Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My Top 10 Games

(10) Rummikub
Rummikub is a tile-based game for two, three or four players. It won the 1980 Spiel Des Jahres award (German Game of the Year). The name Rummikub is pronounced Rummy-Cub or Rummy-Cube - such pronunciations are location specific.
For a players first move, they must play a set with a value of at least 30 points. Point values are taken from the face value of each tile played, with the joker assuming the value of the substituted tile (if played). A player’s first move is known as the initial meld or passport. The initial meld cannot build on previously played tiles. A joker on the table cannot be retrieved before the initial meld. If a player cannot make an initial meld, they must pick up a single tile from the pool and add it to their rack and play proceeds to the next player. Once a player has made their initial meld, for each turn a player must either play one or more tiles from their rack, making groups and/or runs. If the player cannot make a group or run they must pick three random tiles from the pool and add it to their rack
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I haven’t played this game for quite some time now. I enjoy the challenge to manipulate the tiles – shift, split, remove and substitute. It does exercise the brain. Must get the team together again to play this.

(9) Cashflow 101 and Ratrace
Cashflow 101 is an educational tool in board game format designed by Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad), which aims to teach the players concepts of investing by having their money work for them in a risk free setting (play money) while simultaneously increasing their financial literacy and stressing the imperative nature of accountability.
There are two stages to the game. In the first, "the rat race", the player aims to raise his or her character's passive income level to where it exceeds the character's expenses. The winner is determined in the second stage, "the fast track". To win, a player must get his or her character to buy their "dream" or accumulate $50,000 in monthly cash flow.
In place of “score cards”, there are financial statements. The game requires the players to fill out their own financial statements so that they can see more clearly what is happening with their money. It generally shows how assets generate income and demonstrates that liabilities and 'doodads' are expenses.
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The 'Ratrace' Vintage board game (1973), by Waddington's / Gibsons is a game of frantic social climbing! Will you expand your business, join the yacht club, throw a lavish party, make a fortune at the races - or be wiped out paying taxes! Each player in 'Ratrace' is plagued by the same problems that we all face in everyday life. Equipped with £200 and a business, he or she must try and improve their status, and be the first person to accumulate a pre-determined amount of money and 'retire'.

These 2 games have similar game plan – get rich and retire. So, I’ve placed both in the Number 9 spot. I’ve just started playing these two games this year. Initially, it was really fun to play, but after awhile, the game plan got predictable, and I got bored. The idea is not to play too often, and it will be really exciting.

(8) Sequence
Sequence is a board-and-card game distributed by Jax Ltd., Inc.. It involves an average-sized playing board, on which are depicted two packs' worth of cards (minus the Jacks), two full standard decks, red, blue and green playing chips which total 135.
Players are dealt a certain number of cards (3-7 depending on the number of players), and then take turns to play these cards, placing a chip of their colour on the corresponding card image on the board. The object of the game is to form a row of 5 chips (be it horizontally, vertically or diagonally) before the other players. If there are only two players, 2 sequences must be formed to win the game.
The four corners of the grid do not depict cards; instead, they are wilds, i.e. any sequence of 4 chips including a wild sqaure wins. The Jacks fulfil a special role. If a player plays a two-eyed Jack, he or she may place a chip anywhere on the board (except of course on the wilds). If a one-eyed Jack is played, the player may remove an opposing player's token from anywhere.
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Got addicted to Sequence for awhile when Yoke Kheng first bought the game. It gets pretty exciting especially towards the end when everyone tries to block each other. It’s important to get a good partner who can read your mind. Hehehe!

(7) Taboo
Taboo is a word guessing party game commercially available from Hasbro. The object of the game is for a player to have their partner guess the word on their card without using the word itself or five additional words listed on the card.
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First played this game in Selvi’s house. After so many games, I could now remember some of the words. We often play the game in the KBU Christian Fellowship.

(6) Boggle
Boggle is a word game designed by Allan Turoff and trademarked by Parker Brothers / Hasbro, Inc.
Play begins by randomizing a tray of 16 cubical dice, normally by shaking. Each has a different letter printed on each of its sides. The dice settle into a four by four tray such that only the top letter of each cube is visible. After they have settled into the grid, a three-minute timer is started and all players simultaneously begin the main phase of play.
Each player searches for words that can be constructed from the letters of sequentially adjacent cubes. Here, the meaning of "adjacent" includes the horizontally, vertically, and diagonally neighboring cubes. Words must be at least three letters long, may include singular and plural (or other derived forms) separately, but may not use the same letter cube more than once per word. The players record all words found by writing on their private sheets of paper. After three minutes have elapsed, all players must stop writing and the game enters the scoring phase.
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I love Word games. It’s even more fun when you play with people like Sahaya and Pei Lu. They can come out with extremely, mind-boggling ‘words’!

(5) Mahjong
Mahjong is a game for four players that originated in China. It is a game of skill, strategy, intelligence, calculation and luck. Depending on the variation which is played, luck can be anything from a minor to a dominant factor in success. The object of the game is to build complete suits (usually of threes) from either 13 or 16 tiles. The first person to achieve this goal is said to have won the game. The winning tile completes the set of either 14 or 17 tiles.
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I learned to play this game while studying in Australia. I have even taught some of my students this game when they visited me during the Chinese New Year – no gambling involved. I have 2 mahjong sets – one from Hong Kong and a miniature set from Malacca. I miss this game as well.

(4) Big Two
The card game Big Two is also known as Choh Dai Di, Dai Di (both Cantonese). The game is very popular in East Asia, where it originated, especially Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. It is played both casually and as a gambling game. It is usually played with two to four players, the entire deck being dealt out in either case (or sometimes with only 13 cards per player). The object of the game is to be the first to get rid of all of your cards.
See here for the complete rules and variations of the game.

Before Jordan was born, Seng Chor and I played this game occasionally before bedtime. Hee! Hee! I learned this game also while studying in Australia. I’m pretty good at this – lucky most of the time too. :p

(3) Seven Card Game
This game is played with maximum of 4 people. All 52 cards are distributed. The person with the Spade 7 starts the game, and play goes clockwise/anti-clockwise. The next person has to try to make a sequence from the Spade 7 or start a new sequence with another 7. If no card can be played, the player must close a card, usually the card with the lowest point, like Ace (1 point). That card is considered dead and it may block the rest of the players from placing their card. The objective of the game is to be the first to get rid of all of your cards, especially big cards like 10, Jacks (11 points), Queens (12 points) and Kings (13 points). The player with the lowest points wins.

One of my ex-colleagues named this game the Evil Seven because people can turn really ‘wicked’ in the game. Some people (one of them is Teoh Seng Chor) purposely close an 8 so that no other card above 8 can be placed. This increases the score of players holding those cards. Of course, some of us do show mercy and try to make everyone happy in the game.

(2) Scrabble
Scrabble is a popular word game and board game in which 2-4 players score points by forming words from individual lettered tiles on a 15×15 game board. The words are formed across and down in crossword fashion, and must appear in a standard dictionary.
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Before I discovered Up the River, Down the River, Scrabble was in the Number One Spot. I have 5 sets of Scrabble – first one was bought by my Mama during my primary school days, I redeemed a travel set from Citibank, bought the Millennium set from Toy R Us, bought the Deluxe set from Jusco, and a miniature set – a birthday gift from my brother Alex. I have the game on my PDA, which I used to play almost everyday.

(1) Up the River, Down the River
The game can be played with almost any number of players (3+) although 4-7 is considered optimal. The game is played using a standard 52-card deck, with ace being the highest rank, two the lowest. With eight or more players, the game can be played with two decks combined.
The first hand is played with one card dealt to each player. On each succeeding deal one more card is dealt out to each player, until there aren't enough cards for another round. This is up the river. After this, the number of cards per player decreases by one every round. The game is complete when the last round (with one card per player) has been played – down the river. For example, a seven-player match consists of 14 deals, from hand size 1 up to 7 and back down to 1.
The dealer deals out the cards one by one, starting with the player to the left, in a clockwise direction, until the required number of cards has been dealt. After the dealing is complete, the next card is turned face up, and the suit of this card determines the trump suit for the deal. If the trump suit is the same as the previous round, then the current round is played without a trump suit. Then, the card of the lead player becomes the trump suit.
Each player is now obliged to bid for the number of tricks he believes he can win. Knocking: After each player has chosen his bid he places his fist on the table. When everyone has chosen they knock on the table together three times, and on the fourth they show their bid by the number of fingers.

Exact scoring with penalty: A player who makes the exact number of tricks bid scores 10 plus the amount bid. Players who underbid or overbid are deducted points in the amount of the bid.

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Whenever the BBC team could get together, we play this game. We even have names for some of the people – sabo King, sabo Queen, sabo Prince. Sabo here refers to sabotage. I played this game the most last year – especially during the pregnancy. There was always so much laughter during the game. Perhaps this is how Jordan got his trademark laughter after so many rounds of Up the River, Down the River. Furthermore, his khai-ma was also in the game with her contagious laughter. Hahaha!

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