Another Adlung score is Bambuti. In my book, better than Lost Cities and better than Schottentotten.
Bambuti was introduced to me recently and I liked it well enough to order a copy. Trouble is, we were playing with the wrong rules! I won't mention who made this horrible error of misinterpreting the rules, but I will tell you that our own Dave Rapp has come down with that dreaded malady, Rapp-Newman-Levy-Kurzban syndrome.
The deck has five suits of beautifully illustrated masks numbered from 1 to 10. These are shuffled and five are dealt to each player. The players place them in a row facing each other (but face down) with the high card in the middle and the two cards on either side a higher number than the card at the end. Thus, a good setup would be 3-6-8-4-1. With the same five cards, you could also place 1-3-8-6-4. As long as the high card is in the middle and the cards drop in value as you go out from the middle. Then the cards are flipped and those opposite each other are "valued", using five other special "scoring" cards that have been cut to fit the arrangement.
The rules state that the card with the higher number scores the difference between the two and the smaller card scores its own number. Thus, if a 9 was opposite a 2, the 9 would score 7 and the 2 would score 2. The net is 5 and the scoring card would be placed so that the 5 faced the scoring player.
In fact, Nick Sauer has revealed that all one need do is double the lower card and subtract the difference to find the winner's score. Works for me!
After the five "values" are established, each player is dealt a hand of seven cards and the fun begins. Note: nothing has actually been scored yet, just VALUED.
On his turn, a player may play a card on his own tableau, but must follow the rules which state highest in the middle, next lower, outside lowest. You can also play on the opponent's tableau if you play the SAME color card. One can NEVER play the same number as that on the opposite side. Them's the rules!
Everytime a card is played, the "values" can change radically. For instance, using the example before of 9 opposite 2, the player with the 9 nets 5 points (9-2*2). If the player with the 2 then places an 8 on his side, we will score 7 points (9-2*8=minus 7)!
When cards of the same color face each other, the "values" are reversed. In the above example, the 9 would score 7, not the 2.
When a player places his card, he draws another.
There are only two ways in which the score cards are actually tallied and scores written down. Each player receives two Drum cards. On his turn, a player can also play a Drum and then *both* players score the totals shown on the score cards. The other method is by what is called Symmetry. If the colors of your tableau read the same left-to-right as right-to-left, both players tally the scores on their score cards.
When each player has only 4 cards remaining, the game ends.
I find that Bambuti has a surprising amount of depth and after several games, I cannot formulate a game breaking strategy. I think I'm beginning to see how the game should be played, where I can set myself up and so forth, and just the exercise of thinking all of this out has become quite an adventure.
There are some very tough decisions and seemingly ample opportunity to think about strategies and tactics.
For $6 or $7, you can't go wrong with this one. This one's an 8, and will remain an 8 if it stays as much fun a couple of months from now. I can't see it dipping down below a 7 unless someone finds a way to break the game.