Mike Arlington

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This is a game for the 2012 Solitaire Print and Play contest:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/798184/2012-solitaire-print-...

So in the contest rules there is a category for best traditional card game, Decktet game, or tarot game. I had never heard of a Decktet before this point, so I decided to check it out. I am glad I did. Since finding out about it, I've purchased a deck from TGC and the Decktet book and have been having a lot of fun learning the many interesting games made for this curious set of cards.

The contest, as far as I've seen, is still lacking any games for this great system, so I am going to attempt to fill that void.

If you haven't heard about the Decktet, you can learn more here:
http://decktet.wikidot.com/
If you want a Decktet, and do not have one, you can print one out yourself or purchase one from TGC and in the process help out the creator of the Decktet, P.D. Magnus.
PnP files can all be found on the Decktet's BGG page: Decktet

Quote:
Soliterrapin is a tableau building game for the Decktet that uses the scoring rules of the Blackjack/Poker mash-up: Terrapin. While Soliterrapin involves a shuffled deck of cards, it is primarily skill based and will test your organizational skills as well as your familiarity with the Decktet's unique suit layout. It uses only the basic Decktet, so you can put aside your pawns and courts.

Begin the game, oddly enough, by shuffling the cards. Once you're done, flip the top card from the Decktet and place it on your table/floor/counter/what-have-you. Congratulations! You've just completed your first turn of Soliterrapin!

For your second turn you will once again flip the top card of the Decktet. You may place this card in any space adjacent to any other card already in the tableau (Which will currently be the only card on the table). The card does NOT need to be played next to another card that shares a suit, has the same number, or any other restriction. As long as it is adjacent to another card in the tableau, you are good to go! The town that Soliterrapin was created in has never heard of diagonals however, so those are right out. Please stick to the cardinal directions.

Continue taking turns in this fashion until you have six cards in either a straight row or column. Once this occurs, the playfield in that direction has been set and may not be expanded any further. If you're familiar with Thricewise, you should know how this works. If not, just know that the game will be completely contained in a 6x6 grid when you are complete. The first card you played may be the center, a corner, on a side, or anywhere else in this grid.

Once you have all the cards in the Decktet on your playing surface, it is time to score the game. Oh, wait. Did you make any rows or columns that are Turtle Butt? Turtle Butt is a row or column that has all six Decktet suits represented. If this happens, I'm afraid that row or column is worth ZERO points. It's harsh, I know, but it was probably your fault so don't blame me.

So with the exception of any Turtle Butt rows or columns, you might be asking yourself, how do I score all these other columns? Well, scoring in Soliterrapin works just like scoring in Terrapin, if you consider each row and column to be its own Terrapin hand:

+ Pairs are worth 5 points. If you have a pair of Aces or Crowns, each additional Ace (if you have a pair of Aces) or Crown (if you have a pair of Crowns) in the row is worth an additional 5 points. This means that three-of-a-kind is worth 10 points, four-of-a-kind is 15 points, five-of-a-kind is 20 points, and six-of-a-kind is Turtle Butt. Also, any three of a kind that is not Aces or Crowns will result in Turtle Butt, as all 6 suits will have been represented.
Pairs (and 3 or more of a kind for that matter), do not need to be placed next to each other. As long as the pair exists anywhere in the row or column, it counts.

+ Straights are worth 2 points for every card after the first. This means a two card straight is 2 points, and a 6 card straight is 10 points. It is important to note that the cards to form a straight may be played in ANY ORDER. Additionally, only the longest straight in a row or column gets scored. In case of a tie, score either one. For example, playing your cards like such in a row: 4-6-5-3-8-9 will be worth 6 points. That is for the four card straight (3-4-5-6). There is a two card straight (8-9) but it is not worth anything because of the longer straight that exists in the hand. In regards to straight scoring, Aces are considered 1's and Crowns are considered 10's.

And that is all there is to Soliterrapin!


Sample complete game:
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Mike Arlington

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Re: WIP - Soliterrapin - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Components Ready
Please let me know if you get a chance to play or have any questions about the game. The game itself is pretty simple, and I feel pretty solid. Feedback I could use is:
-Did you enjoy the game?
-Did you feel there was too much keeping track of suits for the game to be enjoyable?
-What were the scores you got when you played? I'm looking for as many data points as possible so I can build a relative scoring chart.
-I tried to make the rules enjoyable to read through. Was this the case, or was the jovial nature of them more aggravating than amusing?
-Any parts of the rules unclear?
-Have you played any Decktet games before, and if not, how difficult was it to understand this game?


Thanks!
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Kenny VenOsdel
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Re: WIP - Soliterrapin - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Components Ready
You should probably clarify that after turn 1 you may play cards adjacent to any previously played card. Seems obvious but sometimes things like that confuse people. For that matter a short sentence that you need not follow suit or play cards that make any combination would helpful as well.
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P.D. Magnus
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Re: WIP - Soliterrapin - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Components Ready
Neat! I just tried this.

My game seemed to be going so well, but the final card killed me.
Here's the final tableau:



The final card was the 7-Suns-Knots in the middle of the top row. It makes Turtle Butt in the middle column.

cznrhubarb wrote:

It is important to note that a straight must be laid out in straight order, though it may be forwards or backwards.


It doesn't matter since I got Turtle Butt, but I had that rule wrong. I was thinking of each row and column as a Terrapin hand, so I was putting together straights out of order.

I was also thinking of pairs as just having to be in the same row or column, rather than next to each other. But I can't tell from the rules whether I have that right.
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Re: WIP - Soliterrapin - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Components Ready
kvenosdel wrote:
You should probably clarify that after turn 1 you may play cards adjacent to any previously played card. Seems obvious but sometimes things like that confuse people. For that matter a short sentence that you need not follow suit or play cards that make any combination would helpful as well.

Good point! I have corrected the rules to reflect these clarifications. Thank you!

pmagnus wrote:
Neat! I just tried this.

And thank you very much for doing so! I hope you enjoyed the game. Thank you also for the tip, I greatly appreciate it. It seems you caught on to the same strategy that I use of trying to get as many aces and crowns in a row/column. It seems to be key to a high score.

pmagnus wrote:
The final card was the 7-Suns-Knots in the middle of the top row. It makes Turtle Butt in the middle column.

Yes, the games that I have lost have ended the same way. It's always that last or second to last card. Arg! I'm not sure if I like this or dislike this. It can be disheartening to lose at the last moment, but I also wanted Turtle Butt to be a serious consequence. Obviously you could card count to make sure this doesn't happen, but it's difficult to card count with the unique nature of the Decktet, and honestly, it isn't much fun. (Though I have done it once in a game of 2 player Thricewise to figure out what my opponent's last 3 cards were! =D)

Some variations I had thought of to alleviate this were:
The game only uses the first 25 cards and in a 5x5 grid, but I feel it ends up being too easy.
The last three cards of the deck are all seen at the same time and placed in any order. While this can probably stop Turtle Butt from happening most of the time, it seems like a weird fringe case in the rules.

pmagnus wrote:
cznrhubarb wrote:

It is important to note that a straight must be laid out in straight order, though it may be forwards or backwards.


It doesn't matter since I got Turtle Butt, but I had that rule wrong. I was thinking of each row and column as a Terrapin hand, so I was putting together straights out of order.

Yes, that bit was very much inspired by Thricewise. I'm not sure if it would add or detract from the game to make out-of-order straights count. Do you feel that would make it make more sense in terms of solitaire Terrapin?
I will probably give it a few tries without forcing in-order straights, as with Terrapin hand scoring straight values are on the low-ish end anyway when compared to getting 3-5 Aces or Crowns.

pmagnus wrote:
I was also thinking of pairs as just having to be in the same row or column, rather than next to each other. But I can't tell from the rules whether I have that right.

Pairs (or better) do not have to be adjacent. I just clarified this in the rules.
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P.D. Magnus
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Re: WIP - Soliterrapin - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Components Ready
cznrhubarb wrote:

Yes, that bit was very much inspired by Thricewise. I'm not sure if it would add or detract from the game to make out-of-order straights count. Do you feel that would make it make more sense in terms of solitaire Terrapin?
I will probably give it a few tries without forcing in-order straights, as with Terrapin hand scoring straight values are on the low-ish end anyway when compared to getting 3-5 Aces or Crowns.


The value for pairs and straights in Terrapin is based on the probabilities of drawing them in random 6 and 8 card hands. I don't know how the difficulties change when you are building the hands, but straights are probably undervalued if the cards have to be in sequence.
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Re: WIP - Soliterrapin - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Components Ready
I just played a game without requiring straights to be in place consecutively. I finished without Turtle Butt and scored 118.

An alternate way of handling Turtle Butt occurred to me: Have a row or column with Turtle Butt score zero (as in Terrapin) and have the whole game count as a loss if there are three or more Turtle Butt rows. This would mean that the last card could not make you lose if you'd been playing cautiously, because it could at most make its row and column Turtle Butt. It also means that a risky but potentially-high-scoring row could be zeroed out by the wrong cards, lowering your score without killing the whole hand.

EDIT: Played again and scored 132.
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Re: WIP - Soliterrapin - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Components Ready
pmagnus wrote:
I just played a game without requiring straights to be in place consecutively. I finished without Turtle Butt and scored 118.

An alternate way of handling Turtle Butt occurred to me: Have a row or column with Turtle Butt score zero (as in Terrapin) and have the whole game count as a loss if there are three or more Turtle Butt rows. This would mean that the last card could not make you lose if you'd been playing cautiously, because it could at most make its row and column Turtle Butt. It also means that a risky but potentially-high-scoring row could be zeroed out by the wrong cards, lowering your score without killing the whole hand.

EDIT: Played again and scored 132.


Hmm, perhaps you are right. A single row or column being nullified would drop the score significantly enough that someone trying for a high score would be disappointed anyway. And not having the whole game thrown away may make it easier to learn the game without the heart break of having the whole game be for naught.

I am going to play a few more rounds tonight with the out-of-order straights and see how many points I get from straights as compared to how many I get from pairs+. I may have to change the scoring so that straights are worth 3 or 4 points per card after the first to make them comparable, though I worry it could be confusing considering it would then not follow the normal scoring rules of Terrapin.

Also, 132 is pretty good! My high score so far was 136 (with in-order straights). I don't remember the exact number, but I think about only 16 points were 'straight' points though.
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Re: WIP - Soliterrapin - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Components Ready
cznrhubarb wrote:

Also, 132 is pretty good! My high score so far was 136 (with in-order straights). I don't remember the exact number, but I think about only 16 points were 'straight' points though.


Since I still have the scratch paper on which I tallied the score... robot... I got 42 points from straights. Almost half.

If you decide to require straights to be in order, then maybe pairs should have to be adjacent? Then it just becomes its own game, rather than being Terrapin square.

Except that requiring adjacency and straights in order might make it start to look like Quincunx. If you haven't tried Jack's solitaire variant of Quincunx, you should take a look at it. (It's in the book.)
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Re: WIP - Soliterrapin - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Components Ready
Oh, that's pretty good then. I'll leave the scoring as is.

I have not played Quincunx yet, multiplayer or solitaire. I will give it a try tonight!
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Re: WIP - Soliterrapin - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Components Ready
Rules have been updated in the OP. Changes are based on the suggestions given by Mr. Magnus.

- Straights can be scored out of order
- Turtle Butt only nullifies a single row or column

Additionally, I clarified in the rules that in terms of straights, Aces are treated as 1's and Crowns are treated as 10's.
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