The Game Window
When the game starts, you'll see the round and your score(s) at the top of the screen, the puzzle board in the middle, the Wheel below it, your avatar to the right, and the status bar across the bottom.
Playing the Game
Mouse over the Wheel, and the power meter will pop up and its energy will rise and fall. Click the Wheel to spin. The level of the power meter will determine the force of your spin. If the Wheel lands on a dollar wedge, choose a consonant by clicking it in the display across the bottom or typing the letter on the keyboard. If the consonant exists in the puzzle, it will be revealed on the board at every position in which it occurs, and you'll receive the wedge value for each occurrence.
You begin with five turns. If you lose all five, the game ends. You can lose a turn by: 1) choosing a letter that's not in the puzzle, 2) landing on LOSE A TURN, 3) landing on BANKRUPT, or 4) guessing an incorrect puzzle solution. BANKRUPT also removes all virtual money from your virtual bank and all prizes in your "inventory," that is, the space on the left side of your screen just below the game board. You may earn more virtual money on subsequent turns if you have any turns left.
Buying a Vowel
If you've got enough virtual money, you can click a vowel in the letter-display area to buy it for $250. A vowel costs $250 whether it occurs once, multiple times, or not at all. You may pick multiple vowels if you can pay for them.
If the Wheel lands on the FREE SPIN, you'll win the Free Spin token if you then correctly guess a consonant. The token will enter your inventory. Later, when your turn would normally end, you'll be asked if you'd like use your free spin. You can win only one Free Spin token.
Solving a Puzzle
When you are allowed to solve the puzzle, the SOLVE button on the lower right will be highlighted. To solve the puzzle, click the button or press the SPACEBAR on your keyboard. Using your keyboard, type your answer before time expires. The flashing cursor will appear on the first open space on the board, and you may either type out the remaining letters from that point, replacing existing letters, or press the TAB key to jump to the next empty space. If you solve the puzzle, your current virtual bank and all prizes will be added to your game total. Note that you must have a gift in your inventory or virtual money in the bank before you can solve a puzzle.
In round one, you'll see a special wedge that consists of a $10,000 prize wedge surrounded by smaller BANKRUPT wedges. If you land on the $10,000 portion of the wedge and select a valid consonant, the wedge will come off the Wheel and enter your inventory. Multiple occurrences of a consonant will not multiply the value of this wedge; also, $10,000 will not be added to your total unless you successfully solve the puzzle. If you hit BANKRUPT after collecting the $10,000 wedge, you'll lose it along with your current virtual bank.
In round one, there's also a GIFT TAG wedge. If you hit this wedge and choose a correct consonant, the tag goes into your inventory. As with the $10,000 prize wedge, the value of the tag ($5,000 by default) is not added to your score until you solve the puzzle.
You will also lose the tag if you hit BANKRUPT.
In the bonus round, after you are presented with a puzzle and category, you will be asked to spin the Bonus Wheel. When the Wheel stops spinning, a folded prize card will appear at the bottom of the screen; its contents will not be revealed until the end of the round. Once you've spun for your prize card, any occurrences of the letters R, S, T, L, N, and E are revealed in the puzzle. You must then pick three additional consonants and one vowel. Once those letters have been revealed, the timer starts and you must solve the puzzle before the timer runs out. You may type as many guesses as you like. A correct answer adds the card amount to your total.