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A card game for two or (rarely) more players.
Raven   Splat
   

Health warning - playing Splat often leads to fights. Never play Splat with a violent person who is bigger than you.

Splat is a game played with an ordinary 52 card deck. It is useful, but not necessary, to have a joker available.

The deck is cut by one player, and the other chooses a pile, usually aiming for the smaller.
Diagram : Standard 'solitaire' formation
The players sit facing each other, then deal out cards in front of them, in a standard 'solitaire' formation, five cards wide.

The remainder of each player's deck is then placed to their left between the two formations. The players can move cards showing the same number into groups on their formation, ie. twos with twos, kings with kings. Any face-down cards that aren't buried can be turned over, and if the player has less than five piles in their formation, face-up cards can be moved to fill the gap.
Diagram : Splat before a round begins
Once both players are satisfied that they have done this as much as is possible, they should take one hand completely out of play. If they don't have much self control, behind the back is a good idea. The other hand goes to the top of the player's draw pile (the pile they placed to their left), ready to turn the top card over into where the dotted line is on the diagram. The card should be turned such that the opponent sees it first, so as to avoid accusations of cheating, and the ensuing fist fights.

Now the game begins in earnest. With no time limit, the players can play onto either one of those two piles. Whoever gets the card down first is considered to have made the valid play - if both players try to make a play on the same pile at the same time, the one whose play is invalid must take the card back into their formation. As face-down cards in the formation are revealed, or piles emptied, they can be turned and filled in the same way as before the round began - remember you must only be using one hand.

Cards that can be played onto the piles must be one-higher or one-lower than the card currently at the top of the pile. The same number cannot be played there. If a player has their formation organised with several of the same number in a pile, they cannot play that pile as one turn. The only advantage to piling cards this way is that it gives you access to more of your cards. However, a player with several twos and several threes can often empty both sets rapidly by playing 2-3-2-3-2-3 onto the same pile. The other player, of course, observing this might try to interrupt with an ace or a four at the correct moment. This is why you must play one-handed - if you could use both hands, you could make a play without the possibility of interruption, by placing the cards near-simultaneously. You must have no more than one card in your hand at a time.

The other hand can come into play if you have five or less cards remaining in your formation. The 'spare' hand can then be used to hold the remaining cards so that the other player can't see what they are. It must not approach the play-piles too closely.

When a stage is reached where no player can play a card, the hands should again go to the draw pile, and simultaneously turn another card.

When a player has no cards left in their hand, either player can slam their hand onto one of the two play-piles. It's usual to try to claim the smaller. The player really should shout "splat", but it's not really necessary since you can tell who got there first by whose hand is underneath.

The player who claims a play-pile then picks up that play-pile, their own draw pile, and any cards still in their formation. The other player takes the other play-pile, their own draw pile, and any cards still in their formation.

We then begin the next round in the same way.

When a player dealing their formation doesn't have enough cards to complete it, or doesn't have one spare to make a draw pile, an arbitrary card is used to make a null 'splat' pile (if you have the jokers, use these, otherwise use the bottom card from the other player's draw pile, to be returned there at the end of the round). In this round, the player who doesn't have a draw pile doesn't have to turn any cards, and play can only take place on the one pile. The player who splats the 'splat' pile at the end of the round picks up only their draw pile and formation. If that player is the one without a draw pile, and they have emptied their formation, they are the winner.

Note : If you splat a pile, thinking the other player has emptied their formation, when in fact they haven't (a player might deliberately feint playing their last card to cause this), the other player has free choice of the two piles, and also gives you whatever cards remain in their formation.

Hints :

  • Remember, you don't have to empty your formation to splat a pile. If the other player empties theirs and you can beat them to the splat, you can often gain more than they do. Especially towards the end of the game when there's a null 'splat' pile.
  • Sometimes an artful pause will flummox the other player. Wait for them to reach for the card they can play, then block that play. Rather than playing the next card immediately, wait for them to reach for the card they can now play, then block again.

    If you are an experienced player, teaching a newbie, it's polite to let them use both hands. Again, this can often lessen chances of causing a fist fight.

    The game can be played three way, or more, with only a little logical adjustment to the rules. Three splat piles, three draw piles... It remains fair in that every player is equally handicapped in reach to one of the piles. The 'splat' at the end of a round now has a second-choice to be splatted for also.



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