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Special action cards for gin/word rummy

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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hi! I was wondering about what you think of the various ideas.

I've got a word game I'm testing out (this is the game which I had been thinking of tacking the scavenger hunt onto, which I probably won't do). You basically have hands of seven cards FACE UP and are trying to make one of three words your opponents can't see using a gin-rummy style of play. All players have access to a list showing the 70 possible words, and all players get a cheat sheet with a list of words with a B, words with a C, and so forth. The strategy is getting the letters for your words without making it too obvious to your opponents which words you're trying to get (so they won't discard stuff you need)!

Now if you've played gin rummy before, you know that there are several design flaws with the game. If your card has been discarded and it's not your turn, you have to wait for the deck to be reshuffled before trying to get it again. If both opponents have each other's cards, you can get a deadlock. If two players want the same card, it's basically a tossup which one will get it.

So, consider the following cards added to a normal Scrabble card distribution of letters. Suppose you are player B and the order of play goes A, B, C. B picks up A's discards. These cards may be invoked when they are discarded (they may also be discarded without performing the action).

3 REVERSE CARDS: Like in Uno. In a 2-player game, the player can go again. B may play a Reverse if he sees that C has a card he wants. This gets around the first restriction.

2 SWAP CARDS: This allows you to swap one card with one of your opponents. Generally, you take what you need and you give him a letter he already has one of to make sure he doesn't get any help. NOTE: If you decide to take a blank or special action card (namely, unusually powerful cards), the opponent can choose which of your letters he wants. This prevents the deadlock.

1 RESHUFFLE CARD: The Reshuffle card allows you to reshuffle the discard pile and place it back on top of the draw pile (recycling the same cards). This gives you an easy chance at a card you couldn't get because it wasn't your turn. The Reshuffle card is discarded as the top card of the new discard pile.

And perhaps the most interesting one:

1 RAISE THE DEAD CARD: This allows the user to reshuffle the discard pile, turn it face down, and draw 10 discards from it. The user MUST replace one of the cards in his hand with one of the 10 drawn cards whether he likes the cards or not. He may not replace a card with itself -- for instance: if he's looking for a Q and finds that he got ten E's, he can't just replace an E in his hand with a newly drawn E. It's a risk -- if he's fishing for a discarded card he missed and doesn't get it, he's going to have to give up something to acquire something he doesn't want! If he decides to take a blank or a special action card, the opponents determine which card must be put into the discard pile. After the exchange is made, the discards are turned face down, Raise the Dead is placed on top, and the game continues.

Note that Raise the Dead cannot be played unless there are 20 or more cards in the discard pile.

The difference between Raise the Dead and Reshuffle is this: Reshuffle guarantees that the card will come into play again but you may not get it, and Raise the Dead guarantees that YOU ALONE will be able to play a card, but you may not get the card you want!

I had toyed with "take anything from the discard pile" but figured out that was way too powerful.

I had also toyed with the following variation of REVERSE called RESEAT, in addition to REVERSE. When the player plays RESEAT, he can dictate the order of play at that point (which stays the same until another RESEAT is called). It's useful in games with four or more players if someone across the table from him has a card he wants.

What do you think?

Thanks in advance,


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