Rapscallion: A unique poker game

Long cold winter days are perfect for gaming in the nice warm comfort of your house, surrounded by loved ones.  So this weekend we looked through some of the games that grace our shelves but that we haven’t had an opportunity to try out before.  That led us to pulling out “Rapscallion”.

Rapscallion is a poker style game with some very unique elements that make it one of a kind.  Now before you jump to what is your usual stand on poker games (such as, I typically feel that poker is no fun unless there is money or clothes involved), stop and listen to this unique description.

Rapscallion starts with each person receiving one playing card and five bidding cards.  The bidding cards are numbered cards from 1 to 30, plus two “Rapscallion” cards that act as trump cards.  Each player looks at their starting playing card and then decides which of their betting cards they would like to place to the side for a “side bet”.  The side bet will be resolved at the end of the hand and is worth 15 points.

Some of the playing cards in Rapscallion. Note that the suits are not the same. Instead of spades, clubs, hearts, and diamonds like in a normal deck of cards, we have bottles, daggers, coins, and broken hearts. This doesn't really impact the game at all, but instead just gives it a little more flavor.

Next count the number of players.  Flip up on the table one less card then you have players, and then add one face down card to the pool.  You’ll use your remaining betting cards to try to win the right to pick which card from this pool you would like first, and add to your hand.  Betting cards that are used are set aside.  Then you will repeat this process for a second playing card.

Once you have bought two playing cards in this fashion, it’s time to get a new betting card. Just like with the playing cards, one card fewer than players will be placed face up in the center of the table, and one card will be added face down.  Using your playing cards, each player bids on the right to pick up one of these bidding cards first. The playing card that you use in this way is removed from your hand and is discarded.  For this reason you want to make sure in the first two bidding rounds that you pick up a card that you don’t need for your hand, because you have to throw something away.

This process of bidding repeats several times, until you finally have eight cards in your hand.  Once this happens, it’s time to hope and pray that you made something decent. Create your best five card poker hand and place it face up on the table.  There is no need to keep this hidden now, because you are not trying to beat your opponents hand (not exactly persay), but rather you are trying to achieve your personal best.

Scoring might initially sound complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple.  Points are awarded on the basis of what kind of hand you made.  For instance, a Flush is worth 10 points.  There are hands that, in normal poker would be quite good, but in Rapscallion are worth nothing. Two pair is a good example of a hand that is worth zero points.  Now that you know what everyone made, the person to make the best hand gets an additional 20 points.  The person with the worst hand loses an additional 10 points.

After this, the games name sake comes into play.  Did you use your Rapscallions (trump cards)?  If you did, no worries.  But if you didn’t, score yourself an extra five points per Rapscallion you have left.  This can make even a mediocre hand play out pretty well, provided you made it without the use of your trump cards.

Lastly you evaluate the side bet.  Who tossed in the highest bidding card?  That player gets an extra 15 points, a rather high sum for such an easy one card bet.  Now tally the points.  Play continues until a player reaches 100 points.

I think this game really peaked my interest because it was less about what your opponents’ hands are, and more about what you are capable of achieving.  There is also no bluffing, which I tend to be quite bad at.  This is a game of careful maneuvering rather then lying through your teeth.

Does this game sound like fun?  Swing by the Game Paradise online store and buy your copy today!

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 at 10:04 am and is filed under Board Game Reviews, Luck and Betting Games . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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