|Poker (sort-of) but with more stacking and pyramids. Played with 2 or more people.|
|Players:||2 - 6|
|Trios per color:||1 per player plus one additional set|
|Number of colors:||5|
|Five-color sets:||1 per player plus one additional set|
|- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -|
|Setup time:||Quick Medium|
|BGG Link:||Plutonian Poker|
|Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987|
|Based upon poker rules and pyramid mechanics.|
Right before a big poker tournament on Pluto, it was discovered that an out-of-touch supply officer had ordered Martian pyramids instead of Earthican playing cards, thinking they were the "same basic thing." Too late to uninvite the participants, the tournament coordinators spent two standard galactic months (~7 Earth hours) creating a solution. This is what they came up with.
Using a communal pool of pyramids, players take turns trying to construct hands of high point value. As the lower level pieces are used, they give access to higher scoring ones, meaning players must be careful as they work their way through the "deck."
This requires matching treehouse sets equal to the number of players plus one (2 players use 3 sets, 3 players use 4 sets, etc.). Setup is similar to Twin Win, but with more pyramids. Take all pyramids and "shuffle" them; construct trees of randomized colors. The distribution doesn't matter, though ideally no two pyramids of the same color should be touching in a stack.
Players alternate turns. Select the first player at random or by vote. On their turn a player takes any pyramid that is at the top of a stack and places it in front of them. You may place a pyramid on top of other ones you have grabbed, but you may not switch their order/placement once they are in stacks in front of you. There is no limit to the number of stacks you may have in front of you, but each of them is separate for the purposes of scoring.
The goal is to construct stacks of certain patterns to earn points. Except for trees and nests, these must all be made of pyramids of the same size - These potential "hands" are;
- Name (Base point value) - requirements; sample
- Tree (20) - Must all be same color
- Nest (20) - Must all be same color
- 5 of a color [Quintet] (12) - stack of 5 identical pyramids
- 4 of a color [Quartet] (10) - stack of 4 identical pyramids
- Straight (8) - one each of 5 different colors, the order does not matter; BRGYO [<<<<<]
- Sub-Straight (6) - one each of 4 different colors, the order does not matter; BRGY [<<<<]
- Full House (5) - this is a stack of 5 pyramids in 2 colors, where the colors alternate; YGYGY [<<<<<]
- 3 of a color [Trio] (4) - stack of 3 identical pyramids
- Two pair (3) - this is a stack of 4 pyramids in 2 colors, where the colors alternate; BRBR [<<<<]
- 2 of a color [Pair] (2) - stack of 2 identical pyramids
All stacks (besides trees, nests and ones made of smalls) also have their base score multiplied depending on the size of the pyramids used to construct it: Stacks of all medium are multiplied by 2, and stacks of all larges are multiplied by 3. So a medium straight would be worth 16 points, a small pair worth 2 points, and a large two pair would be worth 9 points.
The game ends when all pyramids have been taken by players, or when a majority of players (50%+1) agree there are no productive moves left to be made.
Once this happens, count up the values of each players' stacks; The highest score wins!
- Wilds/Jokers - A single nests worth (one large, one medium, and one small) of a 6th color may be placed at the bottom of three of the starting trees at random. Alternately, they may be put in a single color tree, and placed at the center of the play area, with the other trees in circles around them. They may not be grabbed until the circles or grid surrounding them is broken. Wilds count as their own size and any color.
- Turn Order - Instead of a static turn cycle (Player A moves, then Player B, then Player C, repeat), once every player has taken a turn the order is reversed and the most recent player goes again (A,B,C,C,B,A,A,B,C, etc.). This changes the game by making player position and turn order more significant. If using this rule then you may want to choose the initial order non-randomly, as different players will have different strategic considerations (Having turns closer together means a longer gap between them, and consecutive turns come at the cost of the longest wait). Not recommended for games above three players; it will create long periods of inactivity for part of the group.
Basic Strategy Tips
- Remember that you can see what your opponent(s) are building! Sometimes using your turn to deny them a piece is worth it in the long run.
- As a corollary, remember that all your moves open up new pieces to your opponents! Keep an eye on the piece below what you intend to take.
- 5 of a color and Straights have "smaller" versions in the 2/3/4 of a color and sub-straight. Sometimes it's best to cut your losses and work on other stacks.
- Smalls provide no score multiplier, but are the easiest to get; don't underestimate those points in the long run!
Concept and Design Notes
This game went through several stages, but the basic concept of "pyramid poker" was always central. Ideas that were tossed around; communal pool of pieces versus having individual "hands"; how that pool was distributed (a Black ICE grab bag versus randomized trees); having to build trees or having them pre-built; The ability to sacrifice a turn or pyramids to affect your opponents pieces.
Comments welcome, as are playtest results, as this is a second draft. Please put 'em over on the talk page.
- Sheet of eight identical cards with stack types and scoring, for reference by beginning players. (NOTE: Uses 1st edition stack values)