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Subject: Start-Player Variant rss

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In the rules, the start player is determined randomly, and is the person who keeps the dictionary. Whenever two identical letters are played, the person closest to the start player, clockwise, is the person who wins the tie and places first. The dictionary only changes hands when someone challenges a word successfully, at which time the challenger receives the dictionary and becomes the new start player. Fine.

I just don't like it all that much.

Here's my idea: Deal 12 cards to all players, as outlined in the rules, but before playing any cards to the center of the table, each player selects one card to determine the start player. These are placed face-down and revealed simultaneously. Whoever has the card closest to A (or Z, in round two) is the start player for that round, and all ties will be broken clockwise, starting with him. These cards will remain face-up before the players for the round, and they will not count toward their negative score at the end of the round.

If two or more players select the same letter, then they cannot be considered the start player, and their cards go into their score pile to count at the end of the round.

At the end of the round, all letters are gathered and shuffled to be used in the second round. Players will have to select and reveal a card again to determine the start player for this round.
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