Revolution

also known as Mitch

Invented and contributed by Mitch Gunzler

This is the Mitch Gunzler's description of a version of a game he invented around 1983 at UCLA. That tradition has been carried on by other people, who have named the original game Mitch after its inventor. Mitch is described on a separate page. This page describes a newer version, Revolution, in which several variations of the scoring have been tried out.

Summary

Players take turns drawing a card and then playing or discarding one card. Players can no longer play a given card once they've played any lower value card in that suit. At the end of the hand, the player who has played the most cards in any suit gains points: the other players lose one point per card played in that suit.

Outline of Play

Each player is dealt a starting hand of five cards.

Any player who is now dealt , or who later draws an Ace immediately reveals it and sets it aside. For the first three Aces, a replacement card is immediately drawn and play continues; when the fourth Ace is drawn, the hand immediately ends. [It is illegal to "hold an Ace 'til later".]

Players take turns starting clockwise from dealer's left, during which they

  1. Draw a card, and
  2. Either play a card onto the table in front of them, or discard a card.

Discards go face-up into a pile and are gone. They never return to play, impact scoring etc. for this hand.

The Golden Rule of Play:

You may not play a card if you have played a lower value card in that suit.

A King, for example, must be played first in its suit or not at all. [NB Aces are not played, see above.]

Since points are gained only by conquering suits (see below), players arrange their played cards in melds, lines, rows, or overlapping piles, no more than one meld per suit. By leaving cards in the order played, this will also automatically order the cards from highest to lowest within each meld.

Basic Scoring

When play stops, determine which player conquered each suit:

  • The player with the most cards played in that suit wins;
  • If there is a tie for most cards, compare the lowest (last played) card, with high card winning.

For instance: a 4, 3 beat a K, two cards to one. They even beat a K, 2, since a 3 is higher than a 2.

When done, there is (at most) one winning player in each suit. Flip over losing melds, turning the cards face down to help with...

The Golden Rule of Scoring:

Cards in losing melds cost one point each, and have no other impact.

The winner of each suit gets 1 point plus 1 point per player, for instance, 4 points in a three-player game.

There is a bonus "fifth suit" awarded for the shortest winning meld, also worth e.g. 4 in a three-player game [i.e. whoever conquers a suit with the shortest meld scores double for this suit.] You must keep in mind the golden rule; only melds that actually conquer their suit are eligible.

When determining shortness, the tie-breaking rule is slightly different:

  • Compare the lowest (last played) card in each suit, but low card wins; [This bonus rewards the weak.]
  • Ties are possible, so continue to the second lowest card if necessary, and so on;
  • If the tie can't be broken (both short suits have exactly the same value cards), the bonus isn't given.

Advanced Scoring

Two-player Basic games can get boring pretty fast, but the game with advanced scoring plays at least as well with two players as with three.

Use the Basic rules except where noted, and especially keep in mind the Golden Rule of Scoring.

Melds are no longer worth 1 point plus 1 per player. Instead, they are worth 1 point plus 1 per unique card. A card is unique when there are no other cards of the same value in winning melds.

The value of a suit may then be further doubled by two special cases. To help learn and remember these bonuses, keep in mind that they create goals in new directions. Conquering a suit is based on having a long meld, which is easiest to get by starting with high cards; Now, players are given a reason to make their melds short and start with low cards.

First, one of the suits will be doubled for starting with the Lowest High Card.
Compare the Highest card in each suit - lowest wins.
In case of tie, check second highest card, and so on. "No more cards" beats any card.
In case the best suits happen to be identical, the bonus is not awarded.
Second, one of the suits will be doubled for being the Shortest Suit.
Shortest suit wins.
In case of tie, lowest low card wins, continuing up to comparing high card if necessary.
 
Example: J
9
6
5
J
8
7
5
  • Low High Card is measured from the top down; 9>8, so the right meld gets the bonus.
  • Shortest Suit starts equal. Breaks ties from bottom up: 6<7 so the left meld gets the bonus.

The Mob

Of course, since this is "Revolution", the Mob always threatens to run howling through the streets...

Two players may well want to add a third player [the Mob] to the Basic game who holds no hand, plays every card drawn, and is not bound by the Gold Rule of Play. However, the Mob works best as a tool for solitaire. In Advanced Solitaire with the Mob, it can take practice to beat the Mob reliably (your mileage may vary).

Hustler's game: After a significant initial ante (20 "chips" each, say) two players and the Mob play until the pot is depleted. Every hand, players with negative scores put that many chips into the pot, players with positive scores take that many out. If any player happens to win all four suits, he loses and his opponent simply collects the pot; the entire land has finally found somebody frightening enough to unite against. Of course, you can always fold and simply concede whatever's in the Pot, if you seem to keep feeding it...

Further Variations

Mitch Gunzler's preferred scoring method (as at September 2000) is similar to advanced scoring above, but with an extra double for the winning suit containing the Lowest Low Card. In case of a tie, check the second lowest card, and so on. In the example above, the left meld would get the low card bonus - the fives tie and the six beats the seven.

Tyrant option. At any point, a player may point out that any player is currently winning all four suits. The game immediately ends and is scored, except the signs of the scores are reversed. [The player with the overwhelming strength finally causes the multitudinous incompatible opposing factions to unite against the threat of her dominance. The other players are seen as patriotic resistance, and gain as many points as they would have lost.]

Gambling Version

This can be used in conjunction with any of the above versions of the game.

At the start of the session, each player must pay a moderate ante (say 5 units) to the pool. When it is your turn to play, you may either

  1. pay one more unit to the pool and play normally, or
  2. fold your cards, in which case you pay nothing for that turn, and take no further part in the play or scoring of that hand.

At the end of hand, the player with the lowest score for that hand among those who have not folded pays an amount equal to the value of the pot to the player with the highest score. In the event of a tie the cost or benefit is split equally. If all but one player fold before the end of the play, that one surviving player simply collects the pot.

For the next hand, if the pot was collected, because all except one player folded, there is a new ante by all the players. If the hand was played to the end, the pot stays in place, and there is no new ante; the players who folded in the previous hand are dealt in again if they wish. So even if you fold, you may still get the chance to win the current pot on the following deal.

Mitch also suggests Stud Revolution:

  1. deal the cards and reveal aces;
  2. round of betting;
  3. all simultaneously play one card (held face up under the palm to play, face down to discard);
  4. deal one more card each and reveal aces;
  5. repeat 2-4 until four aces appear or all but one player have folded.

or Revolution with a doubling cube, Backgammon-style (which presumably only works well for 2 players).