14 February, 2013

for those who love to play badam-saat

well.. it's been looong since I wrote something here! Reasons being many! Back with a card game!

A bit (?) of background follows. Sunday evenings have been boring almost always and one Sunday evening I got so bored that I decided to play cards all alone. I hate playing cards alone. I like to play cards in group (of 3-4, not more). These days its just my mother and I who play cards if at all. The only 2-3 sensible card games that we knew of - Rummy, saat-aaTh and memory game - had already been repeated many times and we were bored of playing those again. I love playing badam-saat but with just 2 players it is not sensible to play it as it reveals the entire state of game. I finally stopped (trying to pay) playing cards alone and did a Google search on "two players card games". No doubt, it returned me a long list but that was not useful! First - the explanation of games was in English (:D) and it was going all over and above my head. I finally found one game - which I though I'm understanding after reading it. Then I sat down and started playing it - myself playing both roles - player 1 and player 2. In no time, I realized that I had only "read" it and have not understood even a bit of it! :D Enough, I said. I thought for a minute and I started designing my own game. The game I was just reading about - over the internet - was afresh in my brain and my all time favorite badam-saat was at the back of my mind - and these two together gave rise to the following game. My mother and I like playing it since then. It's simple and enjoyable! And yes, for those who love playing badam-saat just like me, this is a good option if you don't have more than 2 players.

Enough of "prastavana" (background)!! Now, the real game! (Note, after we started playing this game, we just felt that probably such game is already known - just that I did not do a proper search on the web! - in which case it's okay, in fact great! I do not claim any patent ;) but yes it did come to my mind just like that! and above all, its enjoyable!).

In the end, there a dry run for this game. Probably, looking at that first would help, than going through lengthy text explaining "how to play"

Just to summarize, following is how we play badam-saat:

Cards required = 52 (all)

Deal = Dealer will deal a single card to each player and keep rotating unless all cards are dealt. (Depending on number of players, some may get more cards than others, but that is okay!)

"Daav" = "daav" is like a round - one set in which all players get one chance to play. The player with a badam saat (card 7 of suite Heart) card will play it first - keep it on the table face up. Then either clockwise or anti-clockwise, other players will start playing a card or say "pass" and likewise it continues.

Play or pass = A player when his/her turn, will simply check all cards in their hand and check if any of those can be put on table. A card can be put on the table (face up) only if it is sequential to cards already on table. For example, in the beginning there is just one card "badam saat" on table. The only possible cards at this point are "badam chhakki" (6 of heart) or "badam atthee" (8 of heart) as far as badam is concerned. But, this is a game of "satti"s! sevens are kings here! You also can put a card on table if its any of the "satti"s. That means, in addition to "badam chakki" and "badam atthee", one can also put "kilwar satti" (7 of club) or "ispik satti" (7 of spade) or "choukat satti" (7 of diamond) at this point. Everytime, one has to keep in mind what are the least and highest value cards that are face up on the table for all four suits and see if they have any card(s) which are in sequence with those. An elaborate example follows. Let's say there are following cards already face up on the table - badam (saat, chakki, panji, atthee, nasshee, dasshee) (i.e. Heart - 7, 6, 5, 8, 9, 10), kilwar (satti, chakki) (i.e. Club 7, 6), ispik (satti, chakki, panji, chouwi, atthee) (i.e. Spade 7, 6, 5, 4, 8) and no choukat (i.e. Diamond - none). Then the only cards which can possibly be played are - badam (chouwwi, gotu) (i.e. Diamond 4, Jack) , kilwar (atthee, panjee) (i.e. Club 8, 5), ispik (tirri, nasshee) (i.e. Spade 3, 9) and chokat sattee (i.e. Diamond 7). If a player who is going to play next has any of these cards, he/she can put it on the table face up. If a player does not have any such card, he/she will announce a "pass" for this current turn.

End of game = the game ends when one of the players has played all his/her cards and is empty hand now. He/she is the winner for the game. At this point, in a standalone setting, he/she is just announced as winner and they can start playing a new game or they can use scoring (see below).  

Scoring = The players are scored (penalized) based on the values of cards they remain with. The winner will have 0 penalty as he/she has played all the cards. Any other player except winner will sum up the values / ranks of cards he/she is left with - for example, if one has "badam raaja" (Heart King) and "kilwar ekka" (Club Ace) then one will be scored (penalized with) 13 + 1 = 14 points. Here, the suite does not matter but just the value. If scoring is used, the players can pre-decide how many games to play (say 7, 10, etc.) and can accumulate the penalties per game per player. At the end of pre-decided number of games, whoever has least score (penalty) is the winner. Whethere to count Ace as point 1 or points 14 depends on where it is decided to be put in sequence. For example, if the players decide to put it on durri (card 2), its value becomes 1 and so point 1. If players decide to put it on raja (card King), its value is more than raja and point 14. Whatever it is, it has to be kept constant for the pre-decided number of games so that scoring is uniform.

Trick = which card to play in your turn? - It may be possible to have multiple cards in hand which are in sequence to the cards face up on the table. In this case, which card to play? well, simplest answer is "any one"! but the trick here is to play the card which will (help :D) unblock least cards for others and most cards for the player himself/herself. For example, if one has "ispik dasshee" (Spade 10), "badam dasshee" (Heart 10) and "badam raaja" (Heart King) as possible cards which can be played, and if the one does not have any higher value card of suite ispik than dasshee, then for time being at least, one can play badam dasshee because that would unblock (at least help) one's own badam raaja to be played and it has still blocked other ispik cards (gotu, raani, raja i.e. Jack, Queen, King) which are probably in others' hands. This way, one can optimize based on judgements. Note that this is a locally optimal decision.

Now the new game! I would call it "asymmetric badam-saat". The reasons will be clear (I hope!) as we discuss the details. Let's go point-wise just as above. We are considering just two players here, as that's why the game was designed! ;) but it can be played with more players as well.

Cards required = 52 (all)

Deal = Dealer will deal 4 cards each. Let's call the other player as opponent (!). Dealer will also put 4 cards face up on the table. Remaining deck is just kept aside. Note, these could be anything, unlike the four sevens that may eventually turn up in badam-saat game! So, you are set with 4 cards with dealer and 4 with opponent and 4 face up on the table.

"Daav" = opponent gets to play first, he/she will start the "daav". The turn - (whose turn = whether the opponent or the dealer will start a daav) - will keep changing (see below). Right now, for the first time, it's opponent's turn. "Play / pass" criteria is almost same as badam-saat. It is elaborated below. If both the players have announced "pass" then their are two scenarios. If this is the first "all-pass" scenario since the beginning of the game, the players first have to make sure that all four suits are on the table. That means, if the four cards initially face up on the table are "ispik chouwi", "badam raani", "kilwar ekka" and "badam nasshee", (i.e. Spade 4, Heart Queen, Club Ace, Heart 9) then players first have to put the cards from "choukat" (Diamond) suite in order to make the set on the table complete. In other scenario, when this is not a first "all-pass" situation, each player will take a new card from the deck of cards kept aside. In which order should they take the card - opponent first and then the dealer (this matches with original order when the cards were dealt in the beginning).

"who gets to play first" - As I mentioned, the "daav" / turn / who gets to play first will keep changing. In the beginning, its opponent's turn first. When there is "all-pass" situation, there will always be a player (either dealer or opponent, not necessarily always the opponent) who announced "pass" first. This player will now get a chance to start next "daav". So, in both of the above "all-pass" mentioned scenarios (either "get-all-suites-out" or "take-a-card"), it's that person's turn who had announced the "pass" first in an "all-pass" situation.

End of game - This is obviously when either of the player plays all his/her cards and is left with empty hand.

Scoring - Well, didn't think much about this. But, a reasonable scoring technique would be just to extend "badam-saat" scoring. Whoever is left with cards (note, there may be cards in the deck kept aside which will be counted in the cards owned by the loser!) - just sum up the ranks of all cards - independent of which suite. Again, whether to count an Ace as 1 or 14 depends on where it is allowed to keep - on "durri" or "raaja". Straight forward enough!

Dry run of Asymmetric badam-saat follows:
Dealer - D, Opponent - O, Cards on table - T
Suites: Dimond -  SD, Spade - SS, Heart - SH, Club - SC
D - deals 4 cards each to D and O and 4 cards face up on the table.
D - has SD1, SS6, SSKing, SH7
O - has SHKing, SSQueen, SH8, SD5
T - SS5, SS9, SD8, SHJack

"daav" 1:
O - can play nothing! Announces "pass" - first one to announce "pass"
D - can play SS6 only - has to play

D - has SD1, SSKing, SH7
O - has SHKing, SSQueen, SH8, SD5
T - SS5-6, SS9, SD8, SHJack

(note, still "daav" 1 continues, as there is no "all-pass" situation yet!)
O - can play (still) nothing! Announces "pass" - first one to announce "pass"
D - now, can play nothing! Announces "pass"
-- "all-pass"
-- "first ever "all-pass" since beginning of the game!
-- meaning, they have to make sure all suites are up on the table
-- only missing on table is SC
-- It's still O's turn as O announced the "pass" first.

O - does not have any card for SC!
D - does not have any card for SC either!
-- (what to do??)
-- (simply continue, pretend as if there was no "first all-pass" yet!)

O, D take 1 card each from the deck
O - has SHKing, SSQueen, SH8, SD5, SC3 (new card!)
D - has SD1, SSKing, SH7, SH1

-- remember, we pretended there was no "first all-pass" yet? Re-visit that decision!
O - "Oh, I have a SC card" plays SC3
D - has no card to play. Announces "pass" - first one to announce "pass"
T - SS5-6, SS9, SD8, SHJack, SC3

O - has no card to play. Announces "pass"
D - has already announced "pass"
-- an all-pass situation (again!)
-- not the first ever since beginning of the game!
-- take 1 card each from the deck
-- continue as all suites are already up...