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Subject: A Brief Look at Parlay rss

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Huzonfirst
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Manassas
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This is a new game from the husband and wife team of Paul and Jennifer Sturgis, self-published through their own company, Real Deal Games. I saw Brian Bankler discussing this on his Tao of Gaming blog, commented there that it sounded interesting, and then received a very nice email from the Sturgises offering to send me a free copy. See, your mother was right about raising your hand in class.

Anyway, it’s an interesting mix of a word game and Poker and though the word game dominates, the Poker portion adds more than a bit of spice. The game is played with a standard 52 card deck (and two optional Jokers), except that each card also has a letter on it, along with a point value (tougher letters have higher values, as in Scrabble). Essentially, you’re trying to form the highest scoring word and the best poker hand with the cards dealt to you and the table cards available to everyone. You also have a chance to discard some cards and draw new ones; the specifics vary with the type of game played (there are about half a dozen variants listed in the rules).

Players must decide each hand whether to “Stay” or “Fold”. The former qualifies them for bonus points (including doubling your word score if you have the best poker hand), but only the player with the highest point total of those who Stayed gets to score; the other players who chose this option score zero points. Folding, on the other hand, guarantees the player will score for his word, but not any of the often lucrative bonuses. This is a pretty interesting decision and is the mechanic that makes the game work.

We played with six and it worked fine with that number. About one hand per player gives you a quick playing game that doesn’t outstay its welcome. The components are all professionally done as well. This is a nice addition to any word game lovers collection and I compliment Paul and Jennifer for a solidly crafted design. I rate it a solid 7.
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Bryan Johnson
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Nice overview of the game Larry. I have this game, but have yet to play it. I've read the rules a couple of times and it looks pretty good, but word games are not always the easiest to get to the table. Thanks.
 
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