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Subject: Jesters - what's the point! rss

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Mr Punter
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I've played a few games now with my 4 and 7 year old. So far I've left the Jester out to simplify the game slightly.

It made sense initially as it was an extra rule that was easy to keep out the game and helped with the teaching. My 7 y/o can play independently and my 4 y/o needs some prompting with the addition.

However, I was re-reading the rules on the Jester to think about adding it in to the next game, and I can't really see the point in it. To me it would be bad strategy to ever play the card.

Playing it you either:
- at best get a Queen card if the count lands on you - but the chances of this happening are at best 50% in a 2 player game or less depending on the number of players
- get a bonus card that you would have got anyway had you just discarded something - sure you get a bonus turn which is the only benefit
- or at worst give another player a Queen, which is the reverse of the best situation and in a 4-player game there's a 75% chance someone else gets a queen

The chances of giving up a Queen to another player seem way too high compared to the thin benefit of getting a bonus turn

Does anyone modify this card?

Some quick thoughts -
- get to swap a queen with another queen - so trade a 5pt for higher queen
- make a player skip a turn

Anyway for now I'm leaving it out. Interested in others thoughts, though I understand its a kids game so might be overthinking this a little...
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Jeffrey D Myers
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"Always rely upon a happy mind alone." Geshe Chekhawa.
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You might draw a King or a Dragon, which is nice when it happens!

Jesters are more useful in games with smaller player counts. Also, if it is early and you have a Jester and a Dragon, you might plan to steal the Queen if someone else gets it.
 
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Jon Gameson
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I've only ever played it two player...and the Jesters are hilarious for us. They are always preceded by the line "Risk it for a biscuit"

We've never left them out and not seen a need to edit them.

From what you've said, they provide more bonuses than drawbacks - yes in higher player games you're more likely to give a Queen to someone other than you. But in a 3 player game, you'll have the best chance of getting one (4/10 cards for you, 3/10 for each other player), and it's a similar story in a 4 player game (you'd be equal here). Either way, you're more likely to get something for you (41/67 cards in a 3 player game and 37/67 for 4 player).

The bonus card is nice, the bonus turn is even nicer - and even if it goes against you, it's not targeted and so may not cause a huge shift.

It may be worth saying that these games are between two Uni students...probably the biggest kids around!

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Mr Punter
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We've added them in - and the kids love them! There is great fan fare when they play the jesters and excitement as they count around.

I still don't 100% agree they are great strategy to play in what is usually a 4-player game for us... but, it's you know for kids...
 
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Jon Gameson
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Agreed, they're probably not the best strategy to employ if you're playing it as such...but then it's not meant to be super strategic - it's fun for adults as well as kids!
 
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Jon Gameson
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I may have gone slightly over-mathsy as well...just maybe...
 
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Dave Daffin
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TheOneEared wrote:
the line "Risk it for a biscuit"



Showing my age, whenever I get to use this similar phrase, it is "risk it for a Swisskit'

(Swisskit was a short-lived but quite tasty candy bar in the UK in the 70s!)

We use the jester in our two-player games, and they are interesting card choice early game (although too risky when your opponent only needs one Queen!).

I had three jesters in my hand in one of our games this week!
 
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Jon Gameson
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Dave in Ledbury wrote:
TheOneEared wrote:
the line "Risk it for a biscuit"



Showing my age, whenever I get to use this similar phrase, it is "risk it for a Swisskit'

(Swisskit was a short-lived but quite tasty candy bar in the UK in the 70s!)

We use the jester in our two-player games, and they are interesting card choice early game (although too risky when your opponent only needs one Queen!).

I had three jesters in my hand in one of our games this week!


A little before my time there!
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Adam Vero
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Other helpful scenarios for playing a Jester:
- other players have no Queens or only low value Queens, and you have a knight. If you get a Queen, great. If they get a Queen, you can then steal it with your knight as your extra go. (subject to dragno deployment of course)
- you have a Jester and four "defensive" cards or only numbers that don't enable a discard of more than one (ie no pairs, no equations - latter might depend on how flexible your house rules are). You want to discard more than oen to get some "churn" and pick up bonuses. Playing the Jester might give you just this opportunity, whether as a bonus you can play (plus your normal discard), or as a number that makes up a pair or equation.

(PS: only played as three player, versus my two kids)
 
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