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Subject: Rum & Koala, a Decktet variant of Rummikub rss

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Ralph T
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After some further study of the Decktet I think the double suits on most cards make it quite appropriate to play a variant of the brain burner Rummikub.

Rum & Koala is a rummy game where you play melds from your hand and manipulate melds in the playing area. The goal is to be the first person out.

Number of players: 2 to 4. Two decks are recommend to reduce stalemates with four players.

Setup: Shuffle the deck. There are three option for the Excuse card(s): (1) Standard: Keep them in the deck as wild card, (2) Hardcore: Set them aside to decrease luck and increase difficulty, or (3) In between: Place them at the bottom of the deck.

Deal out 7 cards per player.

Gameplay
Players take turns either playing a meld, playing at least one card after their first turn playing a meld, or drawing a card.

On a player's first turn, they must play one or more meld. A meld consists of three or more cards which is either a straight (consecutive numbered cards) sharing a single suit, or a three of a kind (number) of different suits.

After a player has played their first meld, they may play additional cards from their hand, either adding them to existing melds (i.e., cards with the same suit and a higher or lower could be added on either end of a straight), or manipulate the melds by moving cards within the meld.

The rule when moving cards, is cards in the playing area must remain legal melds: straights of three or more with the same suit, or three of a kind in number (no suit being repeated).

If a player cannot play a card (or meld on the first play), they must draw a card. If a player tries manipulating a meld on the playing field and cannot succeed in playing a card their turn, the player must take three cards.

The winner is the person who runs out of cards first.

Special rules for the Decktet:

Crowns are considered 10s.
Pawns are considered 1s.
Straights may wrap around. In otherwords, you could play a 9, 10 (crown) and pawn, 2 and so on.
The Excuse is a true wild card.
Aces are wild cards of that suit. They can substitute for any number in a straight or three-of-a-kind. They may be used in a three of a kind--but they must be of a different suit than the other number.

Once a wild card is in a meld, the wild card cannot be moved unless a player plays the card that the wild card represents.

For example, if a meld on the playing area was snake 2, 3, wild, 5, while a player could legally move either the 2 or 5 to create a different meld), the wild could not move unless a 4 snake card were played in its place.

Scoring:
The round ends when one player has no cards left in her hand. The winner of the round scores the total of the point value of cards remaining in other players' hands. All other players score a negative score equal to the value in their hand.

Aces are valued at 10 points. The excuse left in a players hand is valued 25 points.

If the players exhaust the draw deck and each player passes with cards left in their hand, the game ends in a stalemate. Each player loses points equal to the cards left in their hand.

Players can continue playing to a set number of rounds or until someone reaches X number of points.

Your playtesting comments are appreciated.

FAQs:
1. Can you lay down as a meld consisting three wild cards (aces and/or the Excuse), as they could technically be three of a kind (all different suits)?
No, you can have at most two wild cards in a three of a kind--otherwise players cannot tell what card can be used to manipulate and free the wild card.

2. Can I create a meld of 4, 5 or 6 crowns?
Yes. Three of a kind or more is allowed, so long as the suits do not duplicate. More than 3 of a kind is possible only with crowns.

3. Can I create a 3 or 4 of a kind with pawns?
No. Three of a kind pawns would duplicate suits. Sorry, pawns are easier to dispose of in straight melds, so they can't be used for three of a kinds.
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P.D. Magnus
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I wish you luck with this one. Bharg Deluxe was my own attempt to make a big rummy game for the Decktet. I haven't done anything with it in a while, because it always seemed to take too much concentration for the amount of fun it delivered.
 
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Ralph T
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I played this three times by myself, twice with two players and once with three. Rummukub is one of my wife's favorite games so I have racked up a lot of plays.

I felt the game has the potential to be better than Rummikub with two players and possibly three, since Rummukub takes so long before a player can go out. It ends quickly and surprisingly. I'll try to play with a live opponent soon for more results. Hope you can try it out P.D.
 
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P.D. Magnus
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One quick question: Why put Pawns between Crowns and 2s, rather than between 9s and Crowns?
 
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Ralph T
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I put pawns as 1s since pawns look like 1s, and pawns are the one value piece from chess. Putting them between 9s and crowns would be hard to remember, especially since crowns are intuitively the 10 card. Something's got to be the 1--when the aces are wilds (and it's really easy to visualize them as wilds when they are laid next to cards of matching suits).
 
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P.D. Magnus
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ralpher wrote:
I put pawns as 1s since pawns look like 1s, and pawns are the one value piece from chess. Putting them between 9s and crowns would be hard to remember...


The standard interpretation is that the order of extended deck cards is ...9, Pawns, Courts, Crowns. The symbols for the Pawns, Courts, and Crowns form a progression of one, two, and three dots.

And the Aces are already 1s.

Of course you are welcome to do whatever you like in your game, though.
 
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