Zum Kuckuck!
By Stefan Dorra
Published by FX Schmid 1997
Translated by Richard Ingram
Distributed from The Rules Bank by Mike Siggins
The winner is the player who at the end has preserved the most
cockatoos.
NB The name is a German phrase which means literally
"To the cuckoos" but is an idiom for "Hell's bells!"
(Kuckuck means both devil and cuckoo).
Contents:
60 number cards (1-60)
24 Nest cards (2x 1-12 Cuckoos)
24 Cockatoo cards (with a cockatoo on the front and cuckoo on the back)
Paper and pen will also be needed for noting points.
Preparations
Shuffle the 60 number cards.
Deal 12 to each player - unused cards go back in the box.
Distribute the 24 cockatoo cards.
Each player counts the little cockatoos (whole and half) on his 12
number cards and takes the same number of cockatoo cards which he lays
in a row in front of him, coloured cockatoo picture side up. (Half
cockatoos are rounded down).
Hint: The number of cockatoo cards reveals information about players'
hands. Players with fewer cockatoo cards have better cards (worth 1 -12
and 49 - 60) and those with more have worse cards (worth 13 - 48).
Shuffle the 24 nest cards and place them on the table as a face down
deck.
How to play
One complete play-through consists of, at most, 12 rounds, and then
scoring will be followed by a new start.
There will be as many cycles of play as there are players:
3 cycles with 3 players
4 cycles with 4
5 cycles with 5
Each round consists of five phases which are always round by round
completed in the same order. Turn over the top two nest cards and place
them next to each other near the deck.
Each player chooses a number card and places it face down. They are
turned over simultaneously. The player with the highest number takes the
lowest value nest card of the two and lays it face up in front of
himself. The player with the second highest number takes the other nest
card. Other players do nothing.
If a player gained nest cards in earlier rounds, new nest cards won are
placed on top of existing ones to form a pile. The topmost card will
always be the only valid one.The player who now has the most cuckoos in
his nest, (i.e. has the highest value nest card atop his pile), must
turn over one of his cockatoo cards so that a fresh-faced, grinning
cuckoo emerges.
Hint: The player turning a cuckoo card will not necessarily be the
person who took the highest value nest card in the last round. If two
players have the highest value nest card, both expose a cockatoo card.
A player with no nest cards counts this as zero when comparing scores.
Each player takes his played number card and discards it on a pile near
his cockatoo cards. These cards cannot be used again in this playing
cycle - thus the cards in your hand will constantly be reduced.
All other rounds follow the same pattern.
If you must turn over a cockatoo card and you have none left, then you
must drop out. Lay your other cards on your discard pile and turn the
cockatoo cards over again. Whoever now has the highest nest card,
reveals one of his cockatoo cards. If he too has to drop out, the same
thing happens.
A cycle ends after 12 rounds when all number and nest cards have been
played, or as soon as only two players are left in.
Now comes the scoring. Each player earns 1 plus point for each of his
cockatoo cards which have not become cuckoos. A player prematurely
eliminated scores 1 minus point. The player with the lowest value nest
card showing scores 1plus point - if there's a tie, those involved both
score. All points are noted down.
Hints: In the unlikely event that a player received no cockatoo cards
at the start, he receives 2 plus points.
A new cycle begins.
Each player picks up all his number cards again and turns cockatoo cards
back to expose their coloured side. Everything is passed to the
player's left hand neighbour. Nest cards are re-shuffled.
Play proceeds as before for the appropriate number of rounds, each set
of cards being used once by each player.
The winner is the player with the highest points total after scoring the
last cycle. In cases of a tie, the winner is the player who achieved
the highest separate result.
Zum Kuckuck, once again!
A more tactical version
Preparations: as before.
How to play: Most points remain the same, with the big exception being
that number cards are not laid face down at the same time, but are
instead laid face up in player order.
After the two nest cards are laid, one player plays a number card face
up, followed by the player to the left, and so on, until all players
have laid a card.
In the first round the player who has received the most cockatoo cards
starts. (Ties to be resolved by a random method).
All other rounds will be begun by the player to the left of that whom
has just 'lost', i.e. who has just been made to turn over a cockatoo
card.
If two players have to turn a card over, the new round begins with the
player to the left of that 'loser' who sits 'behind', i.e. has played
his number card after the other 'loser'.
Example:
The players in clockwise order are A, B, C, D and E.
With B+C dropped, D starts
With A+E dropped, B starts.
If a player drops out, things continue as in the basic version, i.e.
another player must turn over a cockatoo card and then his left hand
neighbour begins in the next round with the playing of a number card.
All other rules remain the same.
The winner is still the player with the highest points total.