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Subject: My Gang loved Gang of Four rss

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David Floss
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Gang of Four.

While it may be hard to believe, sometimes we find great games that you wonder how you did not think of that. Gang of Four is a perfect example of a game you could technically setup and play with a deck of common playing cards but is full of unique strategy and play that make it the kind of game you can play over and over again. It is a simpler style game from “Days of Wonder” who make some larger Board Game Titles like Memoir ’44 and Ticket to Ride.

“The GOAL”
The Goal of each game is to play down your hand of cards being the first person out of cards. Unlike traditional American style card games, each round has certain limits to what you can play.

“Mechanics”
Your hand consists of 16 cards (The rules vary slightly in a 3 person game) For simplicity I will be referring to the 4 player version). In your hand you will have a random set of cards ranging from 1-9 and possible a phoenix or dragon card.

Like suits in a common deck, each card in Gang of Four also have a color. Color represents the rank of the card when compared to other cards of the same number. There are green, yellow and red version of the numbered cards, a green and yellow phoenix and a single red dragon.

Color is very important since a player may open with 2 green “3” cards. You may not have a higher numbered pair, but if you have 2 red “3” cards you outrank the pair of threes by color.

This is also important as the single Dragon or 2 Phoenix make up the highest possible single card or pair you can play.

But won’t a full house beet your pair of Phoenix?

No. Each round the start player plays a starting hand that cab be any number of combinations or possible just a single card. Each player after the start player can only play the same total cards as the start player. You may have a flush, but if the start player plays a single Phoenix card, you can only counter with another single card (In this case a higher ranking Phoenix or the Dragon card) Otherwise you need to pass and wait until a new turn starts and a new opening hand is played.

“Aspects”
Once interesting aspect to this game is the Gang of 4. This is 4 cards of the same number and one of the highest ranking hand you can have. 4 same numbered cards (or 5,6, or 7 if you are lucky enough to get that many cards with the same number) are considered wild and only a higher “Gang” can beat them, not to mention it is very difficult to combat these when you are several rounds into a turn as you have been trying to play down your deck.

The game has some additional twists as well. In the very first round the start player is the player with the multi-colored “1” card. He must open play with this card. In subsequent rounds the start player is the person who won the previous hand.
Another twist also includes the losing player giving his highest ranking card to the winning player, who gives over a card of choice back.

There are some other elements as well to keep the game interesting like the direction of play changing with each new hand and your score being impacted by the number of cards you have left in your hand when another player goes out first. (If you have more than a few, your score is your number of cards left x2,3,4 etc…_

There is even al UNO element. If you do not announce you have only one card in your hand, you are not allowed to go out and the previous player must play either a hand with more than 1 card or their strongest single card to ensure the player with one card does not go out.

“My Review”meeple
Let me start by saying the first 3 times we played this game we played it wrong. We allowed players to play any hand that beat the first drawn. So player 1 could lay down a single card and the next player could drop a Gang of 4. based on the rules this was way off and led the game to last forever until a player finally got a hand that wiped the table and caused most other players scores to skyrocket. My fault I suppose for not reading the rules myself and going based on what other said.

READ the rules. There are several little quirks to this game which make it interesting, but even as a simpler card game, there are things easily overlooked the first time you read the rules.

My gut review is this is a fun game (having played it correctly) and makes a great “Card” night game to break up the monotony of the Poker Fad. This is a great game balancing luck of the draw with strategy on which cards and which combos you play. The more you play, the better you get recognizing when to hold back or come out strong.

Finally, the website at Days of Wonder has an online version of the game which you can try or register for if you have purchased any Days of Wonder games. Here is a great way to play other folks online or even “BOTS” and work your strategies out.

This is a very good mid length game. A bit long for a filler game which I usually hold to being 30 minutes or less. Our games (Again, with the correct rules in play) lasted about 30-45 minutes each time, with the longest one running just over an hour. Not a steal at about $15.00 US, but a good value due to high replay.
 
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John Farrell
Australia
Rozelle
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Buster Keaton from 'Go West'
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So why can't you drop a Gang of Four on a single card? I know you can't lay a 5 card combo on a single card, but I thought a Gang of Four was OK.
 
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Gwen
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You can always play a gang of 4 (or more) on any single or combination, unless the combination is already a gang of higher value than yours.
 
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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gwen wrote:
You can always play a gang of 4 (or more) on any single or combination, unless the combination is already a gang of higher value than yours.
Correct, I think David meant to say that a pair, or a full house etc. cannot be played on single.

Basically the rule is whatever combination is lead, e.g. single, pair, poker hand etc., all players must play the same combination, but higher. The only exception being a Gang of Four (or more).
 
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David Floss
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You are correct. I missed that in the review. Thanks.
 
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