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Subject: Chameleon as Last Card in Hand rss

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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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The rules state that the Chameleon card can not be played by itself -- it must be played with at least one other card, and then it becomes a copy of that card. For example, a Chameleon and a Fox becomes two Foxes.

We had a situation where a player had two Foxes and one Chameleon in his hand. He played the two Foxes to beat two Hedehogs. Everyone else at the table passed, so he claimed the pile of cards. It became his turn to lead the next hand, but all he had was a Chameleon.

Would he have to pass the lead to the next player?

Also, it just so happened that he was the lower ranked partner for that hand. Could he have displayed the Chameleon and asked his partner for help by contributing any other animal to pair with the Chameleon? I kind of think not, because I think you can only ask for help when you are trying to beat a particular combination of cards, not when you first lead the hand.
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Mavis
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Fascinating. This is just my take on this.

This was a situation that should not have arisen. His play of two Foxes was an illegal move because it would have left him with a card he could not legally lead with. He would have needed to play the Chameleon and one Fox to beat the two Hedgehogs and then led with the remaining Fox.

We never play with partners but my guess is that it would be, as you suggest, an illegal play as it would be a lead, not in response to beat a combo.
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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I agree that there are probably better strategies to ensure that you are not left with just a Chameleon, but I'm wondering what to do when someone does.
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Mavis
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I don't see it as a strategy, I think that in that situation playing two Foxes is an illegal play and the rule about the Chameleon needs to be clarified with the players beforehand so this does not arise.
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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Personally I dislike game situations where you can find out that someone broke a rule on a previous play. There's no good way to "rewind" it. Would you penalize that player somehow?

I would actually prefer this rule:

"You may not lead a round with just a Chameleon. If it's your turn to lead and all you have is a Chameleon in hand, you must pass the lead to the next player."
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Mavis
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Yes, I too do not like rewinds and your rule would work fine.

Many years ago when this situation likely came up (we have played this game over 500 times with the same 7 or 8 people) we probably ruled that the play of the two foxes would not be permissible because it would be impossible to lead the chameleon. But as it would be such a dumb play to leave yourself with just the chameleon and automatically finishing last it would just never happen (although playing with pairs it would be possible to piggyback the chameleon on your partners play). An interesting question.
 
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Peter Mumford
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why didn't he play the two foxes and the chameleon at once?
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Peter Mumford
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Mavis101 wrote:
..my guess is that it would be, as you suggest, an illegal play as it would be a lead, not in response to beat a combo.

Not illegal. Just a losing play. If you are left with just one chameleon in your hand there is no way to play it. You will have to keep passing until the round is over. Your score for the round will be zero.
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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photocurio wrote:
why didn't he play the two foxes and the chameleon at once?


You can't "overkill". You can't play 3 Foxes to kill 2 Hedgehogs.
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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photocurio wrote:
Mavis101 wrote:
..my guess is that it would be, as you suggest, an illegal play as it would be a lead, not in response to beat a combo.

Not illegal. Just a losing play. If you are left with just one chameleon in your hand there is no way to play it. You will have to keep passing until the round is over. Your score for the round will be zero.


I agree that if you only have a Chameleon in your hand, you would have to keep passing until the round is over. But the question is, what if you have to lead and you only have a Chameleon in hand? My proposal is that the person on your left would have to take over the lead, but there's no rule that talks about passing the lead in any situation.
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Pee di Moor
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randomlife wrote:
photocurio wrote:
why didn't he play the two foxes and the chameleon at once?


You can't "overkill". You can't play 3 Foxes to kill 2 Hedgehogs.


But he could have played one fox with a chameleon, and then finish his game by opening with the other fox.
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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moorwild wrote:
randomlife wrote:
photocurio wrote:
why didn't he play the two foxes and the chameleon at once?


You can't "overkill". You can't play 3 Foxes to kill 2 Hedgehogs.


But he could have played one fox with a chameleon, and then finish his game by opening with the other fox.


Yes, that would have been the better play for sure. But this was actually the player's first game. Once it got back around to him and he got to lead, he was surprised. He showed the Chameleon and asked what to do. I had to admit that I was stumped even though I've played this game dozens of times.

We decided that he just had to pass the lead to the next player in order to keep the game moving, but this situation is definitely not mentioned in the rule book.

I usually tell new players to avoid being left with a Mosquito since it doesn't beat any other animal, but at least if the lead does come around to them, they can lead with the Mosquito. The Chameleon is different in that you can't even lead with it.

I'll probably mention this to new players now, too, but I was just wondering if there's an official answer. I'm sure it's either, "You may not play cards to the trick if doing so will leave you with a lone Chameleon in hand" or "If you lead a trick and all you have is a lone Chameleon, you must pass the lead to the next player," but it would be nice to know. I personally prefer the latter and will probably play it that way unless I hear officially otherwise.
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