Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Historical German Rules


Players: 3 to 6 Apprentices
Age: from 10 years
Time: approx. 45 minutes
Translated by Craig S. Berg, Sr.
Contents: 60 character cards, 1 Tablet of Truth, 1 Parchment of Rules

Once upon a time…
A long, long, time ago, when there was still the famous Magician Academy
in Stonehenge, the Apprentices had to learn this game for the training of their
magic abilities along with other exercises. It served to develop and
strengthen their gift of prediction. Over the years, a deeper understanding of
the game has been lost. An entertaining card game, which was often played
in hotels by workmen, farmers, and soldiers, is all that remains. Only after
the famous English archaeologist Dr. Henry Eitel dug deeply under the
standing stones of Stonehenge and discovered historical parchment scrolls in
old vaults did the true history of Wizard again come to light. The following
rules correspond with the wording of the age-old parchments. The
illustrations on the cards give the feeling for the old participants.

The Task
With this magic pack of cards the Apprentices must predict the exact number
of tricks they will win in each round. Experience Points are awarded for a
correct forecast. Whoever collected the most points at the end of the game
wins and with that success will ascend to the level of a wise Wizard.

The Preparation
One player is appointed the Confidant of the Apprentices. The Confidant
receives the Tablet of Truth, enters the names of the players, and
conscientiously keeps track of Experience Points awarded during the game.
Afterwards the Confidant shuffles the character cards and deals them out.

The Character Cards
There are four different colors: Humans (blue), Elves (green), Dwarves (red),
Giants (yellow)
The strongest card in each color is the “13”, the weakest card is the “1”.
The four Wizard cards (“Z”) are always Trump. They are higher than every
The four Fool cards (“N”) are never Trump. They are lower than every “1”.

Distributing the Cards
With “Wizard” the Apprentices receive a different number of cards in each
In the first round only one card is dealt to each player. Therefore, only one
trick can be won in this round.
In the second round two cards are dealt to each player. In this round there
are two tricks to win.
In the third round three cards are dealt to each player, then four cards in the
fourth round, etc. until in the last round all cards are dealt out to the players.
Cards that are not dealt to the players form a face down deck in the middle of
the table. For each round the role of the dealer passes clockwise to the next
Apprentice to the left.

After the cards are dealt out, the top card of the deck is turned face up. This
card determines the Trump color for the current round.
If the card is a Fool, then there is no Trump in the current round.
If the card is a Wizard, then the dealer determines Trump. He may
examine his cards first.
The last round has no Trump, since there are no cards left.

The Predictions
After each Apprentice looks at his cards, he must predict how many tricks he
will take in this round. Each Apprentice in sequence tells their predictions to
the Confidant. This starts with the player to the left of the dealer. These bids
are noted on the Tablet of Truth.
Before the first trick the Confidant should repeat the predictions for
everyone. Sometimes it can be helpful to lay out the bids in the form of
chips before each respective Apprentice. That way it is easy to see during
the course of the round who still needs tricks and who does not want any

The Battle for the Trick
The player to the left of the dealer plays the first card for the first trick. The
other Apprentices follow in a clockwise direction. The led color must be
followed. If that is not possible, an Apprentice can throw off any color or
play Trump.
Wizard and Fool cards may always be played, even if a player could follow
the led color. Also a player does not have to play them when he cannot
follow a led color.
The highest card wins the trick (the Wizard cards are higher than all other
cards, even the Trump cards). The winner opens the next trick. Exception:
in the first round only one trick is played.
Who wins the trick:
• The first Wizard card played in the trick
• Or the highest card in the Trump color
• Or the highest card in the led color

Special Rights of the Wizards and Fools
When a trick is opened with a Wizard, then the following Apprentices may
throw off any cards, including further Wizards and Fools.
The trick goes to the first Wizard played.
Wizards are Trump, however, they need not be played when the first card of
a trick is an actual Trump color card.
If a trick is opened with a Fool then any card may be played as the second
card. Then second card’s color determines the color that must be followed.
Fools lose every trick.
With one exception: In a trick that only Fools are played, the then first Fool
card wins the trick. This is possible only with three or four players.

The Assignment of the Experience Points
The Apprentice who predicted the number of tricks won exactly receives 20
Experience Points plus 10 points per trick won. Anyone that missed their bid
loses 10 Experience Points for each trick over or under their prediction.
First Round
Thomas predicted that he would not take a trick. He was right and receives
20 points. Ute wanted the trick, but did not get it. He loses 10 points. Kevin
predicted that he would take the trick, he was right and receives, with the
trick, 30 points.
Second Round
Thomas predicted both tricks for himself, however, he got only one. Result:
he loses 10 points. Ute wanted no tricks and was right. He receives 20
points. Kevin predicted no tricks likewise for himself. However, he got one
and therefore loses 10 points. The points are noted and added to the points
from the previous rounds.

The End
There are 60 character cards in the game. The Apprentices play until, in the
last round, all cards are dealt out. With 6 players that is 10 rounds, with 5
players 12, with 4 players 15, and with 3 players that is 20 rounds. The last
round is still scored. The Apprentice with the highest Experience score wins.

Plus/Minus One: As before the predictions are passed on openly to the
Confidant. The number of intended tricks for all Apprentices, however, may
not correspond with the number of the possible tricks. For example, in round
5 the Apprentices must want altogether more than 5 tricks or fewer than 5
Covered Bids: All Apprentices first secretly write their predictions on a
note. When everyone has bid, the numbers are passed openly to the
Confidant. Thus each Apprentice remains completely uninfluenced by the
bids of his competitors.
Secret Prediction: All Apprentices secretly write their predictions on a note.
After the round is over the bids are revealed.
Clairvoyance: In the first round each Apprentice holds his card unseen
before his forehead, so that all Apprentices can see the card except him.
After all Apprentices see the cards of the other Apprentices, they make their
predictions. The battle for the trick, assignment of Experience Points as well
as the further rounds play according to the normal rules.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My new science fiction novel based on real players (names have been changed to protect the guilty) is now available at fine bookstores everywhere!