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Gregg Jewell
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I am streamlining some of the rules for the next version of my game, Rivers.

I plan to add illustrations to reinforce the rules but want the rules to be as clear as possible even without them. After reading these rules do you think you would be able to properly play the game? What parts are confusing or what questions do you have? Thank you!




Players: 2
Playtime: 15 minutes
Ages: 7 and up
Components: 52 playing cards (jokers optional)

Setup
Deal 4 shared cards face up in a row between both players. Deal 4 cards to each player. Place the deck face down at either end of the row. The person that most recently ate fish goes first.

The numbered cards (A-10) are fish. The face cards and jokers are fishermen. A fisherman reduces the value of each matching (suit) fish card within the same river by 1. Jokers are wildcards so they reduce all fish cards within the same river by 1.

Sequence of Play
Start your turn by drawing a card. If the deck is empty, shuffle the cards in the discard pile to form a new deck.

Play a card below one of the shared cards.

Each of your rivers is made up of the shared card plus all your fish and fishermen below it. Whenever one of your rivers adds up to exactly 15 fish, collect that set of cards and keep it next to you. Keep each scored set separate from one another. Discard all cards your opponent played above the missing shared card. Draw a card to replace the missing shared card.

End of Game
The game ends when all cards have been played.

Both players add up the score of each set and the player with the highest total score wins! If tied, the player with the highest scoring set wins!

Card Point Values
• Each fish card is worth 1 point.
• Each fisherman is worth 1 point for every matching fish card within the same set!


Set Bonus
• If all cards in a set are the same color, double its score.
• If all cards in a set are the same suit, triple its score instead.
Jokers are wildcards.
 
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Matt D
United States
Peachtree corners
Georgia
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So, it might just be me, but it took me about ten minutes of sitting and staring and re-reading and thinking to figure this out. If I am correct about how it should be read, then I think a picture would have reduced it to literally 15 seconds. I think if that's the case, you may want to refine some of your word choices, and I'll tell you what confused me.

If I am reading it correctly, if I am sitting at a table across from my opponent:

1. We each have a hand of three cards.
2. There are four piles of cards in the center of the table, each pile containing 3 cards.
3. There is a "draw deck" off to the side that we use to refill our hands as we play our cards.

For game play:

I choose one card from my hand and place it below one of the four cards in the center row, between me and the row. I draw a card.
My opponent plays one card from hand and places it (to my orientation, above) such that it is between the center row and his/her seat. It can be any of the four, including the one where I have already played mine.

This continues until the fish total is 21, and then the person placing that card claims the source card and all cards that they themselves laid down. The opponent's cards adjacent to that source are discarded.

And so on and so forth.

I think that a photo would prevent a lot of the struggles that this description has with explaining orientation. I think the biggest source of confusion that I had was when you used the term "next to":

Quote:
Discard all cards your opponent had next to the collected river source.


In my mind, I immediately thought next to meant side to side, not necessarily above or below (which is orientation dependent). I'm not saying I'm right for thinking that over the other, just that I did and I think you could run into that issue with others. Spatial relations is such a hard thing to describe with words only.

I understand that this exercise is to see how clear you can be without including a photo; IMO, you have to be way more precise in how you describe placement if you want to be successful sans photo. I think with a photo, this is perfectly fine as written.

Unless I'm wrong in my regurgitation above.


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Matt D
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Another thought - perhaps instead of merely passing, if a player doesn't want to play a card, they can discard it to draw a new one?

I only say this because you could potentially end up at a point of stagnation - what if both players pass, and continue to do so, because they are afraid that putting down any of their cards would make it easy for their opponent to achieve 21?
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Gregg Jewell
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Thank you for the feedback. I originally used "attached to" instead of "next to" in regard to the discarded cards. The pictures will definitely help immensely.

Also, the only shared cards are the middle river sources since each player plays their cards on their own side, so there's not a way to help your opponent achieve 21. In fact, NOT playing cards while your opponent IS playing cards makes it harder to prevent them from achieving 21 by you scoring 21 first and forcing them to discard all attached cards.
 
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Matt D
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JewellGames wrote:
Thank you for the feedback. I originally used "attached to" instead of "next to" in regard to the discarded cards. The pictures will definitely help immensely.


Makes sense. What about "in line with" ?

JewellGames wrote:

Also, the only shared cards are the middle river sources since each player plays their cards on their own side, so there's not a way to help your opponent achieve 21. In fact, NOT playing cards while your opponent IS playing cards makes it harder to prevent them from achieving 21 by you scoring 21 first and forcing them to discard all attached cards.


Oh, right. Wasn't thinking about that. So what is the incentive to pass then, ever?
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Gregg Jewell
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hestiansun wrote:
JewellGames wrote:
Thank you for the feedback. I originally used "attached to" instead of "next to" in regard to the discarded cards. The pictures will definitely help immensely.


Makes sense. What about "in line with" ?

JewellGames wrote:

Also, the only shared cards are the middle river sources since each player plays their cards on their own side, so there's not a way to help your opponent achieve 21. In fact, NOT playing cards while your opponent IS playing cards makes it harder to prevent them from achieving 21 by you scoring 21 first and forcing them to discard all attached cards.


Oh, right. Wasn't thinking about that. So what is the incentive to pass then, ever?


The original intent was if you didnt want to ruins your current toals but I guess you would be playing a card you DID want if you already had a specific path set out.
 
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Tim Kieritz
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JewellGames wrote:
A fisherman reduces the value of each matching fish card within the same river by 1.


If I understood that correctly it is bad to play a fisherman because I want to reach a value of 21. That seems strange since fisherman should normally help catching fish.

I assume "matching" means the same suit. But I am not sure.

If I play a fisherman does it count for me and my opponent?

Does the fisherman only counts for the card it is adjacent to?



 
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Matt D
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Timbo_ wrote:
JewellGames wrote:
A fisherman reduces the value of each matching fish card within the same river by 1.


If I understood that correctly it is bad to play a fisherman because I want to reach a value of 21. That seems strange since fisherman should normally help catching fish.

I assume "matching" means the same suit. But I am not sure.

If I play a fisherman does it count for me and my opponent?

Does the fisherman only counts for the card it is adjacent to?





Well, we're trying to reach an exact amount and sometimes reducing some by 1 will help to make that exact amount. So:

River Source is 7 of diamonds.
I play the 8 of diamonds.
On my next turn, I play the 9 of diamonds.
That river for me now totals 24.
I play a diamond fisherman, each card loses one fish, bringing the total to 21. I scoop the pile.

At least, that is how I interpreted the rules from how they were written.
 
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Gregg Jewell
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hestiansun wrote:
Timbo_ wrote:
JewellGames wrote:
A fisherman reduces the value of each matching fish card within the same river by 1.


If I understood that correctly it is bad to play a fisherman because I want to reach a value of 21. That seems strange since fisherman should normally help catching fish.

I assume "matching" means the same suit. But I am not sure.

If I play a fisherman does it count for me and my opponent?

Does the fisherman only counts for the card it is adjacent to?





Well, we're trying to reach an exact amount and sometimes reducing some by 1 will help to make that exact amount. So:

River Source is 7 of diamonds.
I play the 8 of diamonds.
On my next turn, I play the 9 of diamonds.
That river for me now totals 24.
I play a diamond fisherman, each card loses one fish, bringing the total to 21. I scoop the pile.

At least, that is how I interpreted the rules from how they were written.


This is exactly correct. And I forgot to change the required threshold from 21 to 15. It was 21 when the game used 2 decks but lowered to 15 with only one deck. Otherwise its really hard to hit 21 when face cards lower scores instead of counting as a 10 like in Blackjack.
 
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Matt D
United States
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Georgia
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JewellGames wrote:
hestiansun wrote:
Timbo_ wrote:
JewellGames wrote:
A fisherman reduces the value of each matching fish card within the same river by 1.


If I understood that correctly it is bad to play a fisherman because I want to reach a value of 21. That seems strange since fisherman should normally help catching fish.

I assume "matching" means the same suit. But I am not sure.

If I play a fisherman does it count for me and my opponent?

Does the fisherman only counts for the card it is adjacent to?





Well, we're trying to reach an exact amount and sometimes reducing some by 1 will help to make that exact amount. So:

River Source is 7 of diamonds.
I play the 8 of diamonds.
On my next turn, I play the 9 of diamonds.
That river for me now totals 24.
I play a diamond fisherman, each card loses one fish, bringing the total to 21. I scoop the pile.

At least, that is how I interpreted the rules from how they were written.


This is exactly correct. And I forgot to change the required threshold from 21 to 15. It was 21 when the game used 2 decks but lowered to 15 with only one deck. Otherwise its really hard to hit 21 when face cards lower scores instead of counting as a 10 like in Blackjack.


Ok. Thanks for the clarification - I was thinking that 21 would be a challenge to get to. 15 makes way more sense.
 
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Gregg Jewell
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Updated rules with feedback. Thanks again for help.
 
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