#1 ASBS, a Mystery Rummy game, English language edition
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(Worth 1,835 Funagain Points!)
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from 19 customer reviews
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The players are bounty hunters who work cooperatively and competitively to try to capture the most notorious outlaws of the old west. They do this by collecting and playing sets of cards for the various outlaws. When a player plays a set, he both adds to the reward and improves his chances for collecting the reward for that outlaw. At the end of each hand, players collect money for the outlaws they helped in capturing. After several hands, the player who has collected the most money in rewards is the winner!
Originally developed to be in the Mystery Rummy series, the game uses some of the recognizable mechanisms from this series, with some truly wonderful twists and additions.
This game is a super game that takes about 15 minutes to learn and a lifetime to try and get your own back. The basic concept of gin rummy is greatly enhanced by the addition of wild cards. These wild cards, called sheriff cards, enable a range of actions from stealing opposing players cards to negating their declared cards to gunning for the fastest gun in the West. This game is fun with two players, but gains in competitive/back-stabbing potential as the number of players increases. The game time is flexible enough that you can have a 30 minute game or a challenging hour or two!
This is definitely a game that brings laughter and blue air, but is a blast if you need something to energize your evening. Highly recommended!
I play all kinds of games and my family has had this one for two years now...it is still my favorite; a nice balance of stategy and luck, nice looking cards and other playing pieces, enjoyable theme, and just the right length of playing time. I have played with two, three, and four players and have enjoyed it every time.
I'm still new to german games and was wanting something that my wife and I could play together alone but that we could also play with a foursome. I saw all of the great reviews for this game but I could barely get myself to order it. I just didn't get into western themes.
This game didn't let me down. Its our favorite light game. We've played this more than anything. Its short playing time makes it perfect for a game right before bed. It provides a lot of bang for the buck by being just as fun with two, three, or four players. The cards and bits are all top notch and the box includes a great plastic sorter.
I've really gotten into the theme despite my general dislike for westerns. My only dislike of the game is how my wife consistently gets to place a hideout card (or two!) to prevent me from winning. I almost never can get the Wyatt Earp card to get these off. But it only makes me want to play again. She gets all the luck.
There is definitely a lot of luck involved in the game but that is what makes it so light and entertaining. For what it is, a light game, Wyatt Earp in my opinion is highly recommended.
Our favorite rummy variant, selected for last year's Games 100, is still high on our Most Wanted List. Meld Outlaw cards to increase a fugitive's initial reward, simultaneously adding the cards' Capture Points. Playing a Sheriff card allows you to steal opponents' cards or to nastily cancel their melds. When a player's last card is discarded, fugitives with sufficient Capture Points are apprehended. Accumulated bounty goes either to the one player whose melds are sufficiently ahead of competitors in Capture Points, or is shared by all. You'll encounter many delightful brawls on the road to victory (by collecting $25,000) or to an ignominious defeat!
Each Outlaw's reward starts at $1,000 in this bounty-hunting rummy game. Melding Outlaw cards increases the reward and contributes Capture Points. When a player discards the last card, fugitives' fates are determined. A capture is made only if sufficient Capture Points are showing on everyone's melds for the Outlaw. Anyone sufficiently ahead of the nearest competitor in Capture Points gains the entire reward; otherwise, the posse shares it. Sheriff cards, hardly upholders of the law, help you steal opponents' cards, or nastily cancel the Capture Points on their melds. The smoke clears when the winner reaches $25,000.
Mystery Rummy One: Jack the Ripper is still one of my favorite two player games. I was impressed with Mike Fitzgerald's ability to take such a well-worn concept as rummy and turn it into a truly strategic and enjoyably fresh game idea that holds up well even after many plays. Mystery Rummy has become a small franchise, releasing two more editions that continue to build on the essential ideas revealed in the first but each with their own characteristics and interesting twists. Wyatt Earp, while not formally a part of the Mystery Rummy series, is clearly a descendent of this line and its combination of game play, strength with any of 2, 3, or 4 players, and Alea's high quality production make this one a sure winner.
The theme is the Old West, and seven outlaws are causing havoc across the land and must be stopped. Each of these is represented on a large Wanted Poster card, and they are placed in a circle at the center of the table with a small $1,000 reward on each. Each player gets 10 cards, and play begins in a format that will be similar to Mystery Rummy players from the outset.
Each Outlaw has cards associated with them that can be melded to both increase the capture reward and earn points to share in that reward. On a turn, players draw two cards from the deck or the single card at the top of the discard pile, meld what they wish, and then end their turn with a required discard. Play continues until someone goes out, and then the rewards are paid out to those that have the most points for the capture.
When a meld is made for a specific outlaw, the reward increases by $1,000 per card for every card over the first played. So, the minimum three card initial meld would result in the addition of $2,000 to the Wanted Poster for that outlaw. Subsequent outlaw cards played against the initial meld can be placed in any number, but single cards will not increase the reward. Outlaw cards are worth two capture points each. Sheriff Cards, which are like the Gavel Cards in the Mystery Rummy games, add the strategic element to the rummy concept and only one can be played per turn (sound familiar yet?).
Each Outlaw has a Photo Card, designated as one of the Sheriff cards, which is worth four capture points and another $1,000 to the reward but can only be played after an initial meld is made (like the Suspect cards in Jack the Ripper). The rules state that the Photo cards are played on your turn as your single Sheriff card, but Mike Fitzgerald has advised that the preferred way to play the game is to allow the photo to be played out of turn as soon as the initial meld is laid if desired. In practice this works very well and is the recommended way to use this card.
Bank Robbery and the Stagecoach Robbery cards add both capture points and reward dollars, but they are not guaranteed. In a nicely designed feature, each requires a test to see if their "shot" is successful. When played, the top card of the deck is revealed and if it is an Outlaw card the Robbery is successful. The outlaw cards show a bullet hole in their lower left hand corner to indicate this. If another card, one without a bullet hole, is drawn then the attempt fails and the Robbery card must be discarded, but this counts as the Sheriff card attempt for that turn. The Fastest Gun card is similar, but like the Alibi card in Mystery Rummy One only one of these can be on the table at any time. After all, how can there be two "fastest guns?" If successfully played, the previously played Fastest Gun card is discarded.
The Most Wanted card has two abilities and is quite useful. First, it can be used to ask other players for a specific Outlaw card, and it must be surrendered by the player asked if he has it. If not, the request rotates until it is filled or all players have confirmed that they are void of the card. The Most Wanted card can also be used to take a card that has been played by another player, but if used this way it must pass the "shot" test as above. A player can use a Hideout Card to void any played capture points for a single Outlaw by another player. If it passes the shot test, the Hideout is placed on the meld and unless removed those points will not count for that player during the scoring.
The last Sheriff card is of course Wyatt Earp himself. Wyatt is a versatile guy and nice to have around, since he can help you in three ways. First, you can play him to simply draw two cards from the stack. Secondly, he can be used to search through the discard pile and take a card. Lastly, he can remove a Hideout that has been played on one of your melds if his shot is successful.
Once a player goes out, scoring takes place. Unlike other rummy games including the Mystery Rummy series, cards held in your hand at the end do not count against you. Each outlaw is evaluated to see if they were captured. To be captured, at least eight total capture points must have been played by all players cumulatively, otherwise the reward money rolls to the next round. If at least eight points were played, the players with points against that outlaw share in the reward with the most points getting the first dibs and an extra $1,000 in the take. To share in the reward, however, each contributing player must be within five points of the highest point player, otherwise they were not helpful enough and do not participate. The first player to collect $25,000 in reward money wins the game.
The play of the game is fluid and there are difficult decisions to be made about how to play your cards, when to meld, and what to discard. If someone plays a three-card meld for the Sundance Kid, for example, it may be tempting to play your single Sundance Kid card on your turn but in doing so you bring the total capture points up to the minimum which may or may not be wise. In a four-player game, you don't get many turns before someone goes out, so using each turn efficiently is crucial. The variability of the "shot" attempts with the Sheriff cards balances out, but it still adds a sense of randomness that can be disconcerting but is perfectly in theme.
A real strength of the game is its robustness with any number of players. The box states that the game is best with three, and it clearly works very well in this format but is also strong with two or four. Having a good three-player game on the shelves is always a good thing, however, and this one will not disappoint. Like the Mystery Rummy games, Wyatt Earp also includes a lot of historical text about each of the real-life characters on the Wanted Posters. The Alea production is top notch, with high quality cards and nice graphics. This is the first in Alea's small box series, and continues their excellent selection of material for publication that gamers have come to expect after their first four larger box games (Ra, Chinatown, Taj Mahal, and Princes of Florence).