Cripple Mister Onion

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A Discworld card game, most frequently played on riverboats, and less frequently by Witches on riverboats.

It appears extremely complex, much like poker, but the main rules to remember lie in the order of winning hands, so for those who wish to play, the rules are below.

Discretionary note: We are not responsible for losses incurred when playing against seemingly naive old ladies. Including limbs.

The Deck

A Discworld set contains eight suits: staves, swords, cups, coins, octagrams, elephants, turtles and crowns.

For this game, the eight suits are combined into two suit-sets.

  • Staves and Octagrams (Wizards' set)
  • Swords and Crowns (Kings' set)
  • Cups and Coins (Beggars' set)
  • Elephants and Turtles (The Disc set)

or

  • Staves and Octagrams (Wizards' set)
  • Swords and Coins (Thieves' set)
  • Cups and Crowns (Queens' set)
  • Elephants and Turtles (The Disc set)

Roundworld players can combine two regular decks of cards (make sure the backs are the same)

Note that the original traditional card deck, arriving from Egypt had the suits polo sticks (staves), swords (swords), cups (cups), and coins (coins), while in Tarot, one of the suits is pentancles (octograms), and some of the cards in the major arcana are the world (Disc set), the wizard (Wizard's set), the Emperor (King's set)and the hermit (Beggar's set)

The Hands

The object of this game is to construct groups from your hand of ten cards. A group can be of any value upto and including 21. The higher the group value beats a lower one.

The hands below are done in ascending order. A Flush beats a Bagel, and a Great Onion beats almost all.

  • Bagel: Any two card combination which totals exactly 20.
  • two-card onion: Any two card combination which totals exactly 21.
  • Broken Flush: Any combination (minimum three cards) worth 16-21 with all of the cards but one in the same suit-pair.
  • three-card onion: Any three card combination which totals 21.
  • Flush: Any combination (minimum three cards) worth 16-21 with all of the cards in the same suit-pair.
  • four-card onion: Any four card combination which totals 21.
  • Broken Royal: A three-card onion where the three cards are a 6, 7 and 8 (of any suit-pair).
  • five-card onion: Any five card combination which totals exactly 21.
  • Royal: A three card onion using three 7's.
  • six-card onion: Any six card combination which totals exactly 21.
    • (Wild Royal: this is a combination that is only played when 8's are wild since it consists of three wild 8's. Normally this is not allowed since it would total 24. )
  • seven-card onion: Any seven card combination which totals exactly 21.
  • Onions: An Ace and a picture card (King, Queen or Jack) is technically an onion. However, this on its own is just a two-card onion since to count as an Onion, not an onion, the hand must consist of two onions (Double Onion), three onions (Triple Onion), four onions (the Lesser Onion), or even five onions (the Great Onion). The Onions themselves are arranged according to their worth, with Double Onion the lowest and Great Onion the highest.

Finally, there are the Crippling hands which give the game it's name.

  • A nine card running flush will Cripple a Great Onion.
  • A ten card running flush will out-Cripple a nine card running flush, and Cripple both a Great Onion, and a Lesser Onion.

If a hand is Crippled at any point, the game ends and the player with the Crippling hand is declared the winner.

Order of Play

At the beginning of each round, a Dealer is identified. The player on his left is the Elder, and on his right is the Younger. The round starts with the Dealer shuffling the cards, and then the Younger cuts the pack.

The dealer takes two cards, then deals the players three cards, going from Elder to Younger. Then, the dealer takes three cards, and deals all the players two cards, again going from Elder to Younger. All cards are dealt face down.

Players can then discard up to four cards, which are placed in the centre of the table. They are dealt replacements from the deck, after which the Dealer announces the number of replacements he takes. Again, all cards are dealt face down.

The second set of five cards is now dealt. The Dealer takes five cards face down, and then the players are dealt five cards face up, from Elder to Younger. They must remain that way throughout the game, although players may re-arrange them.

Players arrange the cards into the best groups possible, and then Showdown occurs. Beginning from the Elder, the highest card grouping is displayed and declared. If the player on the left cannot equal, beat or modify the shown hand, all that players cards are shown face up on the table, and that player is out of the round. If the Elder's cards are equalled, then players consider the next grouping. If the Elder's cards are beaten, he can play a modifier or rearrange his cards to get a better grouping. If he can't he is out. Should two players be completely equal, then the senior player is the winner. (Dealer is most senior, then Elder, round to Younger.)

This continues around the table until the last player is left against the Dealer. Whoever wins the round becomes the next Dealer.

Optional Rules

As in Poker, there are some optional rules players can use to make the game more interesting, and also more complicated.

8's Wild

  • Eight is a powerful number on the Discworld. As such, when 8's are Wild, they can take on any value between 1 and 11.

Null 8's

  • When 8's are not Wild, they may be used as a 0 (zero) to increase the size of an onion. A five card onion without a Null 8 beats a five card onion with a Null 8.
  • The round following a hand where Null 8's are played must be 8's Wild.

Octavo

  • With 8's Wild, the group with eight 8's is counted as a Lesser Onion, beats other Lesser Onions, cannot be crippled like other Lesser Onions, but can be crippled like a Great Onion.

The Lady

In the Discworld deck, she is the Queen of Coins. (Fitting since she is often invoked where money is concerned.) In a Roundworld deck, she will be one of the Queen of Spades.

  • When 8's are not Wild, the Lady may be declared, and replaced by the players choice of one of the next two cards from the deck.
  • With 8's Wild, the Lady can be used to devalue one Ace in the other players hand, from 11 to 1. This can be used once per player that the holder of the Lady goes up against in the Showdown.

Fate

In the Discworld deck, he is the King of Cups. In the Roundworld deck, he is one of the Kings of Diamonds.

  • If the Lady has been declared and replaced, then Fate may be declared and replaced in the same fashion. In addition, all the Aces in the hand of the player with the Lady are worth 0 (zero). The zero cards cannot be used in a hand.
  • With 8's Wild, Fate may be declared to make Eights immediately cease to be Wild. A different player who has the Lady (declared, played or not) can then declare her to make only their Eights Wild again.

Great A'Tuin

In the Discworld deck, she is the Queen of Turtles. (Obviously) In the Roundworld deck, she is one of the Queens of Hearts.

  • A player can declare the Queen of Turtles to reduce the value of one of their cards by eight points, and increase another by eight points. The new values must be between 1 and 11.
  • A 10 shifted up one point is an 11, not a King Queen or Jack.
  • A 1-9 shifted up to a value of 10 can count as a Picture Card, which is needed for an Onion.

Elephants

  • Any four cards, either 9's, 10's or Wild 8's that are declared alongside Great A'Tuin, allow the player to shift as many points as needed for a Double Onion. This can be beaten by a normal Double Onion. Any 9's and 10's not involved in the Double Onion may be used as 1's and 2's respectively.

Sourcerer

In the Discworld deck, he is the Jack of Octograms In the Roundworld deck, he is one of the Jack of Hearts

  • With no Wild 8's, a visible (faced upright on the table) Sourcerer makes any Aces belonging to a player who uses any 8's become 0 (zero).
  • With 8's Wild, a visible Sourcerer zeroes all Aces, and prevents Wild 8's from having the values 1 and 11. (Wild 8's can now only be worth 2-10, Jack, Queen or King).

Death

In the Discworld deck, he is the King of Swords. In the Roundworld deck, he is one of the King of Spades.

  • When 8's are not Wild, a visible Death prevents one Picture card in each players hand from becoming a Double Onion. (Obivously this only happens if they have two picture cards in the first place.)
  • With 8's Wild a visible Death prevents one Picture card in each players hand from becoming a Double or Triple Onion. (Again this only happens if they have two picture cards in the first place.)

Archchancellor

In the Discworld deck, he is the King of Staves. In the Roundworld deck, he is one of the King of Clubs.

  • Any player who plays the Archchancellor may not play an 8 as having a value of 8.
  • If the Archchancellor is declared, Death can be declared if held by another player. If Death is declared, all other players must declare a previously undisclosed card. If Death is not declared, The Archchancellor becomes Wild for the rest of the round.

The Fool

In the Discworld deck, he is the Jack of Coins. (For a Fool is often found chasing The Lady) In the Roundworld deck, he is one of the Jack of Hearts.

  • If the Fool is declared before Showdown, then Bagels switch places with Onions in the order of winning card groupings for the rest of the round. The Fool can still be part of card groups.
  • So
    • two-card onion
    • Bagel
    • Broken Flush
    • Double Onion
    • Flush
    • Triple Onion
    • Broken Royal
    • Lesser Onion
    • Royal
    • six-card onion
      • (Wild Royal)
    • seven-card onion
    • Onion Bagels. Double Bagel, Triple Bagel, Lesser Bagel. Great Bagel, Great Onion.

The Greater and Lesser Onions and Bagels can be Crippled in the normal way.

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