|Designed by||Justus Pang|
|Extra Material||Scorekeeping aid (paper and pencil)|
An arithmetically paired fishing game.
The jackrabbits of the eastern deserts are regarded as a pest and a delicacy. Lesser known is that between eating (and being eaten) they while away their time with a simple fishing game.
As a fishing game, the goal of the game is to capture cards. Each player will play two cards every turn, capturing cards using either the sum or difference of the played cards. The players that captures the most cards scores points for the round. The first player to reach twenty-two points wins the game and is granted the privilege to be the first bunny out for dinner.
Shuffle the basic deck and deal four cards to each player and four face up to the table. After the initial deal, no further cards will be dealt to the table, but there will be three additional deals during the round (emptying the deck). The same player will be the dealer during the entire round, and the dealer switches each round.
Only the two player version has been playtested, so the two player game is the basis of these rules.
A player will play two cards on each turn.
If the sum OR the difference between the played cards equal the rank of a card on the table, the player captures the card on the table along the pair just played. If there are several cards of that rank on the table, then all cards are captured, a player may not leave any on the table. A player is restricted to capturing only ONE rank per turn, even if a play could capture two ranks. (7 and 3 captures 4 OR Crown but not both).
If the cards played are a pair (of the same rank) they will capture all the cards of the rank just played. (7 and 7 would capture a 7).
If a player cannot make a capturing play, then he or she must place two cards on the table.
When both players are out of cards (after two plays each) the dealer then deals out four more cards to each player. At the end of the game, the last player to capture cards takes the remaining cards on the table.
There are two possible bonuses during gameplay.Flush – each of the cards (played and captured) share a same suit. The capturing player scores 2 points. (eg 7 - 3 = 4)Sextet – the group of cards (played and captured) show one of each suit between them without duplication. A sextet must have exactly one instance of each suit. The capturing player scores 4 points. (eg 4 + 5 = 9, or any triplet of the 2 through 9 rank cards)
Some warrens will exchange captured cards to keep track of bonus points (ie if you score a flush, the opponent will place two of her captured cards in your capture pile), thus the bonus points are not “scored” until the end of a round. Some warrens do not exchange cards but keep a running tally, thus scoring bonus points immediately and ending the game as soon as a player reaches 22 points.
Scoring the Round / Winning
At the end of a round, each player will count their captured cards. The player with more than 18 cards (half the deck) will score a point for each card in excess (20 cards would score 2 points).
As noted in the introduction, the first player to reach 22 points is the winner. If both players reach 22 points, then whoever has more points is the winner. If both players are tied, play additional rounds until the tie is broken.
There are several variants that were tested. The most promising one is to deal out six cards to each player per deal (none to the table). It may actually be a better game, but after designing and playing it with the four cards, it felt a little strange to me. It may be in part because I have a numerological a fondness for the current game with 2 pairs dealt, 2 plays per round, 4 deals per round, 22 points per game. However, one could easily construct a cohesive numerical system with 3 pairs, 3 plays per round, 3 deals per round, 18 card goal, and 18 or 36 point games. As such, I would not hesitate to switch numerological allegiances, if this variant is clearly the better game after further playtesting.
A streamlined version (my original idea for the game) is to calculate only the difference between the cards. I think it works but is a little too constricted.
A more complex version would be to allow a pair of cards to capture BOTH the sum and the difference of the two cards. However, I think it adds a little unneeded complexity to the calculations and detracts from the suit bonuses.
Extended Deck (untested)
There is no place for the excuse, but there could be uses for the Pawns and Courts. Both the Pawns and Courts are worth 0 points in summing cards. In all cases, scoring at the end of the round is based off of the deck size divided by the number of players.
A 3 player game could add either the Pawns or Courts making a 40 card deck. Deal four cards to each player and four to the table. There will be three deals in a round. One could just use a standard deck and start with no cards dealt to the table.
A 4 player game could also be played using the standard deck with two deals per round (four cards to the table during the initial deal) but I suspect each round would be a little short and unsatisfying. Maybe this will work better with a double deck.
In a 2 player game, add both Pawns and Courts to the deck for a deck of 44 cards. Deal and play as in the main rules, but there will be an additional round.
Many domesticated warrens are rumored to play a variant called Brulu, using a 40 card deck including pawns. There are no cards dealt to the table during the initial deal and they play to 41 points. Many aficionados consider this the purest way to play.
The Brulu variant is a direct nod to the Moroccan card game Ronda which this game is based on. Let me start with my friend Margaret who gave me a Moroccan deck, inspiring me to look into the game and eventually develop a rough draft of the rules (Ronda is surprisingly hard to find on the English speaking internet). I sent these rules to John Pagat who then did an amazing job doing real research and completely rewriting the rules; thus publishing the only comprehensive Ronda rule set in English.
Of course, many, many thanks to my girlfriend who helped me playtest the game – not only Blulu but also Ronda when I was trying to figure out how that darn game worked using fragmented descriptions found on different websites. And to my old bunnies Buster and Lulu, wherever they’re hopping now…