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8 - 28  ZOCH Zum Spielen   3-6 Players aged 8+

There are three authors of this game, David L. Hoyt, Mike Hirtle & Colin Morgan and what a simply fun game they have concocted between them. It is a card game that uses coloured plastic gems in a fairly unique manner for keeping score.

The game is all about scoring the most points by winning the gems; Blue Gems equal 1pt and Red Gems 2pts. The mechanic is so simple it's a revelation. Player one puts a blue gem in the centre of the table and then deals a card face down to each player. They (all players) look at their own cards and remember its value. The first player then goes round the table asking in turn whether the other players require another card. If they pass they cannot ask for a card later in the round but if they request another card it is dealt to them face up. Mentally they add the value of their original card to that of the face up card. The idea is to score as near to, or exactly 8, or as near to or exactly 28. the 1/11 card is counted as either a 1 or an 11 (or in the exceptional case a 1 and an 11).

If there are still players who haven't passed the next player in line becomes the first player and adds another blue gem to the centre and then proceeds to ask the other players if they require additional cards, which if wanted, are again dealt face up. If during any phase a player has cards face up that add up to 28 or over then they are out of the round. Play continues thus until all players have passed, ie do not require an additional card. The gems in the centre are split into 2 equal piles, any odd one is put aside to be included in the next round. Then ther players flip over their face down card. The first pile of gems goes to the player who has scored exactly 8 or who has the nearest value to 8 without going past 8, so 5 is nearer to 8 than 9 in this case. The second pile of gems goes to the player who has the nearest value to 28 without going past 28, past 28 does not count as a score. Players with the same "winning" scores share the associated pile of gems equally, again any odd ones are put aside for the next round.

If you are lucky in the draw you can get the cards so they add up to both 8 and to 28 by using two of the 1/11 cards and any number of cards that add up to 6.  6 +1 +1 = 8 and 6 + 11 + 11 = 28. This is known as a Direct Hit and gives you all the gems from the table.

So they're the rules and as you can see they are simple and easy. That is the brilliance of the game. It is a great fun game that plays quickly, allows for plenty of inter-player social chat between the participants, while not having to over concentrate on the game. You need to keep your eye on your score of course, but the only options are to decide whether you want another card or not and whether to stick or twist. Good for families to have fun together, helps with improving young minds to think and add up, and is just a good wholesome game.

One of the best ways to enjoy a full deck of cards (minus 1)  

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© Chris Baylis 2011-2015