We have not had a problem with our group playing this game and having fun because it is a fun bluffing game and the group mindset is to plunge right in and bluff. However I can see that some groups may have more conservative group think and the game may stagnate, because people play safe and simply play cards face up if they can as at least you make one chip. At least two separate threads mentions this; one by Ulright in the strategy section and another by...
he problem is that the incentive to pick up the piles is in part the chips placed on the piles. But this is paid by the players and so the money just continues to circulate. WIthout the money paid by the players, there would be little incentive to take risk/take piles w/ face down cards because the odds of getting positive would be about the same as getting negative.
So without the chips from the players, there's no incentive to take risk unless you are behind. But then everyone knows this and can mess with you.
So the incentive to take risk is coming from the chips the players play but that puts too much burden on the players to want to do this. They have the choice to not play face down. If you are ahead in the game it is good to place face up and continue to gain chips. If you are behind it is better to bluff but that costs you more chips...
I can certainly see why some groups the game will stagnate, but risk taking groups will not. SO why not this:
Dont pay anything to play face down, but as before you would collect one to play face up. So now it only costs you only one to place, using your reasoning.
Now, of course the payoffs on card piles are smaller and now there's less incentive to pick up a pile of cards w/ face down cards. So add the following:
The BANK will pay you one chip PER FACE DOWN CARD when you pick up a pile.
So now: you pay less to bluff, bluffing is incentivized. But the payouts for accepting a bluff remaining the same. Also you might have to increase the chips allotment from 50 to maybe 60 I am guessing.