#1 ASBS, a Mystery Rummy game, English language edition
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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.
Earp gets plenty of play here.
It doesn't take too long; some games are quick, once in a rare while we finish by getting through the deck twice (it always takes less time than Bohnanza); and it's pretty simple.
After reading the rules and seeing R.Borg as one of the designers, I was afraid this would be like Hera and Zeus. In that game, each card has its own special effects and we were continually referring to the manual. In Earp, while there are several different cards it's not at all confusing. I even tried it out on my wife and another non gaming couple with some success :-)
Mix a bit of strategy and a bit of luck; makes for a good game that comes out often!
This game is a riot. The rules at first seem messy to explain, but you catch on quickly when you get going. The rule modification suggested by the designer re photo card (cf boardgamegeek) is a must.
I find the game moves along at a good clip, and people are quite interested in their scores, those of others.. and knowing what went into the discard pile and how the bounties keep getting modified means no dead time even on the 4 player version. That is a commendable feature in a card game.
The 'shot' element is very well done.. it keeps people from being 100% certain of dominating the game by drawing a few good cards. A single well placed hideout card can make a mess of a payout, too, so plodding along building a monopoly is curtailed as well. All in all, I found it very balanced.
On our virgin run, people were trying all kinds of stuff on each other right from the get go, and since it's about outlaws and all that, nobody really minded when they got 'robbed' and just worked that much harder to get even. I think the robberies on Kuhhandel were less well received :-)
Not only does it give a fun history lesson, it teaches you the way of life in the Ol' West. Robbin' stage coaches, holdin' up banks, and hiding out in your... hideouts are just a few of the interesting perks. I benefited personally from this game when I went on Jeopardy and was asked the question as to who tried to rob 2 banks at once. I was able to say with confidence, 'Who is Bob Dalton?'. A definite must-buy for all you cowboys out there. Yee Haw!
This is the BEST card game I've EVER played. Your options are numerous, and the fun is immeasurable. And when the game is done, you'll spend hours reading over the information on the playing pieces about the goll derndest bad guys of the wild Wild West. I can't say enough about this most fantastic of games. Bravo to the game makers.
I read Randy's review of Wyatt Earp and I really wanted to pipe in with a somewhat different view. I've found Wyatt Earp to be one of the few games that seems to have very wide appeal--I've played it with family, non-gamer friends and gamer-friends; it has gone over very well almost universally. Sure, there is the occasional person who does not like the system, but for the most part, it has proven popular with many repeat plays. Most have found Wyatt Earp a fun game with a good mix of luck and strategy in a 45 minute time frame. The components are excellent considering the price--I only wish the cards were full sized.
I've played Wyatt Earp about 20 times with 2, 3 and 4 players (I find 3 to be the best, but it works with all three numbers) and it's still going strong. In addition, it is the only game that has been played every week by different people at my game group since its US release approximately 4 months ago. I think this has staying power. Highly recommended--especially if you liked any of the [page scan/se=0456/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Mystery Rummy series of games. For the combination of reasonable price, nice components, excellent replayability and wide appeal, I'll give it 5 stars!
First a disclaimer: I have been a playtester for all of Mike Fitzgerald's [page scan/se=0456/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Mystery Rummy games as well as for Wyatt Earp. Furthermore, I enjoy them all tremendously. If you are a card player, these are 'must have' titles.
That said, let me clue you in to some strategy for the newest game: Wyatt Earp.
Some reviewers have mentioned that getting a lot of Sheriff cards can be a detriment to your play--but this isn't necessarily true. A player can be well-served by biding his time and playing through those Sheriff cards. They are extremely powerful when used wisely--especially when used to steal from melds on the table! Don't have a piece of Belle Starr you say? Easily fixed with a Most Wanted Sheriff card, whose successful play allows you to take any Outlaw card melded on the table. Then add a Bank Robbery or a Fastest Gun and perhaps tie or take first place in the bounty for Belle--all without EVER having a Belle Starr card in your hand!
To conclude, I truly can't think of a series of games that give so much bang for the buck. Wyatt Earp stands tall with the rest of the Fitzgerald rummy card games.
What a fine game Wyatt Earp is!
My wife and I have fallen in love with Mike Fitzgerald's [page scan/se=0456/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Mystery Rummy games, Jack the Ripper and Rue Morgue. We enjoy quick playing card games, and the rummy mechanics with a twist work very well for our relaxed gaming times.
So we were ready for Mike's new effort with Richard Borg (whose Battle Cry has lured my 9 year old son into wargaming). And Wyatt Earp has been a five-star success for us.
Wyatt Earp builds on the Mystery Rummy mechanics. Collect melds of 3 or more in a suit (here the suits are Old West outlaws). Add special scoring cards for more meld points. Use other special cards to draw extra cards, take cards from your opponent(s), or even (temporarily) wipe out an opponent's meld in one suit.
Game play follows the tried and true: draw (here 2, not 1, from stock), play meld and a special card, and then discard one. Play continues until someone empties their hand, or you've been thru the 78 card deck twice. Wyatt Earp's new mechanics come in two areas: making special cards work, and scoring.
Many cards in the game have a special power, but there's a twist. If you play one of these 'sheriff' cards (think 'gavel' cards from the earlier Mystery Rummy games), you turn over the next draw card. If it's an outlaw card (one of the 'suit' cards), the sheriff card's special power works. If the draw card isn't an outlaw card, the sheriff card fails. And you can only play one sheriff card per turn.
The other new twist is scoring. There are 7 suits--outlaws--and each comes with a 'Wanted Poster.' At the start of every round of play, $1000 is placed on each poster (money is provided in little cardboard 1K and 5K chits--very nicely done). A meld of 3 cards places more $$ on the poster, as do various special cards (Bank Robberies, Photos, Quickest Draw in the West, etc...). At the end of a hand, players share out the reward money on the posters, based on who has the most meld for each outlaw. First player to reach $25,000 wins.
The game plays fast, and the rules are quickly assimilated. There's plenty of opportunity to mess with the leader, but everything you can do to someone can also be undone. The graphics and components are 1st class--Rio Grande provides its usual outstanding production values. And play time comes in at around 30 minutes a game, with (usually) 3 hands played (with 2 players--we haven't played the 3 or 4 handed version yet).
Overall, a fine continuation of the Mystery Rummy lineage--highly recommended to anyone who likes this type of light but very entertaining fare.
My first rummy game by Mike Fitzgerald was Mystery Rummy No. 1: Jack the Ripper, which we enjoyed quite a bit. Not only did it play well, but I actually learned something about the Jack The Ripper story.
Then along came Wyatt Earp (Richard Borg collaborating with Fitzgerald), which added the reward money scoring to the system, and produced an even better game. We've played it a number of times over the past couple of years, and although we don't play it as often was we did when it was new (There being so many games for our group to choose from), it is always fun and refreshing when we bring it out once more.
I think the reviews of Baldanza and McCallion are on the mark. There is just enough player interaction to make it more than multiple solitaire, without getting chaotic.
This is probably the best rummy variant around, and I highly recommend it.
Now, for those who remember the old TV Western series 'Wyatt Earp,' here's the rest of that stanza: ' . . . Long live his name, and long live his glory, And long may his story be told.'
(Sorry 'bout that.)
Wyatt Earp is one of those games that needs to be in everyone's collection. It's perfect for hard core gaming sessions as well as for those who just want to have some fast paced fun.
First off, the game looks great. The wanted posters, and playing cards have top quality artwork, and are on excellent quality stock so they'll last a long time. And for all you educationally minded folks, you might actually even learn a thing or two about some of the outlaws in the old west.
Second, each page of rules has a summary on the side bars that goes over the important points of play. That way teaching people how to play is much easier.
Finally, the game plays great. 'Shooting' for success or failure is a truly unique component and makes things a little more interesting. Other than that, Wyatt Earp is the right combo of luck and skill.
Do yourself a favor and pick this one up!! I give it a 4 only because of its simplicity versus other games like Tikal or Puerto Rico. But as far as card games go, this one's a 5+.
Nice rummy style game. The 'draw 2, discard 1' mechanic is interesting since you end up with a larger hand if you do not meld. Of course, there are so many sheriff cards that you can generally meld at least one card a turn, if you like.
The Wyatt Earp card is a nice idea, too. This one card can be played to either increase your hand size, take a previously discarded card, or counteract a Hideout played on you (even when it is not your turn!). Nice flexibility.
It is fun with two players, but more enjoyable with more (especially 4). With more players, a greater variety of outlaws will be melded, giving players more chances to 'get in on' somebody else's reward money.
Games are nice and quick, too: usually only 3 or 4 hands. Recommended.
Let me say, I really like this game. I think the only problems I have are with how it was produced. This is by no means a reflection on the game designers, but rather the production company.
I feel that the rules are quite vague in some places, and even misleading in others. With some discussion, the intent of most of them is clear, but the ambiguity remains in other areas.
The paper $ counters are a little too small to handle, and will be easily lost. I'm sliding towards dice as a replacement.
Now, all that said, for the price, it's great! It's a LOT of fun, even with the gaming-impaired or the gaming virgins out there ;)
It's nice to see a simple, but intellectually stimulating game doing so well... but it's no surprise. :)
My regular group got together last night to play this and Way Out West. We got into the mood for Western Games night by watching the end of 'The Magnificent Seven' and popping an Ennio Morricone CD into the player....
This game was easy to pick up and play with very little explaination. It was less cutthroat than Way Out West, due to the more 'cooperative' nature of the game.
It took about 4 hands to get a winner, although it was almost finished in 3 because the bounty on the Sundance Kid was so high, but luckly it was split between two instead of all of it going to the player who eventually won the game (he would have won had he claimed the whole bounty).
Next time we're gonna have to get some cowboy hats to wear while playing....
I agree with the positive reviews already stated here. This game plays well, and like the [page scan/se=0456/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Mystery Rummy games, adds a number twists to the basic rummy format to create soemthing better.
There is no reason you shy away from the game just because it is a take-off on a basic card game. I have played this and the Mystery Rummy games and find them all to be well thought out. Fitzgerald does a great job with these games.
For a few hours of enjoyment with friends or family, Wyatt Earp works well.
Four stars is deserved for the genre it falls into; five is overdoing it a bit.
Let me start by saying that I'm not a huge fan of rummy games. This being said, the [page scan/se=0456/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Mystery Rummy series and now Wyatt Earp have thoroughly impressed me.
The twist in Wyatt Earp is the scoring. Players are competing for shares of reward money for seven different outlaws. The greater the value of a meld, the greater the reward.
Where the Mystery Rummy games use gavel cards for special actions, Wyatt Earp uses a wide variety of sheriff cards. Players can play one sheriff card per turn. These can be used to increase the value of melds, draw extra cards, search the discard deck or steal cards from opponents' hands or already-played melds. It is the manipulation of the sheriff cards that give the game a lot more depth than a traditional rummy game as well as giving players more interesting choices during the course of a hand.
Games play fairly quickly, under an hour, with a winner usually determined in 3-5 hands. I have really enjoyed this game--much more than I thought I would. I highly recommend it to fans of card games, especially rummy games, non gamers, and gamers as well.
If you like any of the other Mystery Rummy games, then this is a must try. If you haven't tried any of them, then Wyatt Earp is a great place to start.
I am a fan of rummy games. There is something satisfying in finally being able to lay down that perfect meld. Wyatt Earp is one of the best rummy games I have ever played.
Why only three stars? Because it just doesn't seem to appeal to a wide enough audience, despite its cleverness. My wife is slightly more than a casual gamer, while the rest of her family is definitely in the casual-at-best category. Getting them interested in learning Wyatt Earp is something of a chore. On the other hand, the random luck of the shootouts seems to turn off more hardcore strategists. When I told a rabid gamer friend of mine about the game and described its mechanics, he turned his nose up at the thought of successful actions being determined by the flip of a card.
Wyatt Earp is a good game. In fact, it is a VERY good game. It just doesn't seem to inspire people to want to play. For a game to be rated more highly it must either have universal appeal or be a closet classic, something that can be recognized on other merits. Hopefully your luck will be better than mine at finding like-minded players.
There are a bunch of outlaws (7) for you to 'capture.' The game is symmetric--all outlaw cards are 2 points, so the outlaw names and background are for color only.
There are two types of cards: Outlaw and Sheriff. The outlaw cards are all the same--they list a specific outlaw (color coded if you don't want to bother with names) and have a '2' in the corner. The Sheriff cards let you take actions against other players or try to boost your score. You can only play one Sheriff card per turn.
There is a large cardboard piece for each outlaw. On the piece you put small cardboard money ($1000 or $5000) markers. Each outlaw starts with $1000.
You start with a 10 card hand. First you draw, either 2 cards from top of the stack or the 1 top card in the discard pile. Then you can play as many outlaw cards as you like (if they are legal) and one Sheriff card (you can play a Sheriff card before, after, or in the middle of the outlaw cards). To 'start' a new outlaw you need a set of 3 or more cards for that outlaw. Once an outlaw has been started, any player may play any number of cards for that outlaw. Your cards are played in front of you and are your points towards capturing that outlaw. When outlaw cards are played the cash on the outlaw is increased by $1000 x (number of cards played minus 1). So playing a group of 3 cards puts another $2000 on the outlaw. Playing 1 card adds nothing (but gives you points toward capture). Sheriff cards let you do things like bank robberies to add to an outlaw's reward money and to your score towards capturing him or her. Some of them let you draw more cards or try to nullify an opponent's outlaw cards. At the end of the turn you MUST discard a card.
The hand ends when someone is out of cards (or, rarely, when you shuffle the discards and go through them a 2nd time before anyone is out). At that point you score. If there are not at least 8 points out for an outlaw, he stays free. This could happen if no one played any of that outlaw's cards, or if just the first three cards came out (they are 2 points each) or if someone nullified some of the outlaw cards with a Sheriff card. Given at least 8 points out, the outlaw is captured. If someone has a big lead in points for that outlaw, he gets all the reward. For closer results, the reward money is split.
If anyone has $25000 the game is over. The winner is player with the most money. Otherwise, you play another hand. Any uncaptured outlaw remains with previous reward money on him (which will introduce some asymmetry in the next hand) and the others all are set free with an initial $1000 reward. Shuffle, deal and play again. Money is victory points only--you never spend it on anything.
A game lasts about 4 hands. The rules are not very well written or organized, but you eventually figure them out. If you are dealt a hand of mostly Sheriff cards, you're out of luck. Even if they do good things, you can only play one a turn and without enough outlaw cards to make a set, you end up playing singles and never getting the most points for an outlaw.
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).