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Subject: Joker Marbles, cheat for the win rss

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Jeremy Wedel
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Joker Marbles is a marble race game that, like many other games, inherits much of it's mechanics from Pachisi and it's offspring Aggravation.

As in Aggravation, the players race their five marbles around the board in an effort to get to their goal first. Players can land marbles on their opponent's to send them home. Passing a marble of the same colour is not allowed.

Instead of relying on dice or seashells for player movement, Joker Marbles uses a couple of decks of playing cards to determine the movement of the marbles. A hand of 5 cards to allows for much more strategic play than a pair of dice. Here are the actions of each type of card:

Face - 10 or moves a marble from home onto the track
Ace - 1 or moves a marble on to the track
2-6 - played to move a marble that number of places.
7 - can be split 1+6, 2+5, 3+4, 7
8 - moves a marble backwards 8
9 - must split, moves one marble back and the other forward a total of 9
Joker - move one of your marbles to an opponent's spot, sending their marble home.

The only marbles safe from the attack of a joker are the ones already in the goal area.

The key strategy for this game is to cheat.
That is, try to move as few marbles around the board as possible. Instead, take shortcuts with extensive use of the 8 and 9 cards. A marble fresh from home can be moved backward by playing an 8. This play leaves the marble only 3 places from entering the goal. The 9 card can be used to similar effect. The 9 is split between two marbles, one moving backwards to the goal or further, and a different marble moving 1-4 spaces forward. Jokers can also be held in reserve to steal an opponent's hard-earned position.

Joker Marbles works well with two players, but it really shines in the chaos of a four player game. The added risk of being jumped-on adds to the excitement. As much as this game allows for some strategy, it's still light enough that it can be learned quickly and can be played while carrying on a banter of conversation and table-taunts

BGG rating 7
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