed by "U".
- Score the total of the points on the cards, plus 5 points for each card over three.
Place it face up on your side of the face-down stack, on top of your previous discards, if any.
A round is almost over when someone has gone out by playing four words, or after the turn in which the last card is drawn from the deck. If the last word uses four or more cards, discarding is not necessary.
After someone goes out, each player in turn may use cards from his or her hand to add to one word made by any other player.
The winner is the player with the highest score after four rounds, or whatever number the players agree.
- Each player has his or her own discard pile.
- You should always end your turn with 3, 6, 9, or 12 cards.
- Each word scores the sum of the letter values, plus 5 for each card over three.
- When a word is extended, the player adding the letters and the player who made the original word both score the letter value plus 5 points for each added card. Do not score double for adding to your own word.
- The player who goes out first receives a 15-point bonus.
- All words must be single, unhyphenated English words found in whatever dictionary the players agree to use.
- Anyone can ask to look up a word formed by adding to an old word. If the word is not acceptable, the player takes back the added card or cards. He or she may not extend another word this turn, but may play a new word if possible.
- New words may be challenged. If the word is not acceptable, the player who made it must take the cards back, then discard a card without making another word this turn. (He or she keeps any points that were scored earlier for extending another word.) If the word is acceptable, the challenger may not make a new word on his or her next turn (but may still do the other parts of a turn: draw, extend a word, and discard.)