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Subject: Haggis - Updated Rules (Last Changed Oct. 4, 2008) rss

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Sean Ross
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A PDF of the latest version of the rules can be found in the file section

Simpler Is Better

Following Zhubu Shengji's addition to the BGG database, I've started getting some feedback from people who've tried the game (Thanks everybody). The most consistent piece of constructive criticism has been on the complicated appearance and utility of the scoring system. The arithmetic was less friendly than it could be (lower numbers would help). Several people have also suggested changing the card ranks that I was using (6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,A,2,X), citing discomfort with having the 2 rank above the Ace (or even with having the Ace rank above the King in some cases - go figure...). Simplifying the rules by removing the waffling nature of supporting so many variants was also brought up more than once. In other words, people have started to help me see that, despite the game appearing very transparent to me (well, obviously...), to other people the game seemed needlessly complex. Or, as Chris Beaven put it, " systems shouldn't get in the way of fun". I agree.

There's a design pattern in Computer Science called a Facade, a wrapper around the inner workings of a complex system that helps make things easier to use and understand. This system needed a facade. And, thanks to Chris' help and his convincing arguments (he used my own arguments to bolster his position...), it now has one. Note that the game itself hasn't really changed, it's just had a bit of a makeover and bought a better fitting wardrobe. The pressure being exerted by the new scoring system is almost identical to what was happening with the older "scarier" looking version.

One thing you may notice by its absence, is the bidding variant. I've decided that unless or until I'm confident that it works, I'm pulling it out of the main rules. I will be leaving the bidding rules in the older rules thread, in case anyone out there would like to keep using it or try it and, hopefully, send me some feedback. I think that the bidding process is what I want (you bid on the number of cards you'll leave opponent holding, and trailing player need only match previous bid), but I'm not as happy with the scoring. There are a few constraints I've chosen to force onto the scoring: the highest combined score (for bidding 17, leaving opponent with 17 cards, and capturing all point cards) must not exceed 40% of the game ending score; the bidding rewards need to encourage bidding at the lower end of the scale, but should not over reward on the higher end (I don't want to give a pile of points to players because they just happened to luck out and get a monster hand); the risks associated with bidding need to be high enough to make higher bids produce higher tension, but not so high as to discourage bidding altogether. If anyone out there thinks they have a solution, please send me a geekmail - I would sincerely love to know the answer. Having that extra bit of tension in place, that the bidding game can bring, is something I would very much like to see happen. I'm working on it. If it can be made to work, then it may be made available again as an advanced version of the main rules.

Update: I've decided to abandon the idea of tying bidding to the number of cards your opponent will be left holding, and have instead adopted the simpler Tichu-type bidding/betting: before you get your 9th card (or 12th, if you're counting the 3 wild cards), you can bet 30 points that you'll go out first; after that, if you haven't already bet or played any cards, you can bet 15 points. If you fail, the points bet go to your opponent. Both players can make a bet. Bets don't change who gets the lead - the trailing player leads. To accommodate bidding, the game ending score has been raised to 360 points, or 12 hands. Oh, and I've also raised the card point value of the King from 4 points to 5 points. There is an updated player aid and rules PDF in the file section.

Rather than post the updated rules to the original thread and ruin any continuity for posts referencing aspects of the old rules, I've decided to make a fresh start. And, continuing with that fresh start, I've also decided to change the name. Zhubu Shengji just doesn't work for me. I don't know if the name I'm choosing to replace it with is super-fantastic or whatever but, hey, I like it....



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Sheamus Parkes
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What happens to the last cards played?

Actually, I don't even know for sure what happens to the last cards played in Tichu. I suppose I should go look that up. Fewer point cards in Tichu so it seldom matters.
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Sean Ross
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Good catch! The last cards are kept by the person who played them. Or, more precisely, all of the cards in that trick are kept by the person who played them.

I noticed in the Tichu thread that you mentioned you'd feel cheated in that game if you weren't given the opportunity to win that last trick; without getting into that argument (We play that the third player out keeps the trick, btw) I can say the situation is a little different in Haggis as the number of cards left in the opponent's hand when you play your last card matters. They shouldn't be allowed to shed further cards after you've emptied your hand; you've worked hard to leave them holding those cards. Since they can't shed further cards, it's as though they've been forced to pass and passing gives the trick to the person who played last.
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Sheamus Parkes
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Thanks for the answer Sean. I'll have to give Haggis a go with the missus at some point.


For what it's worth, I read the rules in the first edition of this game and was turned off by the complicated scoring. I just read the Haggis rules and am actually excited to try it. So for me, the changes were all for the better.
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Sean Ross
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Isamoor wrote:
Thanks for the answer Sean. I'll have to give Haggis a go with the missus at some point.
Cheers!
Quote:
For what it's worth, I read the rules in the first edition of this game and was turned off by the complicated scoring. I just read the Haggis rules and am actually excited to try it. So for me, the changes were all for the better.
Thanks for letting me know. That's been the consensus from feedback I've had on the scoring change but hearing it again always helps quiet any misgivings I've had since making the decision.
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