Thursday, 30 April 2009

Bonnie and Clyde

I bought Bonnie and Clyde on a recent business trip to Singapore, at Paradigm Infinitium, Midpoint Plaza, Orchard Road. Chee Seng was the one who recommended this shop. I remember I have been to Paradigm Infinitium before, but the surroundings did not seem familiar. Maybe they used to be at another location, or this is a different branch. They have a very good selection, but prices are a bit steep. Well, I guess if you are Singaporean or earning Singapore Dollars they are OK, but for a Malaysian the prices are steep. Yet, I couldn't resist buying this, because I am a fan of the mystery rummy games designed by Mike Fitzgerald.

Bonnie and Clyde, like the other mystery rummy games, and like gin rummy, have you making melds (playing 3 of a kind), making layoffs (playing cards after existing melds), and try to "go out" by playing all the cards in your hand. Like all other mystery rummy games, it has the concept of gavel cards - cards with special powers but you can only play one during a turn, which means that they are handy, but they also make it hard for you to go out quickly. This time there is only type of gavel card - Ted Hinton, the sheriff, but you can use it in 3 different ways - draw two cards from the draw deck, pick any one card from the discard deck, or peep at one of the 10 location cards.

Location cards are the unique element in Bonnie and Clyde compared to other mystery rummy games. This game has a board, depicting 10 locations where events in the criminal life of Bonnie and Clyde took place. At the start of the game, the Bonnie card, the Clyde card, and 8 other regular cards are shuffled and placed face-down at these 10 locations. During the game, the players try to peek and pick up cards from these locations, in particular they will try to catch Bonnie and Clyde, the capture of each awarding you 10pts. There is a car marker which starts at location 1. When melds are played, it advances. When layoffs are played, you can choose to move it forward or backward. The location of the car and when you play melds or layoffs is very important, because you can only capture Bonnie or Clyde when you play a meld or layoff for the location where the car is located. I guess that translates to you, being a police officer, being at the right place at the right time. Also if the cards you play match the car position, you score double (4pts per card, as opposed to 2pts). The car position is also important because the player who goes out also scores a bonus based on it.

Like all other mystery rummy games, there is a shut out condition. If you capture both Bonnie and Clyde, and you are the one to go out, then you shut out all your opponents. They don't score.

Game components.

The car, the Ted Hinton (sheriff) card, the Clyde card and the Bonnie card.

Game set up and ready to go.

Game in progress.

So far I have only played 2-player games (the game supports 2-4). I quite like the game. It is quite simple. I'd say roughly the complexity of Mystery Rummy: Jekyll and Hyde. There is a tendency to hold back your cards and wait for the right moment to play them to score big, but that can be a risky thing to do, because your opponent may be doing the same, and may suddenly go out before you can play any of your cards. I find the manipulation of the car position interesting, also the bluffing of where Bonnie and Clyde are. I find that I rarely use Ted Hinton cards to peek at cards. I often use it to draw more cards, and occasionally to pick discarded cards, but almost never for peeking. Maybe there are some tactics that I have not yet explored.

Among the mystery rummy games that I have played, I'd rank them in this order: Jack the Ripper, then Jekyll and Hyde and Bonnie and Clyde, then Al Capone and the Chicago Underworld, and finally Wyatt Earp (not officially part of the series, but is similar). Al Capone is just OK for me. Maybe I was traumatised and thus biased by that 11-1 losing streak that I once had when playing with Michelle. I only played Wyatt Earp once, a long time ago, and don't remember much about it, other than that I didn't really enjoy it. In complexity, I'd rank them Jack the Ripper, then Wyatt Earp, then Al Capone, then Jekyll and Hyde and Bonnie and Clyde.

2 comments:

Notso said...

So, with a mystery rummy game, is that the type of game that people that play "regular cards" would like? I have relatives who like to play card games like "Hand & Foot," Cribbage, and "Shanghai". I am not sure if you are familiar with all those games or can find rules on the internet, but those are their favorite card games. (They all just use Poker cards.) Can you give any guess as to whether they would like a mystery rummy game if they like those other card games?

Hiew Chok Sien said...

Notso,

I can't really guess whether your relatives would like the mystery rummy games, but I would say the mystery rummy games have some elements of traditional card games which they should find familiar. Some non-hobbyists prefer to stick to the few (or even just one) games that they are very familiar with, and are not interested to venture into something new. They are perfectly happy with the few games they know and enjoy and don't see a need to learn something new. So I wouldn't be surprised either way, whether they like the mystery rummy games or otherwise.

I haven't played the 3 games you mentioned, so I'm not sure what would be the level of complexity in game rules that your relatives can accept. Jack the Ripper is rather complex, although it's my favourite. The others should be suitable as gateway games to the mystery rummy series. Jekyll and Hyde is 2-player-only though.

Another thing to note is I play the mystery rummy games almost 100% as 2-player games, so my experience is limited for 3P / 4P games.