1. Can I trade cards between two opponent's racks?
No, a Trade has to go from your rack of cards to 1 opponent's rack of cards.
2. Do the cards flip when I do a Trade?
No, you will see the same side of the cards before and after a trade. Another way to think about this is, the outside of the card before you trade becomes the inside of the card after the trade.
3. Can I Swap the position of cards in my opponent's rack?
Yes, a Swap or Flip can be done to cards in any rack.
4. How do I make the game easier for my younger children?
A good way to balance the game if you have kids with different ages or verbal abilities is to permit the younger kids to make 3-letter or longer words and/or to require that the older kids or adults make 5-letter or longer words.
5. I keep getting words stolen from hand rack before I can score them. Any suggestions?
One house rule that has been suggested is to permit a third action which has to be a Scoring action. That means each player gets to take 2 actions, and if in those 2 actions they succeed in making a word, they can Score that word (either from the inside of their rack or the outside of an opponent's rack). This makes the game somewhat easier, but might be an enjoyable way for you to play.
6. What's the card with the "*"?
The letter cards with a "*" are wild cards - they can be used as any letter. But realize that they are worth 0 points.
1. Team play: If you have 4 players, then you can play "Team PatchWord". In this variant, the 2 players sitting opposite each other are a team (kind of like in Bridge) and the players on a team can work together to setup words, particularly on the backs of their opponents' racks. At the end of the game the teams total all their points and the higher total wins.
This variant changes the game play and some strategy significantly. It changes when you might steal letters from your partner and allows you and your partner to setup a scoring on the opponent's hand that sits between you.
But table-talk isn't allowed - if you are setting your partner up - they have to figure it out on their own.