Hello! I studied Computer Science, and now I live in Bath. I write code, design games, and occasionally tweet.
Hello! I studied Computer Science, and now I live in Bath. I write code, design games, and occasionally tweet.

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How to Play: Box, Reverse, and Stratego Chess

Sep. 28, 2018 in Games, Rules, Text

Box Chess!

Not to be confused with chess boxing, although feel free to play box chess boxing. Box chess is a new, dumb, derivative, variant of chess that we almost certainly reinvented down at the pub on a Friday night. To play take a standard chessboard. No piece is allowed to enter or pass through c3-c6, d3, d6, e3, e6, or f3-f6. The knight however can jump over the spaces and land in the center two by two square.

It was fun, and strange to play. If bishops feel to week swap the blocked spaces for c4-c5, d3, d6, e3, e6, and f4-f5 to form a ring instead.

Reverse Chess!

Reverse chess is quick, simple, and deadly. Start the game with the row of pawns swapped with the back row. That is it. Unlike a regular game of chess which starts with a slow (relatively) ramp up reverse chess is action packed from the beginning. Every piece is at risk and you are one move away from being checked.

I also suspect that this dumb perversion of chess could be solvable, or the start at least be optimised. What is the best first move, take a peice or check? I do not know!

Stratego Chess!

Statego Chess is chess, played on a Stratego-like grid. The squares d2-d3, d6-d7, e2-e3, and e6-e7 are blocked out and no piece, no even the knight can enter. Unlike Stratego the peices are not hidden, it is a mix between the two.

How to play Cheat, Sh*thead, and Cheathead

Jan. 9, 2018 in Games, Rules

Today I was playing a rather interesting variation of Cheat and Sh*thead with a group of friends, and thought it be worth sharing. But before doing so, I will fill you in on the rules of both games, for context.

Cheat

Setup

Shuffling a deck of cards and deal three to each player, leaving the pile in the centre of the table.

Gameplay

Players take it in turns to announce and play face down one or more cards of higher, lower, or equal value. If at any time a player suspects that the previous player cheated, they can loudly call CHEAT. All cards the player placed by that player are flipped. If the player has cheated, they pick up all of the cards, otherwise the accuser picks up all of the cards. The next player is whoever does not pick up cards. A player cannot call cheat on another if any cards have been placed atop of theirs.

Scoring

Once one player has placed all of their cards, a victor is crowned, and the game is over. If desired, count the number in each players hands to determine who came second, third, and so on.

Notes
  • The speed of the game depends on the group, but the faster they play, the easier it is to cheat.
  • Unless the group is a hundred percent certain that a player is not cheating, it is worth accusing them after they place their final card.
  • If desired, the game can continue after a player wins. However as players gather more and more cards, the game slows and lies become harder.

Sh*thead

Setup

The deck with Jokers is shuffled, and each player is given three face down cards. Then, each player is given an additional six cards, three of which much be placed face up atop their face down cards. Then the pile is placed in the centre of the table. The player with the greatest number of lowest value cards (excluding magic cards) in their hand starts. If multiple players draw, then the player who is first clockwise of the dealer starts.

Gameplay

Each player takes turns playing cards from their hands, face ups, or face downs - in that order. Cards must be of higher (Ace high), or equal value, but they must all be of the same value. After playing, a player draws back up to three cards if possible. Some cards are Magic and have special actions as denoted in the table below.

  • If four of the same value are played, then the pile is burnt and the current player get another turn. Jokers cannot be burnt in this manner.
  • If a player cannot legally place down cards, then they forfeit their turn and pick up the centre pile. Unless specified otherwise, magic cards can always be placed atop any other card, regardless of value.

The winner of the game is the first player to play all of their cards. However, the game can continue until all players bar one have played all of their cards.

Magic Cards
CardRole
2Reset the current value.
7Invisible, the next player must play equal or higher than the previous card.
8Play Low, the next player must play lower than the previous card.
10Burn, the pile is discarded and the player gets another turn.
KingChange the direction of play.
JokerThe next player cannot play a magic card.
Notes
  • Sh*thead can be played with any number of face down cards, as long as there are enough cards. Just ensure that each player is dealt that number plus three before choosing face up cards.
  • If desired, players can choose different magic cards or different magic actions.

Cheathead

An amalgamation of both games. It is played like Sh*thead but instead of playing cards face up, they are placed face down so players must announce their actions. Players can call CHEAT at any time to force a check. As an optional rule, Jokers can be used as wild cards instead of magic cards for added confusion.

How to play ███

Jul. 9, 2017 in Games, Rules

███ is a great game. ███ demands that you play it. ███ can be played with any deck of cards from any game, assuming it has suits and values. For example, ███ works well when played with Star Realms cards, and ███ could work well with Magic, or even scraps of paper.

Rules

  • Deal out a number of cards to each player, the number doesn’t really matter in ███.
  • Players take turns placing down a card in the centre that is either higher or lower value and of the same suite, or the same value and any suite. This pleases ███.
  • If a player cannot play they must pick up. They have failed ███.
  • Shuffle the deck when it runs out. ███ must continue.
  • When a players hand empties, it is their turn to think of a new simple, secret rule. Contradictions please ███.
  • Do not explain this rule.
  • Enforce the rule viciously.
  • Do not mention the great ███.
  • Do not criticise ███.
  • Do not explain ███.
  • Do not argue about ███.
  • Do not make a mistake playing ███.
  • Do not fail ███.

Any mistake while playing ███ requires punishment, that player must pick up an extra card.

How to play Grabble

Jan. 15, 2016 in Games, Rules

Grabble is a fast paced, word game where players take it in turns to flip over tiles, forming words, and stealing words from other players. I was first taught the game by Samson Danziger, and I am forming this list as from a brief glance, there is little writing on the topic.

Setup

If missing a set of Scrabble tiles, any similar set of letter tiles will do, or they can bought for a few quid from many online retailers.

  1. (Optional) Decide on a word list in case of disputes.
  2. Every player grabs a scrabble tile from the bag, highest value starts, repeat until one victor.
  3. Spread a set of scrabble tiles, one layer thick on a table.
  4. Turn each tile over so it is face down.

It is recommended that a dot, question mark, or asterisk is added using a permanent marker to one face of each wild-card to reduce confusion when turned over.

Gameplay

Players turn over tiles one at a time trying to form words at least three tiles long, extend existing words, or steal words from an opposing player. When successful, that player is now the next player to turn over a tile.

  1. Words must always be at least three tiles long. Shorter words do not count.
  2. Words can be extended by adding tiles from the centre, combining with other words, or both. When combining words there cannot be any tiles ‘left over’, all tiles must make their way into the new word.
  3. Words can be stolen (or protected) by rearranging their tiles into a new order. For example if a player claims T E A, another player can claim E A T. If the first player is clever they can then claim A T E to claim it back.

The game ends when all tiles are flipped and players agree that no more words can be improved or rearranged. This should not take longer than a couple of minutes.

Players can enter and exit the game at any time, simply watch the game until they can get a word of their own. If they wish to leave, words remain in play and other players can steal the words when possible.

Scoring

Scoring is simple, the first three tiles in a word are worth a combined one point. Any extra tiles are worth an extra one point. For example:

  • A T: Illegal word, 0 points
  • A T E: 1 point
  • T E A - M: 2 points

And so on.

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How to play Sevens and its Variants

Jul. 17, 2013 in Games, Rules

Shuffle a deck of playing cards without jokers, and deal out between players. All of the cards must be dealt out even if certain players have additional cards. Players then take it it turns placing down cards. Ace is high.

The seven of each suite must be placed down first, and then adjacent numbers of that suite can be placed above and below it. If a player cannot play then the game skips to the next player. The game is over when a player places all of their cards, but can continue until all of the cards are placed.

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