The aim is to create at least two out of three caravans (card stacks) with a higher value than your opponent. Each caravan must have a value of between twenty one and twenty six. To begin the player creates a deck of at least thirty cards that will be used to build their caravans.
A hand consists of five cards but players are initially dealt eight cards, three of these are played to set up your caravans. Initially a number card must be played on each of your caravans (or you will need to discard picture cards if no number cards remain in your hand).
Each turn the player must either play a card on a caravan, discard a card, or discard a caravan. Each caravan has a suit and a direction. The suit is determined by the suit of the last numbered card added to the caravan. The direction is ascending or descending based on whether the caravans previous card's value was lower or higher than the currently played card. Any subsequent card must match the suit of the previous card or continue the numerical direction of the caravan (although they don’t have to be sequential). Cards of the same numerical value cannot be played in sequence, regardless of suit. An ace has a value of one. Face cards can be attached to any card in any caravan, player or opponent, and affects them in various ways.
King - Doubles the value of the target card. E.g. a king played on a six adds six to that hands total value. Multiple kings may be played on the same card.
Queen - Played against the last card in a caravan. Reverses the current direction of the caravan. Multiple queens may be played on the same card.
Jack - Removes the card it is played against and any face cards associated with it.
Joker - Has different effects, if played against: -
Ace - all number cards of the same suit as the ace, and any associated face cards, are removed entirely from the table (except for the ace the Joker was played against). e.g. if played against an ace of hearts all hearts except for the ace the Joker is played against are removed.
Number Card (except ace) - all number cards of the same value as the card it was played against, and any associated face cards, are removed from the table (except for the card the Joker was played against). e.g. if played against a two of hearts all twos except for the one the Joker is played against are removed.
To win the player (or opponent) must sell two or more caravans. A caravan is considered sold when the value of its cards is at least 21 and at most 26. The opponent may still outbid by increasing the value of their opposing pile while staying within the 21-26 range. The game ends when three caravans are sold to either the player or the opponent. These three winning caravans can be split between the players, for example the player could have winning bids (21-26) in two caravans and the opponent could have a winning bid in the other. The player who holds the highest bid for at least two of the three sold caravans wins the game. The player (or opponent) will lose the game if they run out of cards before the caravans are sold, no matter how many winning caravans they have.
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Single Player Campaign
The cards selected in your deck have a large impact on the strategies you can employ to defeat your opponent. One simple strategy that will place you at a distinct advantage over early stage AI opponents is to only include cards valued six and above plus all the picture cards. Constructing a deck that contains number cards of a single suit (or few suits) relieves the necessity to adhere to the caravan direction but will leave you susceptible to an opponents deck that has a high number of aces and jokers.
As the caravans will have a direction (ascending or descending) starting a caravan with either the highest or the lowest card in your hand will allow you to continue to stack the next highest (or lowest) card without needing a queen or a number card of the same suit to change the direction.
Picture cards can be played on your opponents caravans to disrupt their stacking efforts and are therefore very powerful. A deck loaded with jokers and/or kings can be used to force the opponent to discard all their cards (churning), but this will rely on your deck containing more cards than your opponents.
© Orculus 2015