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Subject: The Mercy Rule rss

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John Farrell
New South Wales
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Averagely Inadequate
Buster Keaton from 'Go West'
After a rousing game of Himalaya, Kevin pulled out one of his favourite games, Frank's Zoo. I had read about this game on the 'geek, but always got it confused with O Zoo le Mio, and consequently had no idea what it was about. I had it in my mind that it was a kids' game, but that is completely not true.

Players: Werner, Bertie Beetle, Kevin, John

On the surface, it is a funny game. Blue fish eat red fish eat mosquitoes, elephants are scared of mice, and a mosquito can pretend to be an elephant. But at its core, it's a serious climbing game in the vein of Gang of Four (and Tichu, I'm told). With the hierarchy drawn on the cards, it can be a bit confusing, and with the two ways of upping the bid and the circularities in the hierarchy, it can be very confusing. That's my justification for coming last in the first hand.

We then introduced the lions and hedgehogs rules, as if I didn't have enough to worry about. I could at least understand those (except I kept forgetting I needed two lions) and I played a couple of decent hands. I also got badly beaten when I played two orcas and someone played three orcas to beat it. I was not expecting that at all. Anyway, my struggle in last place was really quite irrelevant compared to what was happening at the front of the scoreboard.

Werner passed 19 points, and 3 hands later nobody else had passed 19 points still. Another table broke up was looking to start a new game, so in order to cross-pollinate with them, we invoked a mercy rule which game Werner the game.

Score: Werner 29, Bertie 14, Kevin 9, John 10.

To be fair to Kevin, he had been ahead of me most of the game but managed to get shafted without any hedgehogs or something and lost ground right at the end. Anyway, Werner thrashed us. It's quite a decent game, and I think my wife will like it, so it goes on the wish list.
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