Players: Brandon, Chris, Ed, Nick
And why were we playing this?
It appears I didn't learn my lesson from the previous week. So, again, I decided to have the game table already set up with a game before my friends arrived. Riverboat Showdown was yet another one of those bargain games on my shelf that had yet to be played. I need to weed out some unplayed games on my shelf. That shelf needs to have games that people are willing to play. If no one likes them, they're outta here! Thus the "Go For Broke" game from the previous week is no longer in my collection.
About The Game:
Riverboat Showdown is simple enough. There are eight cards (numbered 1-8) placed at random, face-down, in the center of the table. Then, each player is dealt 8 cards. The cards each player holds have a different backing and can consist numbers 1 through 8 or wildcards (only 2 in the deck of 46). Each person starts out with 20 chips. There is also a kitty of chips in the center. We used poker chips instead to make this more fun.
So, the first card in the center is flipped over. The person to the left of the dealer can do one of three things. The player can play a card that is higher than that card and pay the difference to the kitty (for example: play a 7 on top of the 5 and you pay 2 chips to the kitty). The player can play a card that is lower and collect the difference from the kitty (for example: play a 1 on top of an 8 and collect 7 chips from the kitty). Or the player can play one or more cards that are equal in value. This is key because the goal of each round in the game is to be the first person to use all of his cards. So, if you get to play 3 cards at one time because they equal the value to the card in the center, you could be boosting yourself ahead of others. When someone goes out, the round ends after everyone has played on that particular center card. Whoever still has cards left pays their total card value to the winner.
I misread the rules and we played it incorrectly for about a half hour. Whoops. I had us dealing out all 46 cards to everyone. If anyone can screw up a simple game, apparently I can.
Will we play it again?
Possibly. We talked about making this a side game for players knocked out at our poker tournaments. There was talk of playing it with nickels instead of chips. I think I might just set out some $1 and $5 poker chips on the second poker table for the next poker night and a rewritten set of rules. Maybe a $2 buy-in with a time limit, a handheld countdown clock (like you use for the kitchen) and chip leader takes all the money at the end of the time limit. I'm thinking I might also want to play it with 5 players once (even though the rules say 4) to see if it still works. There are 46 cards, so 5x8 should still be possible to play...
Forget the first game. We don't really know what was going on there so I promptly erased any potential scoring from my head. I didn't even log it on my BGG Games Played. On the second game, Ed was chip leader by the time we threw in the towel for time spent. There was one point in time where I literally had no chips left but cards in my hand. I finished that round with 4 chips. I later came back to having about 35. But by that time, Ed had well over 100.