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Rapscallion is a poker themed game designed by "Board 2 Pieces" comic strip author Ted Alspach. In the game you'll be trying to build the best poker hand you can by bidding on poker cards. The name most likely comes from the word 'rascal' as in one who plays michieviously in case you were wondering.
The game has a score pad, some simple instructions, a "standard" deck of cards, a deck of generic/shared bidding cards that you'll earn later, and 6 players worth of starting bid cards. I put standard in quotes as while there are four suites they are different from the standard poker suites.
The game is played in rounds where during each round you'll be trying to earn points. Much like hearts or spades, once someone achieves 100 points the game is over and the player with the most points wins.
In each round you'll be given a hand of bidding cards (3 numbered and 2 Rapscallion cards) and will first play one of those cards as a side bet. Everyone's bid cards are numerically different so that no ties will occur with the exception of the Rapscallion cards. Rapscallions are the highest valued bidding cards in the game, but in the case of a side bet if two players play them they cancel and the winner is the next highest.
Then each player gets a free starter poker card. And you'll play 2/1, 3/1, and 4/0 rounds during which 2-4 poker cards are auctioned after which a bidding card may be auctioned.
In each round there will be a number of poker cards auctions (2, 3, or 4). This is done by dealing out a number of cards based on the # of players. All cards, but one are face up so there will always be one mystery card if you don't like any of the others (special rules apply here for 2 players). You'll all simultaneously bid using bidding cards with the highest going first. Should multiple players use a Rapscallion then they cancel and those players must bid again.
Once the auctions for poker cards have been completed you bid poker cards for a new bid card. When I first played that didn't register correctly so I'll repeat; you're going to bid for a bidding card with POKER CARDS. So the bid cards are revealed (just like poker cards were) and everyone bids with a poker card from their hand that they don't want with the highest taking the best bid card and so forth. Remember, however, that there's a hidden bid card so once the available selection gets low enough it may be time to take the face down bid card.
Your played bid cards minus Rapscallions are returned to you for the next round.
Once all rounds are played out you score based on the poker hand you built. Three of a kinds and worse are worthless (0 points) and straight flushes, the best hand, are worth 20 points. Side bets are then also revealed and the person with the biggest side bet gets 15 points. Highest and lowest hands also earn a bonus/penalty, and for each unused Rapscallion you get 5 points. Everything, but the score, is then reset with your hand of bidding cards being passed to the player on your left and you repeat until someone has a hundred or more points.
I'd guess a typical game would last 4-5 rounds and take about 45 minutes.
The Luck Factor
In any game with a deck of cards there's going to be luck so let's look for the strategy. First off, you're going to be bidding on bid cards with poker cards... this can create an interesting situation of deciding whether to sacrifice a good, high card now or keep it and hope for later. Having a great, extra bid card from the first bid card auction is going to help you twice later on.
You've also got to focus on getting something really good given that 3 of a kind, 2 pair, ...etc score nothing granted each of those are the building blocks of 4 of a kind or a full house.
I also think this game is going to be more fun with 5-6 players. For one thing that guarantees that most/all of the deck will make an appearance during a hand. No waiting on that fourth 4 that got shuffled to the bottom of the deck and bidding is far more competitive.
The Fun Factor
First, it's going to be a definite advantage to know your poker hands. I'd guess that anyone that doesn't like poker is probably not going to like this game. I'm personally pretty neutral to poker.
Second, when building a hand obviously you're going to have to commit to something and it's entirely possible that that something won't pan out in terms of the cards appearing.
Third, I wonder if this game can be played solo. In other words, how much am I really playing against the other players? In games I've played if I'm, for example, dealt a four and collect two more fours chances of the last 4 card being valuable to someone else are greatly diminished. Consequently, when bidding in a six player game we played I felt like being in the top half of the bid order generally allowed me to get the card I wanted. Conversely, perhaps if we were more experienced we'd also be paying attention to what the other players are picking up. Perhaps an interesting variant would be that people picking up face up cards must leave them face up in front of them [and having just reread that section of the rules maybe that's how things were intended... the rules on specify so we assumed they went into each player's hidden hands].
Fourth, I'm probably overthinking this one.
Rapscallion is a good game, but not a great game. It's simple enough to teach, but I almost feel like when one says "poker" people have some preconceived view of the game and in some cases won't even try it.
I can't help, but wonder if getting rid of any association with poker might have helped this game... perhaps scoring based on some simple set collection factors coupled with the values of the cards in the sets. Then if the values of the card in your hand was important one might be reluctant to bid their higher cards just because they're going for four 2's. It also seems harsh that 3 of a kind is worthless... seems like I should at least get some points vs. someone with just a pair (other than the lowest hand penalty).
It's also something I'd consider to be in the category of longer fillers, but then again if you want it to be shorted nothing prevents you from playing just a hand or two.
- Last edited Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:31 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:26 pm
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This sounds a lot like Scripts and Scribes in how you bid for cards with the cards in your hand.
Thanks for this review, I think you just saved me $20.
I am missing something how do I increase my poker cards. if every turn I am spending them on bids for bids, and Is there a video of people playing out there tired of video reviews that really don't explain it.
- Last edited Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:21 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:15 am