# Peek and Run

Invented and contributed by Charles Magri .

## Introduction and Objective

Peek and Run is a game for 2-4 players using a deck of 40 cards and a 6 × 6 game board. The two-player game will be described first, followed by adjustments for 3 or 4 players.

Players place cards from their hands onto either of two discard piles and multiply the top cards of the two piles to claim a cell on the game board that corresponds to their product.

Cells claimed by a player are marked in their colour, and the objective is

1. to win by making a straight line (vertical, horizontal or diagonal) of four adjacent cells of your own colour, or
2. to eliminate your opponent by creating a position in which they cannot or choose not to play a card.

## Equipment Needed

The 40-card deck is made by throwing out the picture cards and Jokers from a standard international deck keeping just the pip cards from Ace to 10 inclusive. There are four suits but for this game it only matters that there are two red and two black cards of each number.

The cards A(1), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 are ordinary cards used for claiming cells on the board, and the 10's are special cards which allow the player to look at cards in the stockpile or in an opponent's hand.

On the 6 x 6 game board the cells are marked by 36 different numbers, which are all possible products of two whole numbers between 1 and 9 inclusive, arranged in ascending order. Some of these products can be obtained in more than one way - for example 18 = 3×6 = 2×9. The board looks like this:

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 18 20 21 24 25 27 28 30 32 35 36 40 42 45 48 49 54 56 63 64 72 81

Each player has a supply of markers in their own colour, used for claiming cells. Approximately 20 markers for each player should be sufficient. In the examples below the players in a two-player game have red and blue as their colours.

Alternatively, it would be possible to play with a grid drawn on paper, on which the players claim cells by marking them with symbols such as X and O as used in Noughts and Crosses (Tick-tack-toe).

## Deal

The first dealer is chosen by any convenient means, and the turn to deal alternates between the players.

The dealer shuffles the deck thoroughly and deals 3 cards to each player face down. The remaining undealt cards are stacked face down at the bottom of the game board (under the middle of cells 63 and 64) to form a stockpile. Players may look at their cards to decide what to play in their turn.

There will be two face up discard piles, one on each side of the stock. These will be known as the Left Discard Pile and the Right Discard Pile. Both these piles begin empty.

## Play

In a two-player game the non-dealer plays first. A player's turn consists of a series of moves in which cards are played from the hand to the discard piles. Three types of move are possible:

1. Initial claim. This is allowed only when there are no ordinary cards in the discard piles. The player plays two ordinary cards (1-9) from hand, one on top of each of the discard piles, and claims the cell corresponding to the product of the two numbers by placing a token of their colour on it.
2. Ordinary claim. This is allowed only when there are ordinary cards on top of both discard piles. The player plays one ordinary card from their hand on top of either one of the discard piles and claims the empty cell corresponding to the product of this newly played card and the card on top of the other pile by placing a token of their colour on it. (If the cell corresponding to the product is already occupied the play is not legal.)
3. Peek. This is always allowed if the player holds a 10. The player shows the 10, looks privately at up to three cards from opponents' hands and/or the top of the stockpile, in any combination. The player then places the played 10 on the bottom of one of the discard piles.

There can only be one initial move in a deal, since after it there will always be an ordinary card on top of each stack. Normally the first player will begin their first turn with an initial claim, but in certain cases, for example if two of their three cards are tens, they will be unable to, and will have to play a peek instead. This will terminate their turn (see below), and the second player will be able to begin their turn with an initial claim.

### Continuing and Ending a Turn

After making a claim (initial or ordinary), the same player may continue their turn with another move if the top cards of both discard piles are ordinary cards of the same colour. If the top cards of the discard piles are different colours, the player's turn ends.

After a peek, the same player may continue their turn with another move if the top cards of both discard piles are ordinary cards of the same colour as the ten used for the peek. If not, the peek terminates their turn.

At the end of each turn, the player draws cards from the top of the stockpile and adds them to their hand without showing them to their opponent(s). It is then the next player's turn to play.

Since each move involves playing at least one card from hand, and a player holds three cards at the start of their turn, a turn consists of at most three moves.

It is never compulsory to make a move, even if able to. The player can voluntarily end their turn even if they hold a card that they could have played. However, if a player makes no move at all in their turn, the play ends and they lose the current hand.

When holding three ordinary cards it is sometimes impossible to make a legal move, because all the cells the player could claim are already occupied. In this case the player loses the hand. It is also possible to forfeit the hand voluntarily by choosing not to play at one's turn, which may be cheaper than continuing play and allowing an opponent to score several points (see below).

A player, during their turn, may look through either or both discard piles.

## Scoring

Each player begins with a score of zero, and the overall winner of the match is the first player to reach or exceed an agreed points target, or the player with more points after an agreed number of rounds (each round consisting of two hands, one dealt by each player).

A player wins if at the end of their turn they have at least one line of four adjacent claimed cells of their own colour (horizontally, vertically or diagonally). The play ends and the player scores one point for each line of four made, added to their cumulative score.

It is possible to score more than one point for winning. For example claiming an intersection cell of two lines of four in different directions scores 2 points, or filling in a middle cell in a whole row, column or diagonal of 6 would score 3 points. In theory it is possible to score as many as 11 points possible by forming a near complete Union Jack on the game board.

Note that forming a line of four does not automatically end a player's turn. If the top cards of the discard piles are the same colour, the player may be able to make further moves within the same turn and claim more cells to extend the length of the line or score another line of four elsewhere on the board, scoring extra points.

If, in a player's turn, the player is unable to (or chooses not to) play a single card, they lose, and one point is deducted from their cumulative score, which may then be negative.

In the unusual case where at the end of a turn there are insufficient cards in the stockpile to replenish a player's hand, the play ends with no score. Note that a player who after creating a row of four is unable to complete their turn because there are insufficient cards in the stock to replenish their hand will not score any points for that hand.

## Variations

### Three Players

Each player has their own colour of markers. The player to dealer's left begins and players take turns in clockwise order. If a player is unable to or chooses not to make any moves in their turn, play ends and that player scores -1 point.

Charles Magri recommends that when three play, although the turn to deal passes clockwise and the first player is always the player to dealer's left, the direction of play should alternate from deal to deal between clockwise and anticlockwise, so that in the second, fourth, sixth deal, etc. the dealer will have the second rather than the third turn. This is to mitigate the advantage or disadvantage of sitting immediately to the left or right of a weak player.

### Four players

The players form two teams, partners sitting opposite each other. Each team has one colour and a single score. If a player is unable to play in their turn or chooses to pass, play ends and their team scores -1 point.

### Recapture

In this variation the rule that only unoccupied cells can be claimed is relaxed. A player can claim any cell that is empty or occupied by an opponent. When an opponent's cell is claimed, the player replaces the opponent's marker by one of their own.

This results in longer games, and it becomes more likely that the stock will run out. When this happens all cards in the two discard piles except for their topmost cards are gathered, shuffled and set down to form a new stockpile from which the players continue to draw cards.

### Pass Allowed

If a player is unable to play in their turn, they can simply pass without forfeit. The pass is at the discretion of the player. The player is not obliged to play a legally playable card in the hand. When a player passes the turn simply passes on to the next player. If both (all) players pass in succession, the game is a stalemate and is abandoned without score.

### Dynamic Draw

Each time a card is played the player immediately draws a replacement card from the stockpile, rather than waiting until the end of the turn to draw. In this variant, turns may be much longer than in the basic game if a player has a run of luck and draws many cards of the same colour.

When making an initial claim, the player plays one ordinary card on one pile, draws a replacement and must then play another ordinary card on the other pile. A player who begins the game holding two Tens and one ordinary card may risk playing the ordinary card to start an initial claim, but if the replacement card is a Ten the player will be unable to complete the initial claim and will immediately lose the game for 1 point.

### Four-Card Hand

Self-explanatory: four cards are dealt to each player, and hands are replenished to four cards at the end of each turn (or after each move if playing with dynamic draw).

### Limited Resources

Players are given only a set number of markers for claiming cells. Once all of a player's markers are on the board, any markers for new claims must be taken from the board, thus giving up a previously claimed cell. Suggested numbers of markers:

• 2-players: 10 to 12
• 3 players: 8 to 10
• 4 players: 10 to 12 per team.

Handicapping is possible by allowing one player to have more markers than another!

## Sample Match

Here are three sample games in a basic two-player match between RED and BLUE.  RED will play first.

The cards are represented by two letters. Examples R7 is a red 7, B1 is a black ace, RT is a red ten.

Plays of cards are denoted as for example R6L6 meaning a Red 6 was played on the Left Discard Pile (claiming cell 6 because the other pile was topped by an Ace).

Players of Tens may have a peek move such as OR3 SB2 SB5, meaning that the player chose to see a card from the opponent’s hand and saw a red 3, then chose to see the top two cards of the discard pile, being a black 2 and black 5. If a card of a player's hand has been exposed, for the purposes of this 2-player sample game, it will be shown in bold to signify that it is public knowledge.

### Game 1

Player Hand Play Comment
RED B2 R3 B7 B2L, B7R14, R3L21
BLUE B5 BT B3 B5L35, B3R15 Keeps BT for later.
RED R7 B6 R8 B6R30 R7L42 Wins 1 point.
Very lucky deal for RED.

Board position

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14● 15● 16 18 20 21 ● 24 25 27 28 30 ● 32 35 ● 36 40 42 ● 45 48 49 54 56 63 64 72 81

Score running total

 RED BLUE 1 0

### Game 2

Player Hand Play Comment
BLUE BT BT B9 BT ORT OB2 OB3 Not an ideal hand
RED RT B2 B3 B2L, B3R6 Keeps RT for later.
BLUE BT B9 B8 B8R16, B9R18 Starting a central line
RED RT RT R5 RT SB2 SB9 SR3 Prefers to look in the stockpile.
BLUE BT R7 B6 B6R12 R7R14
RED RT R5 B2 B2R4 R5L10 Starts a new line and blocks opponent’s

 1 2 3 4 ● 5 6 ● 7 8 9 10 ● 12 ● 14 ● 15 16 ● 18 ● 20 21 24 25 27 28 30 32 35 36 40 42 45 48 49 54 56 63 64 72 81

Player Hand Play Comment
BLUE BT B9 R3 R3R15 B9L27 Protecting cell 20 by covering the red 5 on the right discard pile
RED RT R8 B4 R8L24 RT OBT OR2 B5 B4 is a risk card in hand
BLUE BT R2 B5 BT OB4 OR5 OB4 Too dangerous to play B5
RED B4 R5 B4 R5L40 B4R20 Lucky holding to claim 20
BLUE R2 B5 R9 R9R45 B5R25
RED B4 B3 R7 R7R35 B4L28

 1 2 3 4 ● 5 6 ● 7 8 9 10 ● 12 ● 14 ● 15 ● 16 ● 18 ● 20 ● 21 24 ● 25 ● 27 ● 28 ● 30 32 35 ● 36 40 ● 42 45 ● 48 49 54 56 63 64 72 81

Player Hand Play Comment
BLUE R2 R8 R4 R8L56 R4R32 R2L8
RED B3 R6 R3   The discard piles show 2 and 4, so the only claimable cells
would be 6, 12 and 24, which are all taken. Therefore red
is unable to play and loses 1 point.

 1 2 3 4 ● 5 6 ● 7 8 ● 9 10 ● 12 ● 14 ● 15 ● 16 ● 18 ● 20 ● 21 24 ● 25 ● 27 ● 28 ● 30 32 ● 35 ● 36 40 ● 42 45 ● 48 49 54 56 ● 63 64 72 81

Score running total

 RED BLUE 0 0

### Game 3

Player Hand Play Comment
RED B8 R3 B2 B2L B8R16 R3L24
BLUE RT B1 B3 B1L8 B3R3
RED R8 B7 B3 B7R7 B3L21 R8L56
BLUE RT B8 R3 B8R64
RED R9 BT B4 R9R72 B4R32
BLUE RT B2 R3 RT OB4 0R1 OBT Solid development for RED

 1 2 3 ● 4 5 6 7 ● 8 ● 9 10 12 14 15 16 ● 18 20 21 ● 24 ● 25 27 28 30 32 ● 35 36 40 42 45 48 49 54 56 ● 63 64 ● 72 ● 81

Player Hand Play Comment
RED B4 R1 BT R1L4
BLUE B2 R3 R7 B2R2 Forced
RED B4 BT R6 R6L12 Threatening 48 for 2 points!
BLUE R3 R7 RT R3L6 A safety play.
RED B4 BT R2 BT SB9 SB6 SR9
BLUE R7 RT R4 R7L14

 1 2 ● 3 ● 4 ● 5 6 ● 7 ● 8 ● 9 10 12 ● 14 ● 15 16 ● 18 20 21 ● 24 ● 25 27 28 30 32 ● 35 36 40 42 45 48 49 54 56 ● 63 64 ● 72 ● 81

Player Hand Play Comment
RED B4 R2 B9 B4R28 A new multi-point threat.
BLUE RT R4 B6 B6R42
RED R2 B9 R9 R9R63 Sets up for a 3-point win!
BLUE RT R4 R5 R5L45 R4R20 RT OB6 0R2 OB9 Threat averted for now!
RED B6 R2 B9 R2R10 B6R30 A new “open ender”
BLUE R7 B5 R8 R8R40 R7R35 B5R25
RED B9 R6 R1 R1R5 Wins 1 point.

 1 2 ● 3 ● 4 ● 5 ● 6 ● 7 ● 8 ● 9 10 ● 12 ● 14 ● 15 16 ● 18 20 ● 21 ● 24 ● 25 ● 27 28 ● 30 ● 32 ● 35 ● 36 40 ● 42 ● 45 ● 48 49 54 56 ● 63 ● 64 ● 72 ● 81

Score running total

 RED BLUE 1 0