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Game

Contributed by Daniel Calizaya

PLAYERS

2 to 4

OVERVIEW

Game represents the battle of two or more armies, which are represented by the court cards and Aces of each suit. As with a majority of card games, their values are J=11, Q=12, K=13 and A=14. In Game the players play for themselves and the objective is to be the last army standing, by surviving and killing other armies.

SET UP

At the start of Game, players choose their army (they choose a suit, and get the A,K,Q,J of that suit) and are to arrange these army cards in any particular order but in stack face down and with no other player aware of how they are arranged. In games where there are less than four players, the unused armies are to be put aside. This order of an army cannot be changed during the game, but a player may look at his own card on top of his army at any time. The order of the army cards is the order in which they are attacked: if a Jack is on top of an Ace, this Jack has to be killed before any attack could kill the Ace, and so forth.

Each player is dealt 7 cards from the remaining pack of 36 cards (all courts and Aces must be taken out prior to the deal leaving only the cards 2 to 10). From these 7 cards players plan their 'presentation', which is always used for both attack and defense at the same time.

PRESENTATION

A presentation consists of any number of groups of cards. Each group consists of two or more cards whose face values must add up to 11, 12, 13 or 14, corresponding to attack or defense of a J, Q, K or A respectively. This is the value of the group in both attack and defense.

At a presentation, each player may put down ("present") as many or as few groups as wished (even no groups at all - refer to Extra Rule 2). Presentations should be exposed simultaneously (a "1, 2, 3, go" count could help). Then comes a 'match up', where the groups presented by each pair of players are compared and kills are determined.

When two players present a group of the same value, these cancel out as between those two players, irrespective of the number of cards making up each group. Groups whose values which are not matched up attack, that is, they kill the card on top of the opponent's army stack if it is the same value as the group. Refer to Extra Rule 1.

With more than two players, 'match-ups' occur between all pairs of players. This may take a little time and every player should ask questions for their interest: "do you have Queen on top?", "Got Ace or King on top?", "Our Jacks cancel, I don't have a King on top", etc. Players must be honest when answering questions, obviously, but they are not obligated to surrender their card on top if no questions were asked about it. All players are allowed to listen to all answers.

A single group can kill cards belonging to several opponents at once if they all have the matching card of their army on top of their stacks, and none of them has defended it with an equal valued group.

A multiple attack on a single opponent can occur if a player presents different values and they correspond to a series of unprotected cards on top of the opponent's army stack. In this case, there is no limit to the number of cards that can be killed in one turn. But in case of more than two players, multiple attacks cannot come from different hands. Only the "harder" attack - the attack from the player which kills most cards - will have effect. For example:

Player X has       J on top, Q, K, A       and presents nothing.
Player Y hasJ on top, Q, A, Kand presents J, Q. [7+4; 6+6]
Player Z hasK on top, J, Q, Aand presents K, J. [10+3; 2+4+3+2]

A good line to remember would be: "A player attacks everyone, but can only receive an attack from one player, the harder one."  So a player can multi attack all the players (killing them if appropriate), but all attacks from different players will not kill all your cards, only the harder attack.

REFILLING

After all 'match ups' have been worked out, and attacks resolved, all the cards used for presentations are set aside and players refill their hands from the remaining stock of undealt cards (if not enough cards are left to refill all players' hands, those cards that were just presented should be shuffled with the left over cards, and refill is then to take place).

When refilling, each player is takes an equal number of cards. The maximum number of cards one can have in Game is 7, so the player with the most cards refills up to 7, while other players receive the same number of new cards as that player. Therefore, in the second deal, at least one player will have 7 cards while the other players may have fewer than 7 cards. (This rule is intended to balance aggressiveness and defensiveness; if you present more cards than your opponents, you have fewer cards to choose from in the next round.) If a player with 7 cards does not present, no refilling takes place, and the next presentation is done with the cards players have left.

Example:

The next presentation is then to take place, obviously Player Z will not be able to present.

ENDGAME

When a player has lost his whole army, he is said to be 'on skin'. This player is vulnerable, as any further attack on any of his values (which are already dead) will put him out of the game, unless he presents a defense for it. But this vulnerable player can attack as normal, and may even win the game by presenting adequate defense and attack at the same time. For example:

With this play, Y makes a remarkable comeback. He cancels attack on J, kills Q, and further kills Q in a now vulnerable Player X, all in the one go. Player Y thus wins the game. If Player X had presented a K, both players would die, and if they were the only players left in the game it would be a draw.

EXTRA RULES

These are not optional; these are used when certain events occur.
  1. A player may present a double or triple value (for example two or three 11's) and this would kill an opponent's J on top unless the opponent presented an appropriate defense (equally many 11's).
  2. No player may pass twice in a row, as this may cause a vicious cycle.
  3. If a player cannot present (which can happen for example if he has only 8's, 9's and 10's in his hand) one of three things may happen.
    1. If he has 7 cards in hand, he must announce this before presentation and show and surrender his cards. 7 new cards are to be dealt to him. If this occurred straight after he got 7 new cards (that is, at the start of the game or from a very rare 7 card refill) or while he is 'on skin', he suffers no penalty. In any other circumstance, his current card on top is automatically dead. Play proceeds as normal.
    2. If he has fewer than 7 cards in hand, he can choose simply not to present, without announcing anything.
    3. If he has fewer than 7 cards in hand, he may announce, show, and surrender his cards. He is then dealt the same amount of cards that he had and he suffers the same penalties as in (a). He is only exempt from penalty if 'on skin'.
    If the player unable to present is dealt new cards, they may be used to make a presentation in the same turn.
  4. Draws may occur. If players wish to make sure that every game has a result, it is up to them to work out a way to decide the winner. It could be by:
    1. number of extra attacks received (when both already 'out of the game') (less wins)
    2. number of cards in hand (more wins)
    3. value of cards in hand (more wins)
    4. first player who became vulnerable (first wins, it's a comeback!)
    5. age??? (younger wins !)
    Or a combination of all these, it should be agreed before the game starts. However, it is not advisable to raise this issue when a new player is playing Game for the first time (as it would just confuse them).

Note: Only Extra Rule 1 and 2 should be told to a new player before their first game of Game. ER 3 and 4 should be introduced when the situation arises.

P.S. The above is the basic game. A more complex version with extras such as an extra limit, reposition of army, and much more is underway, but most people at my school seem to like Game as it is. If anyone is interested they could email me for a copy of these new rules, when they are ready that is!


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Last updated 7th August 2004