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Probe Word Game

Rules for Parker Brothers GAME of WORDS
Parker Brothers Trademark for its Game of Words Equipment

This is the most provocative game of words since the invention of the modern alphabet. It provides fun for all from ages 10 through adult. Four, three or two may play.

Each player selects a word which he keeps secret. The other players try to guess it, letter by letter. Any words are acceptable - nouns, adjectives, adverbs or any other parts of speech just as long as they are not spelled with apostrophes or hyphens, are not proper names, or are not abbreviated, and have no more than 12 letters.

The 384 cards in this game provide more combinations of letters than any other word game. Accordingly, thousands of words are available for each player's selection.


The equipment consists of 4 flat racks; 4 decks of letter cards, each of a different color and each consisting of 96 cards; 4 letter card upright holders; one activity deck of 48 cards; and one activity deck tray.


Each player takes a card rack, opens it and places it flat on the table in front of him. The number 1 on a player's rack should be at his right so that all numbers appearing on that rack may be read by all the other players.


Each player selects a color and takes the holder containing the two card packs of that color which make a complete deck of 96 letter cards. Each complete letter card deck includes 6 cards, on each of which appears a single dot. These cards are called "Blanks."


The activity deck consists of 48 cards which affect the play of the game. After it has been shuffled, p1ace it face down in one side of the activity deck tray.

Each player thinks of a word which he will use in the game without disclosing it to the other players. He then selects from his deck the letters necessary to spell his word. If the word selected has less than 12 letters, the player may fool his opponents as to the true length of the word by adding blanks. He may use any, all, or none of the blanks as he sees fit. Blanks may be used before or after the word, or both, but are not substitutes for letters and may not be inserted between letters.

Each player places the cards he has selected face down in his card rack in the proper spelling sequence, beginning with either a blank or the first letter of his word on the space numbered 1. Cards are placed face down in the rack with the arrows on the backs pointing away from the player so that the letters when exposed will all face in the proper direction. The balance of the letter card deck is returned to the holder and is not used again until the next game.

Players may use a dictionary before play begins to select words, but may not use it during the game except when a word is finally guessed and there is controversy over the spelling of it.

One of the players is chosen to keep score for all.


The player selected to start takes the top card from the activity deck and reads it aloud. The instructions on the activity deck cards must be followed by all players at the appropriate time. Then the activity card is placed face up in the other side of the tray.

This same player then begins his search for the letters that make up the words of his opponents. Without saying where he thinks it is hidden, he simply asks any opponent if he has hidden either a particular letter of the alphabet or a blank. If the opponent questioned answers affirmatively, he exposes the letter or the blank called for. Should he have more than one of that letter (or more than one blank) in his word, he selects which letter (or blank) to expose. He never exposes more than one card in response to any one question.

For example: If the word of the player questioned is "treasurer" and an "r" is asked for, it is that player's privilege to expose which ever "r" he wishes.

If the player whose turn is in progress has guessed correctly, he is entitled to guess again. He may question the same opponent or he may shift his questioning to any other opponent and may even come back to the original opponent later during the same turn.
His turn does not end until he fails to guess correctly. When it has ended, the player to the left of the first player then takes his turn in the same manner, first drawing an activity card and then questioning opponents.

Players are not permitted to make a list of letters that have been called for by themselves or by their opponents. They must rely entirely on their memories to keep from wasting their turn by asking questions that have been asked previously.


"Take Your Normal Turn." Your normal turn is simply guessing until an opponent says "No" to your question. Then your turn ends.

"Take An Additional Turn." After an opponent says "No" to your question, draw another activity card and continue guessing until you again fail to guess correctly.

"Opponent at Left (or Right) Will Expose a Card." Your opponent so designated must now choose any one of his hidden cards, letters or blanks, and expose it before you take your guess. Should he have only one card unexposed, he must still expose it.

"If You Have a Blank, Expose It." You must turn up a blank, if you have one hidden,, before taking your turn in the regular way.

"Quintuple (Quadruple or Triple) the Value of Your First Guess." If your turn includes a sequence of guesses, it is only the points which you win on the first guess which are multiplied.

"Add (or Deduct) From Your Score." The score keeper tallies immediately the amount indicated as a plus or minus to your score

If a player cannot obey the instructions of an activity card, he ignores them and discards the card. His turn continues until he fails to guess an opponent's letter correctly.


The scorekeeper adds or deducts the points each player gains or loses at once, so that each player's score is kept as a running total.
Whenever a player guesses a card correctly, he gains the point value (5, 10, or 16) for the particular section of his opponent's rack where that card appears. When a player guesses an opponent's last hidden card, he also wins a bonus of 50 points for completing the exposure of that player's word.

If a player draws a card from the activity deck which requires him to expose one of his own cards, no player scores.

If a player draws a card requiring one of his opponents to expose a card, he receives the point value of the card exposed.

If a player asks for a blank from an opponent who has none, he loses 50 points.

If a player misspells or misarranges his word on his rack, he loses 100 points.

If a player fails to expose a card when guessed, he loses 100 points.

No player is ever left out. If his word is guessed, he continues to play and can earn points until the game is over.

A time will come when only one player is left with one or more cards unexposed. When this happens, each of his opponents has 2 more turns (twice around in normal playing rotation) to guess the word. During these final rounds all players, including the one player with the unexposed cards, continue to draw cards from the activity deck in the normal manner. If, after these final 2 turns the player still has cards unexposed, he turns up all of his unexposed cards and earns all of the point values of these cards. In addition, he earns a bonus of 50 points for successfully hiding his word. If the game ends with 5 or more of his cards successfully hidden, his bonus becomes 100 points.

The game ends when each letter and blank on the rack of every player is exposed. The winner is the player with the highest score.


One of the unique features of this game is the interruptive rule. Under this rule, no matter whose turn is in progress, any player may interrupt the game if he believes he can guess any other player's word. A player may take advantage of the interruptive rule only when the player he questions has 5 or more cards still unexposed.

A player must be exact when using the interruptive rule by identifying each letter and each blank (if any) in its proper sequence. If he is correct, the opponent turns his unexposed cards face up. The points of the cards so exposed, plus a bonus of 100 points, is awarded to the player for his correct guess.
If he guesses incorrectly, he is penalized 50 points. As no penalty is attached to misuse of the interruptive rule, a player who is questioned with less than 6 cards unexposed on his rack should not make any reply whatever, since any answer on his part might be revealing.


P1ayers can assist the scorekeeper by turning over their cards as they are guessed and sliding them to the back of the frame, thus exposing the points earned. At the end of each turn, after the points have been totaled and recorded, the player or players whose letters were exposed in that turn push the cards forward as illustrated by the position of the letter "R" in diagrams A and B.

A list of carefully selected words adds zest to this game, but it is not necessary to hide a word no one has ever heard of in order to win. Many easy words are difficult to guess, especially when hidden strategically with blanks.

Players whose vocabularies are approximately equal may wish to eliminate the activity cards, thereby reducing the element of luck and placing greater emphasis on skill.


Each player has two racks and a separate deck of cards for each rack. He places one rack to his right and the other to his left. When a player draws a card from the activity deck which reads, "Opponent at Left (or at Right) Will Expose a Card," the opponent must expose a card from the rack on his left (or right).

A player does not specify to which of his opponent's words he is referring when asking for a letter. The opponent must turn up that letter if he has it in either word. If he has that letter in both words, he may elect to expose the letter from either word. When using the interruptive rule, a player must specify the word to which he refers.


Simply add an extra rack and letter deck from another set for five, or add two racks and two letter decks for six. Five or six players play exactly as in the game for four players.


Played progressively, this is a true party game. Twelve players participate for a particularly good time. Invite your friends, asking two of them to bring along their sets of the game, so that you may have three tables of four players each. After each game, the two players with the high score at each table move or progress to another table.

One player still scores at each table, but everyone tallies his own total and carries it with him to the next table. The player with the highest ccore at the end of the party is the winner.

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This is for informational purposes for those who lost their rules. I don't have any idea where you can still purchase this game but would suggest an Antique Mall (post a request there) or on the web try other options.

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