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Game: BUX - the matchin' cash-in card game (NewsCool, Inc.)
Submitted By: Robert Waters
Date: 10/5/2005 8:35:00 PM
BUX, ?the matchin? cash-in card game,? is a new game by NewsCool, Inc. The object of the game is to be the person at the end of play with the most chips. The game begins with each player taking three cards and placing them face up for all to see (this begins each player?s ?spread? of cards). Each player then takes it in turn to perform one of three actions. He may draw three additional cards, placing them face up, and then beginning a bidding war to control these cards and, hopefully, adding them to his spread; or he may swap one of his cards with another player?s card; or he may ?cash-in? a set of three cards to gain more chips.
Each card in the 51 card deck is composed of two symbols: a suit symbol (heart, diamond, club, etc.) and a so-called ?shape? symbol (circle, square, oval, etc.). The object of the game is to collect as many sets of three cards as you can, and then cash them in. If you cash in a set of three cards composed of only one of the symbols (e.g., three ?heart? cards), you get the value in chips printed on the back of the cards. If you cash in three identical cards (e.g., three ?heart/oval? cards), you get a payout of 500 chips. But that?s not all. There are also three BUX cards in the deck. When the first BUX card is drawn, it?s set aside. When the second BUX card is drawn, all payouts are double (i.e., three identical cards would be worth 1000 chips). When the third BUX card is drawn, the game stops momentarily, all discards are shuffled back into the deck (including the three BUX cards), and play continues. This is repeated through three decks, until the third and final BUX card is drawn in deck three. At that point, the game ends, players count up their chips, and a winner is declared.
In terms of production values, BUX is very solid. A nice sturdy box containing more than enough high-quality poker chips, a chip tray, and a deck of cards. The rules themselves are easy enough to read and follow.
In terms of game play, however, there are a few rough spots. A two-player game is pretty solid; given the size of the deck, the game lasts longer and a player is able to take advantage of card swaps more readily. Plus, there?s a much greater chance of acquiring three-of-a-kind and therefore cashing in on double-BUX payouts. In a four-player game, these advantages tend to wane. Decks two and three are, by virtue of the rules, smaller than deck one, because only discards are shuffled back in; cards currently in each player?s spread are not (and this can be a rather high number of cards if a player is holding back to get a better payout). In my four-player game, this meant that by deck three, we had only one and a half turns before the game ended. By deck three, then, there was little reason to swap cards with anyone, because by the time your turn came back around, the game was over. Also, we never had an opportunity to receive double-BUX payouts in both decks two and three because the third and final BUX card came out too quickly.
These problems with 4-plus player games are not, in my opinion, insurmountable. There?s enough inherent quality in BUX that, with a few modifications, a multi-player game can be very enjoyable. One simple solution is to add another deck, and this is certainly recommended with five or more players. Other solutions may be a few house rules, such as having all cards (even those in spreads) reshuffled back into decks two and three. This kind of adjustment might create a greater urgency to cash in cards, since a player cannot rely on holding cards back to improve his payouts in subsequent decks (which is difficult to do anyway because the third BUX card tends to show up too quickly). Another possible solution is to reduce the number of BUX cards in decks two and three. The first deck would have three; the second two; and the third only one. The double-BUX payouts would have be adjusted accordingly, of course, but this would reduce the chance of a deck ending prematurely (and if yo