Thursday, January 1, 2015

Game Developments - Rummy in reverse.

First post of the Year- Maybe I'll even be able to keep up this New Year.

I've enjoyed games all my life. to quote Shakespeare "The play's the thing." But most games wear out. There are only so many times that you can answer the same trivia questions. Most tactical games are decided by early moves (Australia in Risk is like the center square in Tic Tac Toe,) and even the strategy involved in traditional card games can get old.

Let's take Rummy for instance. I first played Rummy with my father as the follow up to Go Fish. I learned  Rummy wiki-rummy  as the variant where "rummy" was the word used to indicate that an opponent has made a mistake and discarded a playable card- and thus allowing the speaker to take the card from the discard and play it themselves.

It was a great kids game. But, I left it behind (or so I thought) as a late teen. There were bigger and better, more complex card games out there... but because it was a classic, and my wife and I both enjoyed it, it became our go-to travel game.

But alas, again it started to loose it's luster. We tried speed games, long term huge point games, and a few other variants. The first one that stuck and became our first go-to game, was the 100 point two player speed variant.

The basic scoring (numbers 5 pts, face cards 10 pts, Aces 15 pts - or 5 pts if used as 1's) and in this version the players scores count against one another. First player to a positive 100 score wins. This negated a scorecard (at the end of the round, I had 45 you had 70, so your up +25. Only one players score is all that carries forward) making for an easier travel game.

This worked for quite a while, and the scores quickly swing back and forth for a lively game, or slam closed in a runaway (yes it is possible to win in a single hand,) but again, it slowly faded. Then, my wonderful wife had a brainstorm- what if you flipped the game to change the tactics. So after some tinkering back and forth on rules for forcing your opponent to play or challenge (uno style) we came to our current rules for 'Reverse Rummy.'

2 Players
Object- to force your opponent to play to 100 positive score.
Both players starting hand is 10 cards.
Basic Rummy Play and scoring.
   Special Rules-
           Rummy- If a Card being discarded can play,  you may 'Rummy' forcing the discarding player to play the card for points and discard again.
           Forced Play- If a card in the discard becomes playable, you may direct the next player to take and play it instead of drawing. This only works if you force the move before the other player draws.
           Bluffing- As the other player cannot see you hand, bluffing is a part of the game design. However, it can get carried too far, so we added a challenge rule. Choosing to challenge forces the opponent to reveal their hand, and playable cards go into play and draws a single face down card that counts against the player at the end of the hand. However, there must be a risk for the challenger, so if no playable cards are revealed, then the challenger draws three cards face down that count against the challenger at the end of the hand. This also adds a bit of mystery as those cards could break expected runs, or groups especially during a long hand.
           Caught- At the end of the hand (once a player has gone out) the other player reveals their hand, any playable cards caught in hand count as twice their normal value against that player. This does not include cards that the player had no ability to play (last hand draw to pick up the pile.) but does include cards from the discard that make cards in hand work. This means if you are caught then you must pull the cards from the discard, but do not get the other cards to count against your score.

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