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 TUCoPS :: Scams :: cripple.txt Rules of "Cripple Mr Onion"
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Here are the rules for Cripple Mr Onion that were written by Terry Tao

This is the first part of the Cripple Mr Onion game: the general
purpose and the layout of the cards.  Some people have complained about
word wrap problems, so please tell me if the paragraphs are short
enough.

The object of the game is to create the highest scoring collection of
card-groupings from the ten cards that the player is dealt during the
course of the game.  Each of the ten cards can only be used in one
particular card-grouping.

The game is a combination of poker and blackjack.  One player acts as
a dealer-banker, chosen on the outcome of the previous game.  There are
slight advantages in being the dealer.

Procedures for the gambling and non-gambling versions will be given in
later sections.  The gambling version is the one used by the Disc
players, but the non-gambling version is easier.  Also, I will post
some suggested variations to reflect the mythology of the disk.

Finally, there will be a discussion of the relevant passage of

Now to the scoring system.  The valuable card groupings are based
around the concept of an "onion", which is a combination of two or more
cards adding up to 21.  Aces (A) are one or eleven, picture cards (P)
and tens (T) score 10.  All others score their face value.

Incidentally, there are 104 cards: 8 of each type, as 8 is the magic
number of the Disc.  On Earth this can be achieved by shuffling two
non-identical decks together.  There are eight suits with the thirteen
standard denominations, but their Disc names are uncertain.  Standard
deck suits will do.

The groupings, in order of least scoring to highest scoring, are:

A. bagel: this consists of two cards adding up to 20,
i.e. PP, TP, TT, 9A.  Fairly frequently, more than one bagel is
possible, giving a "double bagel", "triple bagel", "lesser bagel", and
finally "great bagel" (all ten cards used up.)

2. two card onion: Two cards which add up to 21, i.e. TA, PA.

3. broken flush: This consists of at least three cards, adding up to
at least 16, but no more than 21.  All except one of them is of the
same suit.

4. three-card onion: Three cards which add up to 21, e.g. 47T, ATT.

5. flush: Just like the broken flush, except all cards must be of the
same suit.

6. four-card onion: e.g. 4557, A46T.

7. broken Royal: a special case of the three card onion: the cards 678
of any suit.

8.  five-card onion: e.g. 23466, 2234P.

9.  Royal - another special case of the three-card onion: three 7's.

T.  six-card onion: e.g. A23456, 222555.

J.  Wild Royal (see additional rules): this slot not used at present.

Q.  seven-card onion: e.g. AA22456, A223445.  Note that there are no
eight-card onions, eight being a very unlucky number.

K.  Onion: A pontoon or blackjack: PA.  However, this combination is
only a two-card bagel unless there is more than one Onion, e.g. KAQA.
Thus, we have Double Onion (two Onions), Triple Onion, Lesser Onion,
and Greater Onion (PAPAPAPAPA).  Greater Onion beats Lesser Onion, and
so on.  The Greater Onion is almost unbeatable (see below).

There is one more card combination: the nine-card straight flush
(e.g. 23456789T).  This combination is normally worthless, unless
another player has a Great Onion, in which case the straight flush
beats everybody.  This is called "Crippling Mr Onion", hence the name
of the game.

Note also that Greater Onion requires five aces; thus, the two decks.

This ends part 1 of the rules of the game.

Andrew Millard (typed up by Terry Tao).

At last! Now that I've figured out how to use this system, all you avid
or potentially avid Cripple Mr Onion players will not have to wait so
long for the rest of the rules, as I can now type them in myself, and
not have to ask Terry Tao to do it for me. In response to Terry's
(Pratchett not Tao) note about the rules so far, my idea was that a
simple list of 13 winning card groupings could be augmented to a
fiendishly complicated level by the use of modifiers, of which the
first,
or #0 I suppose would be:

" i. A nine-card running flush may be used to cripple a Great
Onion and hence win the game if played after a Great Onion.

ii. A ten-card running flush overrides a nine-card running
flush in crippling a Great Onion and may also be used to
cripple a Lesser Onion."

My original aim in raising the subject of Cripple Mr Onion on this net
was to get other people to come up with ideas for modifiers; so far, I
just have one for letting 8s be wild and another using the queen of
(Further details of these will, of course, appear soon.) My point is,
though, that the essence of the game, which should be simple in order
to give newcomers, or suckers, the impression that the whole game is
simple, need not be overly complex, as long as a sufficiently large
collection of modifiers exists. Even as I write, Terry Tao is scribbling
modifiers based around ideas involving Fate, Death, the Octavo (likely
to be something involving all eight 8s) and even Great A'tuin him(?)self.
Anyway, we'll have to see what turns up, but I've got a feeling that a
book containing the complete list of modifiers is going to end up
looking like Carrot's book of laws...
Andrew C. Millard
Physics Department,
Princeton University.

> Incidentally, there are 104 cards:  8 of each type, as 8 is the magic
> number of the Disc.  On Earth this can be achieved by shuffling two
> non-identical decks together.  There are eight suits with the thirteen
> standard denominations, but their Disc names are uncertain.  Standard deck
> suits will do.

If you shuffle two different decks together, other players will be able
to see the different backs...

Concerning the Disc suits ... the scene in 'The Light Fantastic' where
Twoflower attempts to teach the Four Horsemen of the Apocralypse to play
bridge (or at least, something you put across a river) mentions some of the
suits. Twoflower mentions Turtles and Elephants; Death mentions 'the Knave
of Terrapins', but it's not clear whether he means Turtles or there are
two different suits by these names. Twoflower also refers to the Greater
Arcana, which suggests that Discworld card games are actually played with a
Tarot-like deck, presumably the 'Caroc cards' mentioned elsewhere.

Earlier in the same book, Rincewind has his fortune told, and we're told
the names of some Caroc cards. Suits include Octograms and the aforementioned
Elephants and Turtles.

Remember that eight is an unlucky number, not a lucky one, on the Disc.
In view of that, I'm inclined to suspect that there are seven 'real' suits
in the Discworld deck, the 'eighth suit' being the Major Arcana.

As for the actual names of the suits, here are my suggestions (I'm
assuming that Death's 'Terrapins' was a mistake, quite likely given his
state of confusion at the time) :

Coins (to represent the common Discworld mercenary spirit...)
Dragons
Elephants
Eyes (in honour of Blind Io)
Octograms
Swords
Turtles (or tortoises or terrapins or whatever...)

For playing with Earthly decks, we need some sort of standard equivalents;
I don't see any obvious correspondences (except Swords = Spades), so I suppose
they can just be chosen at random.

If you really want eight suits, you can always assume 'Terrapins' wasn't
a mistake. Somehow the confusion that would be caused by this seems entirely
in the spirit of the Discworld ... :-)

And the Major Arcana? Earth's Tarot deck has 22, but in the interests of
making it possible to play CMO on Earth without actually buying two Tarot
decks I think we should assume that the Caroc deck has 13, the same as the
'real' suits (Earth's Tarot actually has 14 in the suits, but let's not
make matters any more complicated than they already are). TLF mentions five :
'The Star', 'The Importance of Washing the Hands', 'The Dome of the Sky',
'The Pool of Night', and (of course) 'Death'.

Naming the other eight would, I think, be an excellent topic for
suggestions from the Net. I think 'The Octavo' should be one, and probably
'The Disc' itself (something like Josh Kirby's magnificent painting on
pages 34-35 of 'Eric'), but beyond that I'll wait and see what everyone
can come up with...

--
...... Ross Smith (Wanganui, NZ) ...... alien@acheron.amigans.gen.nz ......
"Reasonable thought can only go so far. Beyond that,
you must either be unreasonable or stop thinking." (A. Brilliant)

However, Andrew and I are working on some special cards.
The suits may now need to be changed, though.

Death: King of Swords
Great A'tuin: Queen of Coins
Archchancellor: Jack of Staves
Fate: King of Cups
Bel'Shamaroth: Jack of Clubs

As you can see, our idea for the 8 suits were the four tarot and the
four modern suits.  But to make flushes even remotely possible, two of
the suits have to be combined together, making four suits overall.

Also, we have some ideas for special combinations, like the Octavo
(eight 8's) and the Disc (Great A'tuin with four 10s).  At present they
are being playtested, so don't expect these rules for at least a week.
We don't want to embarrass ourselves prematurely.

Terry
It's too complicated to write out the full details here, but here is a
sketch of the order of play so far.

Each person places 1 penny (or stone, etc) in the pot as an ante.

Each person gets dealt 5 cards. Starting from the dealer's right, they
have the option of exchanging up to four cards from the deck.

The first round of betting ensues.

Starting from the dealer, everyone is dealt a further 5 cards.  The dealer's are
face down; the players are face up.  However, each player can pay a penny to have
one card face down, hence a player putting 5 pennies in the pot will have all his
cards face down.

The second round of betting ensues.

Now starting from the dealer's right, each player must reveal his
entire hand and sort it into winning combinations.  Usually some cards
will not be part of any combination and they are of no value.

The winner is the person with the highest ranking combination.  If two
or more people have the same combination, then the player's
second-highest-ranking combinations are compared.  If there is a tie
all the way down the line, the dealer wins.  (The way the game is
organized, the dealer is always playing, for if the dealer folds the
dealership is up for auction.)

e.g. if a person has

2234467KKA

the best way to sort this hand would be to have a six-card onion first (2234467)
then a two card onion (KA), with the second king being worthless.

The game is fairly playable: I've already been suckered out of 60c so far.  A few
problems: it seems to depend too much on the number of aces one gets.  10s and 9s
are almost worthless.  To combat this, we have playtested a few modifiers to bring
down the power of the Aces and to bring up the worth of the 10s and 9s, but we're still testing.

Our first modifier is the use of 8s.  The 8s represent magic.  eight 8s
are the Octavo and we are ranking them at about the level of a Lesser
Onion.  The 8s can be used as 8s or 0s: the idea of using them as 0s is
to "trump up" a small onion into a slightly larger onion: hence,
while 3567 is a four card onion, 35678 is a five card onion. three 8s
are a wild
royal.  After an 8 has been used as a 0, for the next round they are
wild (can act as any card from A to K, excepting special god cards).
However, the use of
too many 8's will attract the attention of Bel Shamharoth, among others.

The Aces represent heroes of the Disc:normally they make an integral part of the
winning hands (we seem to find that Double Onion is the most common winning hand,
btw), but with a few modifiers we intend to make heroes subject to blind luck and
cruel fate.  Our rules are a bit complicated here.

Suggestions welcome for any modifiers, or special hands.

Btw: about my remark about "non-identical decks".  While it is a minor
point that decks of different color will convey a little bit of
knowledge about ones hand, I suppose it is best to have two identical
decks.  However, for special cards (if there are going to be any)
there should only be one of each.  For the purposes
of flushes, and 9-card straight flushes, it seems reasonable to have
only four
suits, otherwise flushes would be extremely difficult.

Terry
So many people seem to be champing at the bit here over the details of the
game that I've decided to post up the rules of the game in full - at least
the game as far as we are playing it here at the moment. No doubt there are
a few problems still remaining in it, but we'll just have to see what
happens. I should state, though, that when I write onion, I mean two-card
up to seven-card, whereas when I write Onion (capital O), I mean Double up
to Great.

Cripple Mr Onion requires two standard decks of playing cards, preferably
one having the English or French suits clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds,
and the second having the Spanish or Italian suits swords, staves, cups and
coins - for the purpose of forming flushes, these are taken to be paired in
their respective order given above. The game also requires at least two
players, but not more than seven [this isn't something to do with the number
eight, but a result of the fact that you'd run out of cards with more than
seven players], with a ready supply of small coinage or tokens. The players
need to be arranged as evenly as possible around a table with two small
pots/boxes in the centre - one will be the Pot and the other is for

At the beginning of each round, one player is identified as the Dealer, with
the player to the Dealer's left as the Elder and the player to the Dealer's
right as the Younger - this sets the order of precedence in being dealt cards
and in winning in the event of a tie as Dealer, Elder, other players in
order and, lastly, Younger. In the event that the Dealership changes, these
identifiers move to be based around the new Dealer. The round opens when the
Dealer shuffles the pack of all 104 cards, the Younger cuts the pack and all
the players place an amount equivalent to the Stake in the Pot. By agreement
of all the players, the maximum amount for a raise is usually set at some
multiple of the Stake.

All the players are dealt five cards in this order: the Dealer receives two
cards and deals all the other players, in order from Elder to Younger, three
cards; the Dealer then receives three cards and deals the other players two
[this is done to speed up the dealing, which isn't exactly the most
interesting part of the game]. Then, in turn, from Elder to Younger, each
player discards up to four cards into the discard pot, or may fold by
discarding all five cards, and announces the number of discards to the Dealer
who replaces them from the top of the pack; the Dealer then discards and
replaces, also announcing the number thrown away. It is important to note
that up to this point all cards have been dealt face down, each player is
only aware of their own cards and, by way of the draw, ought to have a
better hand than was originally dealt.

The first round of betting takes place, consisting of three distinct parts.
In the first two parts, the Dealer names the amount that must be matched by
other players individually if they wish to stay in and places this amount
in the Pot. In turn, from the Elder to the Younger, the players must either
match the Dealer's bid, by placing the same amount in the Pot, or fold by
placing their cards in the discard pot; if a player matches the Dealer's bid,
that player has the option of raising the Dealer by placing a named amount
near the Pot on the player's side. The process of raising does not affect
the other players except for the Dealer who must match the collective raise
or fold - see below for events following the folding of the Dealer. The
matching of the collective raise by the Dealer and the placing of all the
individual raises into the Pot closes that part of the betting. In the third,
and at this stage final, part, the betting is the same except that no
raising may take place. During the betting, the Dealer may make a zero bet,
allowing all the other players to stay in and, in the first two parts and if
they wish, to raise.

The second set of five cards each is now dealt in the following way: the
Dealer receives five cards face down on the table, and then, in turn from
Elder to Younger, each other player may buy cards, multiply or one at a time,
from the Dealer placing an amount equal to the Stake for each bought card in
the Pot. Buying stops at five bought cards, or earlier if the player wishes
when the player is then dealt the remaining cards up to five, that is up to
ten cards in all, face up on the table. Bought cards are dealt face down and
the player may mix them in with the cards from the first stage of dealing,
but cards dealt face up on the table must remain that way, although the
player may rearrange them there. After receiving the second five cards, the
player is then asked to make an extra bet, which again the Dealer must alone
match later on, placing the amount, which may be zero, on the face up cards,
or on the table if there are no face up cards, directly in front of the
player. Once this has taken place for all the players, the Dealer considers
the extra bets made on the basis of all the face up cards and the Dealer's own
ten cards which, of course, are unknown to the other players. If the Dealer
decides to match the total amount of the extra bets made, by placing the
total value in the Pot, all extra bets are placed in the Pot as well and two
last parts of betting take place in the same manner as the first two parts
of the first round of betting as described in the previous paragraph. If the
extra bets are not matched, the Dealer may give the Dealership to the Elder
WITHOUT being required to fold: this is the only point of the game when the
Dealership changes without the Dealer folding - of course, the Dealer loses all
privileges by becoming the new Younger. To accept the Dealership and become
the new Dealer, the Elder must match the other players' collective extra
bets, the Elder's own extra bet, if there was one, being lost to the Pot
without reclaim; otherwise the Dealership is again passed left. This process
is repeated until either the Dealership is accepted, in which case events
proceed as described some twelve lines above, or the Dealership goes full
circle and returns to the original Dealer - then, everybody folds, the Pot
becomes the ante for the next round, the Dealer remains the Dealer and the
next round begins from the beginning.

The game having managed to get this far without utter confusion breaking out,
the final part of the round, Showdown, takes place. Beginning from the
Elder, the highest card grouping is declared and displayed on the table;
if the player to the left of the Elder cannot equal, beat or play some
modifier that affects the Elder's cards, that player's cards are all placed
face up on the table, in their groupings if the player wishes, and the next
player's cards are compared. If the Elder's cards are equalled, then the
next card grouping must be considered. If the Elder's cards are beaten, then
the Elder has the opportunity to play a modifier or rearrange the card
grouping in an attempt to obtain a better arrangement. By this process of
comparison, consideration of lower groupings, rearrangement of card groups
and playing of modifiers, the holder of the better cards, between the
Elder and the player on the Elder's left, is found; the player but one to the
Elder's left is then brought in, and the whole process of finding the
holder of the better cards is repeated. This continues until at last the
Dealer has been brought in, and finally the player who holds the best cards
wins the contents of the Pot; in the event of a complete tie, the player of
greater seniority wins - often, this means that the Dealer wins. The
round is then over, the cards and discards are collected up and the winner
becomes the Dealer for the next round.

In the event that the Dealer folds, the Dealership is auctioned as follows:
from the Elder to the Younger, the players who are still in are asked by the
old Dealer if they wish to be the new Dealer - if the player wishes to be
the new Dealer, that player must advance an amount equal to the Stake. If
another player, when asked, also wishes to be Dealer, then that player
must match the existing bid and advance another amount equal to the Stake.
This process continues around and around the table, with each prospective
Dealer making sure that that player's bid is at least an amount equal to
the Stake higher that the highest bid so far, until all the players except
for one decline to advance any more, when they place their own total bid
in the Pot as they decline, and the single player left becomes the new
Dealer placing the winning bid in the pot. If nobody wishes to be the new
Dealer, all the players fold, the Pot becomes the ante for the next round,
the old Dealer stays as Dealer and another round beings anew.

Well, that describes the basic [!] game. Hands up all those who thought that
thirteen simple winning hands would not make the game complicated. But, of
course, there has been discussion of modifiers [incidentally, if you think
that this reconstruction is a rip-off of other card games around the
Multiverse, all I can say is: you don't have to play and win a lot and
have fun as well], which I shall now describe. These particular modifiers
are, inevitably, the creation of a small group of people: if you think they
should be changed or added to or reduced in number, just say so.

Modifier #0: Crippling Rules.
i. A nine-card running flush may be used to cripple a Great Onion and
hence win the game. Once crippled, a Great Onion may not be retracted.
ii. A ten-card running flush outcripples a nine-card running flush in
crippling a Great Onion and may also cripple a Lesser Onion. Once cripped,
the Onion may not be retracted.

[I hope that this one at least doesn't require any comments.]

Modifier #1: Null Eights Rules.
i. During a round in which eights are not wild (see ii.), an eight
may be used as if it had value zero in order to trump up an onion. In the
event of a tie between two onions with equal numbers of cards, the onion
with the fewer null eights wins.
ii. In the round following a round in which a null eight has been
played, eights are wild, acting as any regular card. The wild Royal, three
wild eights, may then be played. In the next round, eights return to their
original role.

[To "trump up an onion" means to make a four-card onion into a five-card
onion by the addition of one null eight, or to make a three-card onion
into a seven-card onion with four - it did happen, and he won. Note,
however, that there are no onions beyond seven-card and that wild eights
cannot be used as any of the special cards giving rise to later
modifiers.]

Modifier #2: Wild Crippling Rule.
In a round in which eights are wild, to successfully cripple the
relevant Onion, the running flush must have at most the same number of
wild cards as the Onion being crippled.

[Note that this is the only manifestation of the "fewer wild cards wins"
rule of poker, the equivalent here being "fewer null eights wins" as in
#1i. above.]

Modifier #3: Octavo Rule.
When eights are wild, the card group consisting of eight eights can
be considered as a Lesser Onion, but beats other Lesser Onions and may not
be crippled like a Lesser Onion of any other composition.

[Terry likes this one!]

i. If eights are not wild, the queen of spades may be declared, before
or during Showdown, and replaced by the player's choice of one of the next
two cards from the deck, the chosen card taking up the place of the queen;
the other card goes to the discard pot. This move may not be rescinded.
ii. When eights are wild, the queen of spades devalues one ace, for
every other player, that would otherwise be played as having value eleven, to
value one only. This does not affect any aces in a Great Onion, but may
affect cards, in any grouping, which, by being wild or by other means, would
otherwise be played with value eleven.

[If you're playing with two English decks, you're going to have to choose
one of the two queens of spades and mark it, not on the back though, so
use old or cheap cards for this. By declaring, I mean put the card on the
table face up and point it out to the other players; here, of course, the
queen may no longer be used in forming card groupings since a replacement
card has been received (very useful for getting out of those triple
bagels) but should be left near the player on the table rather than in the

Modifier #5: Fate's Rules.

i. If the queen of spades has been declared and replaced, the king
of cups may also be declared and replaced in a like manner, in the process
making all aces held by the player who used the queen of spades have value
zero. Unlike null eights, however, zeroed aces cannot trump up onions.
ii. If eights are wild, the king of cups may be declared so that
eights immediately cease to be wild; a different player who has the queen of
spades, whether visible, played or not, may then make his own eights wild
again. The king of cups may not be revoked once declared, and a single
player may not use the king of cups and then the queen of spades in this way.

[The suit of cups, you may remember, is paired up with hearts, so choose one
of the the king of hearts as Fate.]

Modifier #6: Great A'Tuin's Rule.
Declaring the queen of coins allows the player to reduce the value of
one of the player's cards by eight points and to increase the value of a
different card by eight points. The two affected cards must still have value
between one and eleven inclusive.

[Coins are paired with diamonds. A two that is shifted up to value ten may
be considered a picture card, a three shifted up to eleven as an ace of
value eleven.]

Modifier #7: The Elephants' Rule.
Any four cards, each being either a nine or a ten or an eight when
eights are wild, that are declared with the queen of coins in one
player's hand, allow that player to shift as many points as are needed to
to generate a Double Onion. This Double Onion may be beaten by any other
Double Onion. Any nines or tens in the player's hand that are not involved
in the shift may be considered as ones, not aces, and twos respectively.

[Since the five cards involved here have only been declared, they are, of
course, still playable as cards in groups. Remember that a ten may not
take the role of a picture card in an Onion - a shifted nine, eight etc.
is needed. With two nines, two tens and the queen of coins, a possible shift
is: add one each to the nines and tens - hence the Double Onion - and take
four from the queen of coins to be a six.]

Modifier #8: The Sender of Eight's Rules.
i. When eights are not wild, a visible jack of diamonds makes any aces
belonging to a player who uses any eights become zeroed (see #5i.).
ii. When eights are wild, the jack of diamonds must be declared as soon
as it is dealt and identified, zeroing all aces and disallowing eights from
taking on value one or eleven.

[As before, choose one of the jacks of diamonds and mark it on the face.]

Modifier #9: Death's Rules.
i. When eights are not wild, a visible king of swords makes one
picture card in every player's hand that has two or more picture cards have
no part in forming a Double Onion.
ii. When eights are wild, the visible king of swords makes one
picture card in every player's hand that has two or more picture cards have
no part in forming either a Double Onion or a Triple Onion.

[Swords are paired with clubs. The "killed" picture card can still take
part in anything else, which usually means a bagel or two.]

Modifier #10: The Archchancellor's Rules.
i. Any player who plays the jack of staves may not also play an
eight as having value eight.
ii. If the jack of staves is declared at any time during the game, the
king of swords must also be declared if held; if the king of swords is
declared, then all the other players must also declare one previously
undisclosed card each. If no one holds the king of swords, the the jack of
staves becomes wild for the rest of the round.

[By a process of elimination, staves are paired with spades.]

Modifier #11: The Fool's Rule.
If, immediately before Showdown, the jack of clubs is declared,
then, for the rest of the round, bagels change places with Onions in the
order of winning card groupings. That is: the two-card onion and the
single bagel change places, the Double, Triple and Lesser Onions are ex-
changed with the double, triple and lesser bagels respectively, and the
great bagel becomes only beaten by, but may also be crippled like, the
Great Onion which remains at the top of the list.

[This now makes bagels worth something, other than a tie-breaker. The
jack of clubs, of course, can still take part in bagels, and any other
card grouping, as usual.]

Okay, so there are some in-jokes in that lot, but you don't need to know
them all, or indeed any of them, to be able to play the game and it hasn't
stopped me playing the game with a large group of people here who have
never heard of Bel-Shamharoth or the Rite of Ashk'Ente. It might be fun
to try and work out the reasoning behind the modifiers - and yes, there
is a reason behind nearly every one that may be found somewhere in the
Discworld books. This is the point though: unlike Dragon Poker, where
the typical modifier seems to be "If there are three players with
four arms, the moon is gibbous, there's an r in the month and the Dealer
is blue, the three of Unicorns is wild in the seventeenth round" (no
criticism of Robert Asprin - it's a fun idea), Cripple Mr Onion
modifiers should be based on Discworld mythology and belief; I've taken
the view that the game is as old as Ankh-Morpork and has, over the
centuries, absorbed all sorts of details of Disc life.

Andrew C. Millard
Physics Department,
Princeton University.
A couple of rules in the game that Andrew posted up are debatable, so I
thought we should bring them to your attention.

They all concern the modifiers.  The original game is quite playable and
has no faults, but some of the modifiers have problems.

First of all, the rules as stated say that if the first person lays down
his hand, and the next person beats it, the the first person has a chance
to reform his hand.  This has the small problem that the game could
technically go on forever, with everybody reforming their hands, but also
takes out the "sucker" element of the game: "I didn't know a three-card
flush beat a ...", etc.  However, as some modifiers (Fate, the Lady,
Bel-Shamharoth, Death) do devalue hands, perhaps after these have been
played, the people whose hands are affected have a chance to reform once.

Also, if one prefers, if two combinations tie, the one with fewer wild
cards loses.  The only problem with this is that it takes away a bit the
prerogative of the dealer to win tied hands, and the game traditionally has
a bias toward the dealer (unless Weatherwax is playing).

Finally, as some special cards are declared before any hands are played,
to prevent someone laying down his lesser Onion in a hurry before anyone
can play the "Fool", there should be a round before showdown where the
dealer asks if any special cards (at this stage, only the Fool and possiblt
Bel-Shamharoth) are to be used.

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