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Katzenjammer Blues» Forums » Variants

Subject: Joker Variant rss

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Guy Riessen
United States
Sebastopol
California
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We played at least 20 hands of this over the weekend using the following variant which works to add Joker pressure to every play with them. With the rules as written (which are fun mind you, this is truly just a variant, not a "fix") once someone has a couple jokers down, it frees everyone else to play 1 Joker effectively for free.

In this variant, you will be returning 1 mouse for every Joker in your stack at the end of the round (including those in your hand). This means there are no "free" jokers and you must always weigh the cost/benefit--a meld of 2s that use 1 Joker, will only net you 1 point. On the other hand, you also have to weight the use of the joker-meld (4 jokers) as rid-your-hand of them, or as a meld of 5 (which nets you 1 point) and uses up 5 mice--the 5 mice meld can be important in mutliplayer games where you are tracking total mice. In those games you may well be trying to seal a loss which loses you only a mouse or two and the 5-mice joker meld is good for running out the mouse total (though not so good if there are only 4 or fewer mice left in the pot).

It's a fun variant that changes play just slightly without upsetting Knizia's razor-edge balance.
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Houserule Jay
Canada
Mississauga
Ontario
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Before seeing this the "free jokers" also kinda bothered me and as you say it works perfectly as there is still good angst surrounding them, however I had the same idea as you that they should be worth 1 each and whoever has the most gets automatic - 5. The questions becomes then, what if the person with the most has 7 jokers, -7? This would be my thought (haven't tried yet though)

Maybe you are doing away with the -5 altogether, I kind of think it should stay there

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