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Subject: A couple of rules questions rss

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Steven P
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I played this at lunch the other day (and was one "clover" away from winning), and we had a couple of questions come up:

1) Are the number of cards left in somebody's hand public knowledge? The spirit of the game, trying to get away with something, says no. But the ability to strategize says yes. We decided that hand size IS public knowledge.

2) When you're discarding cards to stop a murder attempt, are you allowed to discard cards that have no clovers on them? Obviously, they don't do anything (unless they're perfect stops), but it would allow you to get them out of your hand so other players aren't counting on you to stop a murder attempt. We decided that this is allowed.

Every time I've played, it has pretty much gone the same way: everybody mostly draws cards (with the occasional character swap), but essentially no murder attempts happen until the draw pile is gone. Has anybody had success with earlier murder attempts?
 
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James Ernest
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Steven:

Yes, I guess so, and yes.

1: It's not covered in the rules but groups typically assume that they can count each other's cards in hand.

2: According to the rules, yes, players can technically discard cards with no luck. But I've never seen anyone do it. It sounds like your group were really not enjoying the game, if players were intrigued by the option to hurt themselves by discarding useless cards.

3: There are conservative groups who do not make murder attempts until the second half of the game, and there's nothing wrong with that... but you're saying that players exclusively draw cards? They don't play any? It seems like the first half of the game should be dedicated to building strength in play, not just in hand.

I have personally won the game with an early 1-point attempt, just because everyone passed to the last player, whose hand turned out to be blank. So it can happen, but I don't have any math proving it's the right thing to do.

Thanks for the questions,

James Ernest
Cheapass Games

 
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Steven P
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James,

Thanks for the quick response. A little clarification:

2) The group wasn't exploding with enthusiasm, but I wouldn't say they weren't enjoying the game. We just have a couple of people, one in particular, who is very good at looking at all the angles and finding the edge cases.

In this case, the discarding of useless cards was near the end of the game, when both of his characters had three cards played on them, and there wasn't anything to do but try to kill Dr. Lucky, and power-position himself for the win. He wanted to ditch cards with no luck (that weren't perfect stops for anybody), so nobody would count on those cards to stop somebody. I've had that bite me in the past -- oh, Steven will stop him; too bad 4 of the 5 cards left in Steven's hand have no luck!

3) I was over-simplifying when I said people were only drawing cards. Cards were being played on characters, and some characters were being traded. But most of the turns were grabbing cards (unless grabbing a card now would keep you from getting a freebie the next trip to the drawing room). But the group felt like the game was essentially "get as many cards as possible, then try to make people run out of luck on your turn", with no point to trying an early kill.

Obviously, there's more strategy to it than that (for example, I've put a couple of cards on a character, tried an early-ish kill to get spite piled on, and then traded him for somebody in the center that I had some perfect cards for. But now I want to try a first-turn kill. ;-)

Thanks,

Steven
 
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