December 20, 2012
Horse 1419 - 500 And The Natural Order Of Things
I have played a lot of bridge over the past few years. It is a nasty card game (ie. immense fun) because which although is papered over with the mystique of being complicated through the calling conventions which exist, is really no more mechanically different to the other games of the whilst family.
500 on the other hand like Euchre, pulls a strange illusion which disturbs the natural order of cards.
Ace, King, Queen, Jack. Or if you will, Country, King, Queen, Prince. The idea makes logical sense.
I don't know why the four houses of Clubs, Hearts, Spades and Diamonds are perpetually at war with each other, so we can only assume that it is an ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
The Joker - he's the culprit. This obscene knave respects no-one and beats all and sundry. The Joker is a menace who is like a chess playing pigeon - he knocks over all the kings, queens and princes, poops everywhere and then struts around the place like he owns the joint.
This spirit of anarchy in 500 causes the Jacks to become the left and right "bauer" which is German for "farmer". When the joker arrives, you get a peasant uprising which makes the Ace the fourth card in the suit, the King the fifth and the poor Queen whose only crime was faithfully serving the nation and her husband the King, finds herself relegated from third to sixth.
It's fine if you have republican overtones but the other way of looking at this is that the plebs are still ruled by the moneyed classes. If the Joker is like a dictator who rules absolutely, then the two Jacks in effect, act as his vile henchmen.
It is the rise of unelected people who rule even over government and the traditions therein.
The off-suit Jack, who is he anyway? He's not even a member of the nation over which he rules 80% of. He's an upstart who just happens to be either mates with the other Jack or the Joker himself.
His departure from his previous nation ruins them a little and weakens them by more than 7%. If there was a sudden 7% downswing in any other economy, very pointed questions would be asked of government and whoever was in charge would find themselves on the wrong side of an angry electorate.
The off-suit Jack is like a predator CEO. He ruins companies and devalues the society in which he lives. I don't like the idea of bauers in card games because I don't much like the change in natural order and I don't like what that represents either.
It doesn't really make logical sense that an invading farmer should rank higher than the Ace, King or Queen. Yes it's only a card game and the cards themselves are little more than glossy bits of card but if you descend into anarchy, then what sort of cardboard society have you created?
Bonus Section for Advanced Players:
If you're still reading this bit, the next few paragraphs get tricky. I might have inadvertently invented a new card game... Joker help us all.
Simply having the four nations of Clubs, Hearts, Spades and Diamonds fight wars with each other is predictable. I'd want to see people wrap their heads around different card playing mechanics in the same game. Not all nations in the real world have the same system of government, so why can't we introduce this into cardboard society?
To make card games in the whist family like Bridge, 500, Euchre etc. more weird, I propose another side deck of cards. It would be also be made of 52 cards and they would be marked with Monarchy, Communism, Capitalism, Democracy (8 each) and Anarchy (4 only), the remaining 16 cards would be marked no change.
Before every hand, each of the four suits would be assigned different card rankings depending on what sort of government would be selected for them from the side deck. There'd still be a 30% chance that there'd be no change from the hand before because of the "no change" cards. The rest of them act thusly:
Monarchy would rank Ace, King then Queen (or Queen then King), Jack (then off-suit Jack), 10 etc. The Joker would be a criminal, who ranks even below 2. At the end of every hand played, the King is dead, long live the King... maybe the Queen.
Communism would be ranked Joker (The Party), the bauers who represent the workers, the King then Queen and Jacks for the party members and then the proles from 10 to 2; finally Ace is just a 1.
Capitalism would rank Ace, 2IC, 3IC etc. with King, Queen and Jacks below 8, 9 and 10 because Capitalism doesn't really care about the family. It cares even less about the homeless, who'd be the Joker. The joker is so disrespected in capitalism that he isn't even part of a suit and must be played on the last trick as a throw away card, just as capitalism generally throws aside the homeless.
Democracy would be ranked differently every time. There are 5 candidates, King Queen, Two Jacks and the Joker. There are 10 cards marked 1 through 10. Before the hand, each court card is assigned two cards face down; these represent votes. Who ever gets the most votes is top card, etc etc etc.
Finally Anarchy. All cards are simply dealt off the top of the deck and whichever order they show up in, is their ranking.
6,8,3,Q,9,J,7,4,K,A,Jo,2,5,10... is just one example of how it might play out. There are 6,227,020,800 possible combinations of ranks in an Anarchy hand, which is as close to absolute disorder as you're ever going to find in the real world.
The five kinds of government represent differing levels of difficulty too. I fed these into a 500 card game I have and after setting it to run for almost three hours, playing hand after hand and game after game, came to the conclusion that computer players are completely unaffected by it.
I suspect though that human players would find an Anarchy 7 Spades hand, far harder to play than possibly a normal 9 call. There'd probably have to be premiums placed on the different forms of government.
Of course the way you arrange cards in a cardboard society is purely arbitrary but in real society, it's arranged somewhat differently. I think that there's an object lesson here... I'm just not sure what it is.
Posted by Rollo at 15:23