Merry Christmas, everyone!
BROKE HOBO:Inspired by wizard and poker, this is a fast and light game for the penniless peasant.
Game Type: Trick-Taking, Deduction, Bluffing
Deck: 1 pack, French suits, with jokers.
Skills: Addition, pattern recognition, estimation, communication
RULES:The first player shuffles the deck and deals out 5 cards to each player, then sets the deck aside.
Starting with the dealer, each player plays one card to the table, to form a trick. The card a player plays is called their bid. Bids can be any card, they do not need to follow suit or sequence.
Once all players have bid, the dealer asks if anyone wants to change their bid. This cycle goes until everyone is satisfied. Players then reveal their hands.
Whoever has the highest scoring hand taks the trick. If the hand is tied, nobody wins the trick, and the hand is redealt.
The game is played over a number of hands equal to the number of players +3, with dealership being passed to the left at the end of each hand. The dealer should at least quickly shuffle the deck before each deal.
The player with the highest scoring card pile at the end of the last hand wins the game. If the game is tied, the winner between the tied players is whoever won the most cards.
SCORING:The same scoring system is used for both the value of a hand, and the value of the points pile at the end of the game.
Cards are each worth their normal rank value. (Jacks=11, Queens=12, Kings=13)
Jokers have a value of 0, but can still score bonus points.
You score 5 bonus points for each additional card in a run. (2 in a row is 5 points, 3 in a row is 10 points, 4 in a row is 15 points, etc.)
You score 10 bonus points for each additional card of equal rank, called a meld. (2 of a kind is 10 points, 3 of a kind is 20 points, and 4 of a kind is 30 points.)
A single card can not count for both a run and a meld at the same time. Should this occur, it counts for the meld only. Likewise, a single card cannot be part of multiple runs or multiple melds. (For example, given a run of 1, 2, and 3, you can not treat 1-2 as a run and 2-3 as a separate run, because that would mean the 2 is in multiple runs.)
STRATEGY:First off, in general, because you are forced to bid 1 card each hand, the obvious goal is to bid your lowest value card in an attempt to maximize each hand score and win as many tricks as possible. However, winning tricks alone is not necessarily going to win you the game. A player with fewer tricks that score higher values and bonus points is more likely to win than someone with a disorganized pile of low-value cards with no runs or melds.
Players must have their winnings revealed for all to see, so you can track what cards have already been removed from the deck. (For example: If you see 2 kings on the table, and you have 2 kings in your hand, you can be pretty confident that you have the highest hand.)
You can prevent an opponent from getting bonus points in the end game by avoiding bids that, if won by an opponent, would form runs or melds for them. So maybe you bid a trey instead of an ace because two players have aces already; if you win the meld, you get 2 points more.
If you can estimate that you are more likely to win a hand, you can also take a risk by intentionally bidding cards you want to win from your own hand. The farther into the game you get, the easier it is to predict your odds of winning a hand, based on what has been won, and therefore can not be in your opponents hands.
Finally, because nobody knows what you have in your hand, you can manipulate the others at the table. By bidding higher than anticipated, you can give the impression that you have a higher hand than you do, possibly invoking others to bid defensively, rather than taking risks themselves. You can also manipulate your opponents through deceptive body language. Aside from the scoring system, bidding uses all the same techniques as betting in poker.
While the game is highly random and no player is ever guaranteed a success in any hand, knowing how to mitigate that chaos over multiple hands makes all the difference. Knowing when to take a risk and when to play it tight is key to success.