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Subject: The gift of friendship rss

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Stephen Smith
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Jackson
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First Game: Geschenkt

Our good friends from Dallas, Jared and Becky, came into town this evening for a fishfry another friend of ours is holding tomorrow night. As is usual when we get together, games are going to be played. Before running off to get some pizza for dinner, Jared suggests this game -- a game I purchased solely on his recommendation and have yet to play. Each player has eleven chips, which can be used to pass on taking cards turned face up from a deck. If taken, these cards count as negative points. Fortunately, any runs count only for the smallest number in the sequence. The problem here is that over one quarter of the deck is removed from play, so there are gaps in the overall sequence. When you take a card, any chips that have already been paid to pass it along come to you as well. Any of these left once all of the cards are turned face-up count as positive points. We played our game for three rounds before hunger pangs forced the cessation of play.

In the first round, the 33 card came up immediately. After letting it rotate around the table a couple of times, Jared decided he would take it, along with its rather massive windfall of chips. Jared pretty much was able to pass on cards for the rest of the first round. He did end up taking a 32 and one of the higher teens before it was all said and done. Following in Jared's footsteps, I also ended up with one of the large 30 point range cards, I had hoped to put together a sequence of sorts. However, a sequence at this end of the spectrum was still going to be worth a lot of points. In the end, I ran out of chips and was forced to take a few other cards before I righted my ship again. By then, it was really too late. Christine made several abortive efforts at putting together sequences. Unfortunately, she ended up with about four sequences plus a couple of singletons. Becky proved to be the master player in the first round. She managed to only get cards in a single sequence across the mid-20's range. At the end of the round, she had something like 20 chips in hand as well, giving her an amazingly low score. The scores after one round of play:

Becky -- -2
Jared -- -35
Christine -- -51
Stephen -- -55

This time around, we let Becky be the first player. By now, Christine and I each had a reasonably good idea at how the game was played. After our awful scores in the previous round, we were not too keen on picking up too much more than we had to. I managed, through quite a bit of luck, to put together a pretty long sequence with seven at the low end. Unfortunately, I also managed to pick up the 24 card. Jared once again tried to put to together a sequence up in the 30's. However, he was never able to put his two cards together. In addition, despite the chips he picked up using this ploy, he still managed to run out. This forced him to pick up a couple of cards he otherwise would have avoided. Becky managed to put together a nice sequence in the 20's and avoided everything else except for one of the low cards (a 6 I think). Christine managed a sequence in the upper teens but was unable to connect the low end 16 to her singleton 13. Despite a somewhat more difficult round, Becky remains firmly in the lead, with the scores now at:

Becky -- -38
Christine -- -80
Stephen -- -86
Jared -- -125

That last round really put a hurt on Jared's score. Now for the third round. This time around, I managed to hold my own quite well. I took a couple of chances on cards that I might should have avoided, but I did manage to put together a couple of sequences near the end in order to really keep my score down. Jared was following right along with me pointwise this time, playing a much more conservative game. Becky and Christine, however, while picking up only a few more cards than we were, were not as fortunate in stringing together sequences. At this point, cards were not going around the table very much before being picked up. It seemed as though we were really working to keep each other from picking up a really large pile of chips. The result of this is that Becky and Christine managed to have quite a few more chips in hand at the end of this round, which helped their scores somewhat.


Final Result:

Becky -- -87
Stephen -- -123
Christine -- -128
Jared -- -162

We called the game after three rounds because it was now definitely time to eat. I was a little miffed since I didn't get a turn as the start player, but it was probably for the best. I might have really put on a load of points the next time around. At any rate, we had a lot of fun with this game. Sure, there is a LOT of luck in the game. Almost too much in fact. While you can mitigate it somewhat by sound play, how well you ultimately do will depend greatly one which cards are actually in the deck as well as when they come up. That does not bother me so much (assuming I'm not expecting otherwise), though I can see where it might not be what other people like. Despite the large amount of luck in the game, it is interesting how often I found myself wanting to more deeply consider my turn. Quite interesting. At any rate, I enjoyed the game as a light, quick, pleasant distraction and look forward to playing it again in the future. I'm certainly happy to have added it to my collection. Our total game time was about 45 minutes.

12/30/2005
 
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