After playing 3 games in eight hours at The Game Ranch, I was ready to get back to some lighter games. I was pleased when Parlay hit the table at Tim and Mary's. Parlay combines word games with poker. We were totally creamed by Scott who plays a lot of Poker and a lot of Boggle. Who knew "foetid" was a word? I do pretty well at the word game part of Parlay but it's hard to have a good word and also have a good poker hand.
In one hand I was pleased with my word-- "boned". Just as I announced my word, I realized I could have used the two remaining letters to play "deboned". Yes, it's a word as a quick check on wordbluff.com, the check site from the makers of Parlay. Unlike in Scrabble you can't immediately adjust your word. By the time you announce your word, you have already written your word on a piece of paper. In a good word game you tend to remember the words you didn't make and the words that you did. I still remember a 50 point bingo on all of my letters in the 80's of the word "acidhead". Timothy Leary would have been proud. Phillip will probably always remember playing "wonked" in our game only to have it challenged. It' s not in the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary or the wordbluff.com site. Scott (I think) got another 15 points for correctly calling Phillips "word bluff."
We played the Quick Deal variant of Parlay. In this version, you are dealt five cards and there are two community cards played on the table that everyone can use to form their words and poker hands. You can discard up to three cards before you form your word. If you "stay" you really bet double or nothing. Those who "fold" claim the score from the word they formed. Those who "stay" are wagering double or nothing that they will have the highest hand of all those who stayed in. You combine up to five of your cards with the two community cards to also announce your poker hand. The player with the best poker hand gets to double their word score for that hand. All players who "stay" are able to also claim a word length bonus:
* 5 letters - 15 point bonus
* 6 letters - 45 point bonus
* 7 letters - 100 point bonus
This means that having deboned would have been worth all of the points on the letters for the word plus 100 points. This would have been much higher than the 55 point word that was highest in our round taking me to 0 since I stayed and didn't have higher than everyone else. Arrgh! It was still a good game and Scott did very well followed, I think, by Mary in the scores.
The next time I play Parlay I want to try the Omaha variant at least once. In that one you are given four cards and five cards are community cards. You must use exactly two cards from your hand in making the word and exactly three cards from the community cards in making your poker hand combined with exactly two from your hand. I would also like to try the variants where all letter I's can be wild in the poker hand taking any suit and rank.
By the way, each card has a letter and a suit and rank. Some cards like Qu (which can be also played as just a Q) have higher values like 35 compared to common vowels and letters that may only have a point value of 5. I kept getting the poker values mixed up with my letters. I kept thinking I had A's, J's, K's, and Q's when I had aces and face cards instead of looking at the letters of the cards.
If you happen to play Parlay with people who don' t play poker, you can still have a lot of fun. Stay would just mean double or nothing and you'd look solely at the word value of each remaining players word and not add a poker bonus to this. Poker's hot right now so maybe this will even help you get some more people to the table who wouldn't otherwise game.
Central Texas Boardgames Meetup