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Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper» Forums » Rules

Subject: More Rules Confusion: What cards score negatively?? rss

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Gary Bradley
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I am referring to the situation when a player has gone out, and the Ripper is caught. The rules are extremely bad at describing what cards left in your hand score against you, and which do not. The example in the rules is all over the place, so I will ignore it here. I am working on the basis that cards which you could currently play but didn't do NOT count negatively.

This would mean that ANY evidence cards in your hand which match a meld in play do not count, yes?

What about wild evidence cards?

What about holding an entire meld of 3 or more cards for a suspect when there are no other melds for that suspect in play? In theory I could have laid the meld down (there is a Victim in play, obviously), and thus they do NOT score against me, yes? Rules are especially vague on this one and seem to suggest they would be negative scoring for some reason.

What if I hold 2 matching Evidence cards and 1 wild card and there are no melds in play that match.

What if I hold a full meld AND a matching Suspect card for a given Suspect, and there are no other melds for him/her in play. In theory I could have played ALL these cards in one turn, so therefore none of them count against me?

Thanks!!


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John Earles
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From my rules. RIPPER IS CAUGHT - SCORING:

3. If you are not the one who went out and have cards remaining in your hand, you must look at your hand and subtract from your point total any card that could not be played on an existing meld. Any cards that could have been played are set aside and do not figure in scoring. Scenes, Victims, and the Ripper Escapes cards in your hand are always subtracted from your score when the Ripper is caught. (This rule allows you to strategically hold cards that could be played to help the suspect you want to be the Ripper).

--

>> I am working on the basis that cards which you could currently play but didn't do NOT count negatively.

As long as there is an existing meld in play, yes. Scenes, Victims, and the Ripper Escapes always could against your score.

>> This would mean that ANY evidence cards in your hand which match a meld in play do not count, yes?

Correct.

>> What about wild evidence cards?

As long as there is a meld down you can set these aside.

>> What about holding an entire meld of 3 or more cards for a suspect when there are no other melds for that suspect in play? In theory I could have laid the meld down (there is a Victim in play, obviously), and thus they do NOT score against me, yes? Rules are especially vague on this one and seem to suggest they would be negative scoring for some reason.

They would be negatively scored as there was no meld in play.

>> What if I hold 2 matching Evidence cards and 1 wild card and there are no melds in play that match.

No matching meld in play; you lose points.

>> What if I hold a full meld AND a matching Suspect card for a given Suspect, and there are no other melds for him/her in play. In theory I could have played ALL these cards in one turn, so therefore none of them count against me?

It doesn't matter what you could have done, if there is no meld played you lose points.

>> Thanks!!

I hope this helped.
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Gary Bradley
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Ah, I seemed to miss the "added to a meld in play" clause.

So, final question then, if I hold a Suspect card does it count against me if there is a meld of evidence against him/her in play? Since technically, you do not add the Suspect to a meld nor lay him off to one, I'm wondering if a Suspect card counts the same as an evidence card. Same question I guess applies to Alibi cards, for the same reason.
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Billy McBoatface
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About suspects and alibis - I remember looking that up in one of our first hands, and they are like evidence. If the suspect or alibi matches a meld *already in play* then you put them aside and do not subtract them from your score.
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Stephen Smith
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wmshub wrote:
About suspects and alibis - I remember looking that up in one of our first hands, and they are like evidence. If the suspect or alibi matches a meld *already in play* then you put them aside and do not subtract them from your score.

According to the rules only cards that can be played onto already existing melds may be ignored. Only evidence cards can be played onto melds -- gavel cards cannot. Thus suspects and alibis will always count against you.
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Billy McBoatface
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seppo21 wrote:
According to the rules only cards that can be played onto already existing melds may be ignored. Only evidence cards can be played onto melds -- gavel cards cannot. Thus suspects and alibis will always count against you.

Check again (all quotes are from the rules in the second edition of the game):
rules wrote:
Any cards that could have been played are set aside and do not figure in scoring. Scenes, Victims, and the Ripper Escapes card in your hand are always subtracted from your score when the Ripper is caught.

Note no mention of "meld cards." Also note that when it lists card types that always count against you, it does not say "gavel cards," instead it lists several specific card names.

Later, there is an example:
rules wrote:
When counting points for each player at the table, anyone with Jill the Ripper cards left in their hand would set them aside. They do not count against you since they could have been played on the table (but they don't gain you any points either).

However, if you had 3 Dr. Pedachenko Evidence cards and a Dr. Pedachenko Alibi card left in your hand, you would have had to subtract 9 points from your score since there were no Dr. Pedachenko melds on the table in our example.
Here it doesn't say "Jill evidence" cards, just "Jill cards," and note that the Pedachenko Alibi card is described as counting against you "...since there were no Dr. Pedachenko melds on the table."

It seems pretty clear that anything in your hand that could be played on the meld on the table, which means Evidence, Alibi, and Suspect cards, count as zero if a matching meld is in play at the end of the hand.
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Stephen Smith
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Quote:

Check again (all quotes are from the rules in the second edition of the game):
rules wrote:
Any cards that could have been played are set aside and do not figure in scoring. Scenes, Victims, and the Ripper Escapes card in your hand are always subtracted from your score when the Ripper is caught.

Note no mention of "meld cards."

Let's at least look at the entire rules quote instead of only part of it. The sentence before what you quote above is:

rules wrote:
If you are not the one who went out and have cards remaining in your hand, you must look at your hand and subtract from your point total any cards that could not be played on an existing meld.

Note the explicit mention of "meld cards" (conveniently bolded by me for easier location). Note, this explicitly states that all cards that cannot be played onto existing melds count against you. Since your quote follows this initial statement, the cards that "could have been played" must refer to cards that could have been played on existing melds. The question at this point simply becomes, "What cards can be played on melds?" More on this later.

Quote:
Also note that when it lists card types that always count against you, it does not say "gavel cards," instead it lists several specific card names.

This statement really has no bearing on the discussion. It is simply an explicit, factual statement consistent with the first two sentences of the paragraph. That certain cards are explicitly named as always counting against you does not imply that there are not other cards that also will always count against you.

Quote:
Later, there is an example:
rules wrote:
When counting points for each player at the table, anyone with Jill the Ripper cards left in their hand would set them aside. They do not count against you since they could have been played on the table (but they don't gain you any points either).

However, if you had 3 Dr. Pedachenko Evidence cards and a Dr. Pedachenko Alibi card left in your hand, you would have had to subtract 9 points from your score since there were no Dr. Pedachenko melds on the table in our example.
Here it doesn't say "Jill evidence" cards, just "Jill cards," and note that the Pedachenko Alibi card is described as counting against you "...since there were no Dr. Pedachenko melds on the table."

This is quite interesting as the same example in the original rules explicitly states Jill the Ripper Evidence cards. (More on this oddness later.) While this certainly explains why people seem to want to play that way, if I were to come across an example and a rule that appeared to contradict each other, I would give more weight to the rules than the example. Clearly you do not agree with that assessment. At any rate, I see no reason to deliberately choose to interpret this example counter to the stated rules. Clearly evidence cards are implied here as gavel cards cannot be melded (more on that later).

At any rate, regarding the Pedachenko cards, it states that you subtract 9 points because there are no Pedachenko melds in play not, as you state, that the alibi card counts against you because there are no melds. The (original) point of the illustration is that you could not claim the evidence cards in your favor even though you could form a meld with them (as the disposition of the alibi card was never in question). Thus, if there were a meld already in play, the evidence cards would not count against you, but you would still lose the three points due to the alibi card (which cannot be melded).

Quote:
It seems pretty clear that anything in your hand that could be played on the meld on the table, which means Evidence, Alibi, and Suspect cards, count as zero if a matching meld is in play at the end of the hand.

As I mention before, it all comes down to what constitutes a meld. You clearly state that you believe Alibi and Suspect cards are played onto melds. Fortunately for us, the new edition of the rules is quite explicit on whether these cards are played onto melds.

Summary of Play (page 1):

rules wrote:
(Gavel cards do not meld.)

Under Gavel Cards, second paragraph (page 3):

rules wrote:
Gavel cards are played alone, not in melds.

Under Ripper Escapes Game, Gavel Cards, middle of second paragraph (page 4):

rules wrote:
Gavel cards are played alone, not in melds.

Under PLAY (page 7):

rules wrote:
Gavel cards:... Gavel cards are played alone, not in melds.

From the glossary (page 10):

rules wrote:
Meld: A group of three or more Evidence cards of the same color. Gavel cards do no meld.

That's five explicit statements that Gavel cards do not meld. In fact, only evidence cards are ever referred to as being part of a meld and this is done consistently throughout the rules. Gavel cards are never referred to as being part of a meld and in fact are consistently referred to as being "played" onto the table or into Scotland Yard. Your entire argument rests on interpreting an example counter to the explicitly stated rules and using terminology inconsistent with the rest of the ruleset.

Back to the oddness surrounding the deletion of the term Evidence from the Jill the Ripper example. In the original rules, there was no explicit statement that the gavel cards were not melded. They were, however, always referred to as being "played" with only evidence cards referred to as being melds. The closest the original rules came to an outright statement was in the Glossary under meld where it was stated that it was made up of Evidence cards. That they went through the trouble to make it crystal clear that Gavel cards are not part of a meld and then (apparently) remuddied the water with the Evidence deletion is baffling to me.

One final note, the rules I quote above are all from a set copyrighted 2003. I assume they are the second edition.







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Ralph H. Anderson
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William is correct and Stephen you are not.

I was a playtester for the game and continue to play Jack regularly. Cards that would play on a meld would include Evidence, Alibi and Suspect cards. If Letters is in play and you have the last Letters in your hand it also would not count.

One technical point on what William said. You mentioned that as long as any meld is in play the wild evidence card would not count against you. That should be only any suspect melds in play - not letters. You will note that the brown color of letters is not on the wild evidence card so it can never be used with letters. Of course, if someone goes out there will be a suspect in play for it to lay off on.

The really simple thing to do is just match colors for the suspects and if you have matching colors in your hand to what is on the board, then they do not count against you. Victims, Scenes and The Ripper Escapes always count against you (matching scene or victim on the board or not)

Hope that helps!
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Stephen Smith
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Quote:
William is correct and Stephen you are not.

So is your contention that the rules as written are incorrect? They seem awfully clear in their statements that gavel cards don't meld.
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Billy McBoatface
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seppo21 wrote:
Quote:
William is correct and Stephen you are not.

So is your contention that the rules as written are incorrect? They seem awfully clear in their statements that gavel cards don't meld.
Stephen, it seems to me that the rules are vague (but to my reading lean towards my interpretation), but the example is pretty clear that the alibi wouldn't count if there had been a Pedachenko meld had been in play. I wouldn't say that the rules are incorrect, just not as clear as they could be.

In any case, this must be karma coming back to me. Just two days ago in a rules discussion about Fairy Tale, the owner of Z-Man Games said my rule interpretation was incorrect; so today things are balancing out!

Thanks for clarifying, Ralph.
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Ralph H. Anderson
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My pleasure William! This is one of my favorite games. (Full disclosure - Mike, the designer, is a good friend of mine.) I helped Demo this game at many conventions when it first came out and I know I have played hundreds and hundreds of hands and it still satisfies.

Although I tend to be a bit of a "rules lawyer" myself, in my many years of gaming I have come to learn that the best approach is to understand what the game is trying to do and interpret difficult parts of the rules with that in mind. It also helps if there are examples, and William, you made good use of that in the example of the Alibi card and so were able to come to the correct understanding of what is going on.

I hope you all enjoy the game!

Ralph
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Mike Sherwood
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Quote:
3. If you are not the one who went out and have cards remaining in your hand, you must look at your hand and subtract from your point total any card that could not be played on an existing meld. Any cards that could have been played are set aside and do not figure in scoring.


My real question is focused on the last sentence:
Quote:
Any cards that could have been played are set aside and do not figure in scoring.


Here's the questionable scenario:

P1's turn: Holding 2 orange cards. No orange meld exists. P1's turn ends.
P2's turn: Plays an orange meld, and in the process goes out.

It seems that in this case, the P1's orange cards count as zero (because of the first sentence regarding 'existing meld'), but the intention of the rules seem to me that they should be negative -- P1 was holding cards he could not play.

Especially with the caveat from the rules:
Quote:
This rule allows you to strategically hold cards that could be played to help the suspect you want to be the Ripper.

Thoughts?
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Ralph H. Anderson
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P1's score is zero. At the time the game ends, there is an orange meld in play, so any cards playable on the orange meld held in hand do not count against the player.

The check is made after play has ended. Any cards that are playable at that time do not count. So although they were not playable on his turn, after P2 goes out they are "playable".

Many times the only negative points are for scenes, victims and the Ripper in hand.

Hope this helps!
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Mike Sherwood
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Excellent! Thanks!
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Re: More Rules Confusion: What cards score negatively?? Double-Alibi
Hi there,
I have just got this game, and I fully understand these rules as described above, however there is no mention about the "Double alibi" card.
Please can you clarify that if either of the (I think it is) orange or yellow melds are in play (not both, but either of them) then it would count for 0 points, as it 'could' have been played. Obviously if both were out, then it definitely counts as 0 points, but please could you confirm if it counts zero when only one is out.
 
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Billy McBoatface
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I'm not sure why you would think both must be out. As you point out, the card could be played with either out, and the rules simply state that cards that could be played count for 0 points.
 
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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I think the rules could have been a lot clearer on this point, because I found myself thinking along the same lines as Stephen.

It's misleading for the rules to say, "Any cards that could have been played are simply ignored." I think they should have just left wordings like that out of the rules. If you end up with a Victim in your hand, you do lose points, even though you could have played it on your turn. So I don't think "could have been played" or "could not have been played" are the real determinants.
 
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Stephen Smith
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It's interesting that the newest edition of the rules drops the language about scoring cards that can be placed on melds in favor of stating simply that cards that could not have been played must be scored against you. However, that is apparently not what they really mean as the example requires you to count a set of three unplayed evidence cards against you, even though they could have been played.

After all these years and editions, you would think they would simply say cards that match evidence cards in play don't count against you. (Since that seems to be what they mean.)
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