Contributed by Richard Vickery (Richard.Vickery@unsw.edu.au)
Play testers: Alex Filewood, Paul Mackie, Karen Turvey and Eddy Vickery.
1. Make small talk. This is done by playing a card
on a different topic (suit not matching current topic card) with a value
no higher than the current topic card. Place your card in line with
the previous one.
However if your opponent made small talk and you follow his small talk suit (and of course meet the requirement for making small talk that the card be no higher than the current topic card) then the topic changes. Discard all cards in the sequence before your opponent's last play, leaving just the two cards of the same suit. If your card is lower than your opponent's it is placed in line with it, if you equal or beat his card, then place your card one step towards you.
2. Continue the argument. This is done by playing a card on the topic (same suit). The new card becomes the current topic card. If your card is equal to or higher than the previous card in the sequence then place your card one step towards you. Note that the card you must beat is not necessarily the topic card, as it might be a small talk card which has value zero and can be beaten by even an Ace. If this is your second consecutive step towards you then you have made a point.
3. Change the topic. This is done by playing two
cards of any value with the same suit (which must be different from the
current topic). Discard all cards in the sequence before your opponent's
last play, leaving just the two cards of the same suit you played.
If you play the higher of your two cards (either if equal) second in the
sequence then you may place it one step towards you.
Changing topic will reduce your hand size by one card as you only draw one replacement card.
current topic card
Does not deny point
When the draw pile runs out, leave the current sequence, and shuffle the discarded cards to form a new draw pile. Cards kept to indicate that the player has made a point do not get shuffled back in.
Karen is player 2, and has the following pet topic and starting hand:
The starting topic is 2 spades, and Richard goes first.
Richard can only make small talk with his 2 hearts or else change topic. He plays 2 hearts. Karen continues the argument in spades by playing her 3 spades which is placed a step towards her. Even the Ace would have caused a step towards her as it follows a small talk play.
Richard is not happy as he has no spades with which to block and no idea whether they are Karen's pet topic. He could small talk in hearts or diamonds using a 3, but instead decides to change topic using the 2 diamonds he drew and his 3 diamonds. This reduces his hand size by one to five.
Before it is cleared the sequence looks as shown in picture a). The top row is number of the player who laid the card, and the draw pile is at the left edge. Richard is sitting towards the top of the page, so a step towards him is shown as a step up.
Diamonds are the new topic, and just the two cards Richard played are
kept to start the sequence, the rest are discarded. There follows
a sequence of small talk from both players. Attempts by both players
to continue the conversation to a point are thwarted. Their small
talk then leads to the topic changing to hearts. The sequence before
it is cleared looks as follows:
Both players are happy to contest in Hearts. Karen continues the
argument, but is blocked by Richard's 5 hearts. Richard follows this
with the 6 hearts and will make a point in hearts unless Karen has the
other 6 hearts. He could have made the same threat with his Ace hearts,
as that would beat Karen's small talk of 5 spades, but it would have been
easier for Karen to block. Unfortunately, Karen has the other 6 hearts
and so blocks Richard and goes on to make a point in Hearts herself.
The 5 hearts she plays is unbeatable as both 6's and the other 5 are already
out. As this is Karen's pet topic, just one more point in Hearts will see
her chit chat her way to victory! The sequence before clearing looks
Karen keeps the 6 hearts face up in front of her to indicate her point
in hearts. The cleared sequence looks as follows in d), and continues
with Richard's play:
We leave the example here....
The sequence of cards drawn for each player was.
Changing topic is painful because it reduces hand size and usually costs a card in the topic you want to make a point in. It is best to time this so as to deny your opponent a point, so change after their first "continue the argument" not the second.
Holding high cards (to block) and low cards (to defend your hand) are both important, but are in tension with developing enough power to make a point. This is the fun of the game!
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