Games, games and more games!
It was so long ago that I first played this game (back in the early 80s when the first English edition was released) that I don't rememeber particularly what I first thought of it. However my parents, keen bridge players, found it was an excellent Whist variant to play with kids and other relatives that had a bit more luck than Whist or Bridge, and scaled well to player counts that work very well for playing with extended family groups. It rapidly became a family favourite, with my grandparents and cousins all buying copies too, and I have memories of playing it at almost all family gatherings for many years.
Getting to 100 RECORDED plays
Now, I played this game so much when I was a child that we actually wore our copy out, which I should imagine took a couple of hundred plays at least from my experience with other card games. When it was reprinted in 2000 I bought ten copies and distributed them to all my extended family, and some university friends that I'd introduced it to who liked it - one of my friends went backpacking with it, and says that it was a hit almost everywhere he stopped, as Whist variants are so easy to teach other players. I only started recording plays in 2002, and despite discovering more and more eurogames, my old family favourite still comes out fairly often, although more with gaming groups now than with my family, as having kids means that almost all gaming time with my parents now is games they can join in with. Here is the plays per year anyway, since I started recording plays:
Not bad for a game that is 30 years old, and I've been playing constantly for most of that time! Definitely shows its staying power and replayability.
Nowadays I've come across so many other games, particuarly the new range of fillers, that Rage has some serious competition for its slot. It's not like ten years ago when pretty much all fillers were card games, with most of the ones I liked being Whist variants. In fact, you rarely see a Whist variant hit the table more than once a year now - with the exception of Rage. It mainly gets suggested with one particular friend, but it does come out with other groups too, and I still occasionally play with my family. I just haven't found a better Whist variant, or a light half hour card game that can be as much fun as this one - the name "Rage" is definitely very appropriate - it's a game that really can stimulate that emotion, but in a good way!
Will there be another hundred plays?
I expect there will - there's been very little drop-off in plays in recent years, and if anything plays per year are likely to go up when my children are old enough to play, as I know it's one my parents would love to share with them. It's more a case of when I hit the next hundred, than whether or not I do.
It's always great to hear about a game from someone with deep experience in it. Do you play with the Fundex or Amigo rules? Have you adopted any variants, like those discussed in this thread?:
I'm part of daily lunchtime game group at work, and we have played Rage ALMOST EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR TWO YEARS now. We mix in other games from time to time, but Rage is our game of choice. Rage really hits the sweet spot for our group, because it scales up to 8 (and even 10 in a pinch), rewards bidding skill, and elicits plenty of groans, forehead-slapping, and 'take that' moments.
Anyway, my point is that we've played Rage hundreds of times, so we know what we're talking about, when we stray from the Amigo rules as follows:
1) Do yourselves a big favor, and reverse the order of the hands
. Start with the round of 1 card, and proceed to 10. Rounds 1 through 3 are pretty much blind luck, anyway. Get them out of the way, and then play the more skillful round 4 through 10. This will keep the game closer, by giving players more opportunity to target the leader with -5s.
2) When the 'no trump' card
is played, it cancels trump for the current trick only
, then return to the previous trump color for the next trick. The Amigo rules seem to indicate that a new trump should be drawn, but that's what the 'change trump' cards are for! This is another nudge toward skill and away from luck.
3) When changing trump with the exclamation point card, we play that "Trump Must Change
". How many times have you played a change trump only to see another card of the same color flipped up? How frustrating.
4) Finally, when flipping cards to determine trump, if a 'no trump' card comes up,
we immediately begin to play as if there is no trump suit
. Until someone changes trump, of course. [groan]
Rage is a great, cheap game that should be part of everyone's collection. While it won't hit the table when 'serious' gamers gather, it's great for families or casual gamers.
Games, games and more games!
I play with the rules from the original version from the 80s. Our new copies are German, so although we could tell there were some rules differences from our knowledge of German, we didn't bother trying to translate to work out what they were - we'd played at least a hundred games with the rules as they were, didn't see a reason to change them just because a new edition had come out.
The only variant we play with is that the bids can't total the number of cards in the round. It just adds tension, and an extra element in the bidding, sa you force the last player to bid a number he really doesn't want to bid.
The first variant is the way Wizard works, and we definitely prefer the other way for Rage - it adds pace at the end rather than the start.
I definitely don't like the idea about the "no trump" card being only for one trick - often the advantage to playing it is when you want to win tricks with your big cards, and stop your opponents trumping - the second variant nullifies that.
The third variant we have discussed, but don't play with, although we did try it out briefly at one point - as long as the cards are shuffled properly it isn't an issue. We did have to stop one player shuffling, as when he shuffled clumps of colours kept coming up more than they should, as he didn't properly separate tricks from the previous round, and change trump cards became quite worthless as they were so much less likely to change trump suit.
The fourth variant again we have discussed, but not played. AGain, it's a rule that is present in Wizard.