By Johann Ruttinger and Jens-Peter Schliemann.
Rules translated by Denis Arnold
Distributed from The Rules Bank by Mike Siggins
A trick and bluff game with bite, from Drei Magier Spiele
For 2 -7 players, from 12 years up
Game duration 10-20 minutes, depending on number of players.
The cards show snakes in yellow, green and black, with values 1-9. There are 2 of each card (twin cards), with the following small but important difference: On one card, the snake has a red fang, i.e. it is POISONOUS. On the other card, the fang is missing, that is NON-POISONOUS. With 2 players, use only the cards up to the 4's of each colour. With 3 use up to the 5's, with 4 use up to the 6's and so on, with 7 players using all the cards, including the 9's. All cards not to be used in the 2 - 6 player games, are put in the box.The youngest player starts. The player on his right shuffles the cards and deals 5 cards to each player. The rest form a face-down stack in the middle of the table,
Each player tries to take as many NON-POISONOUS cards as possible. Each card without a fang counts as 1 plus-point in the scoring at the end of the game (no matter which colour or number-value). Each fang card which you unfortunately often might win, counts as 1 minus-point at the end (likewise irrespective of colour or number).
After each game, the plus-points are added together and the minus points subtracted. The result is noted for each player. Whoever, after a previously agreed number of games, has collected the most plus-points (or the least minus!), has won the game.
Basically, the cards are not played out, but just shown. But you always keep hold of the card so that your thumb covers the snake's head (and also possibly the fang), and place your hand holding the card in the middle of the table.
l. So, the youngest player shows his first card, holding it in his hand with the snake's head covered by his thumb. The other players can see only the colour and number - on no account must they see whether the snake is poisonous or non-poisonous.
2.The next player - the turns go clockwise - must now show a "higher" card (also with his thumb in the crucial place) - or pass.
Only at the beginning of each round does a card have to be shown; at other times there is no compulsion to do so. On his turn, a player can simply pass, but can come back in again next time round.
However, if all the following players pass, the player who has last shown a card, must take all cards played and shown this round, and lay them as a face-down trick in front of him.
That player then begins a new round by showing a card.
The strength/value of the cards depends on the number shown and, in some extent, on the colour - because the strength/value of the card is constantly changing!
It goes like this:
The first colour played in each round is always the weakest, the second colour played is the next strongest, and the third colour is always the strongest.
Example - The first player shows the yellow 3. The next player has several possibilities of beating this:
a) He can play the second yellow 3, taking the trick and laying down both yellow snakes and, in turn, offering a new card (see below).
b) He can show a higher card - that is, any yellow snake from value 4 upwards - or any green or black snake he likes. With green or black, the number value can even be less than 3 .
3. If a player has the twin card (poisonous/non-poisonous card of the same colour and number) of the last shown card, he can parry with it; he immediately ends the action and gets the trick (all played and shown cards).
This provides an important tactical possibility for winning the trick, if you know or even guess that it contains a lot of nonpoisonous cards.
4.When it is the first player's turn again, and that player wants to carry on, he must lay his first card face-up on the table, and show a new thumb-covered card. If the next player also wants to raise, he also lays his first card face-up and shows a new one - always with his thumb covering the snake's head.
5.After a completed round, each player must again either show or pass.
As long as there are enough in the stack, the cards in hand are made up to five again after each round, with the player who made the last decision being the first to make-up his hand. The other players top-up their hands in turn clockwise. If the draw-pile is empty, the game is almost at an end.
6.The game ends if either no player or only one player has cards in his hand. (If the stack is used up, you cannot top-up your hand any more, so you hold less and less).
Now, each card that a player still has in his hand, counts as a minus-point, even if it is non-poisonous! All the minus-points are subtracted from the plus-points, and the net score is noted on the pad after each game.
7.After a pre-determined number of games, the winner is the player with the most net plus-points.
The Game Cabinet - email@example.com - Ken Tidwell