Swamped Chapter 3 Page 9

“Right. How do you play?”

She smirks a bit and deals out seven cards to each of you.

“So the way the game works is, you and I are swamprats. And each of us has this ‘stash’ of seven things. Now, you pick out one card, any card you like, and put it face-down, and then you put the rest of your stash face up.”

She demonstrates with her cards. You arbitrarily put down the Two of Leaves and follow her lead.

“Now, the card you picked out is the food in your stash. And because we’re hungry swamprats, we’re not satisfied with our own food; we’re trying to get at each others’. That means I’m trying to figure out what card you’ve got, and you’re trying to figure out which card I’ve got.”

“What are the other six for, then?”

“Betting. You draw a card, and then you can bet one card from your hand on if you think it has the same suit or rank as my food. If you’re right, you get one of my cards; if you’re wrong, I get one of yours. If you don’t think it’s either, you can pass and nothing happens. The round ends when one of us guesses or when one of us runs out of cards. Guess right and you win; guess wrong and you lose. And if you’re out of cards, then you lose because the other swamprat’s taken your whole stash. If we run out the deck, it’s a draw, but that takes forever and it only really happens if nobody takes any bets. Which isn’t too likely.”

You think you understood that.

“There’s some variants with other rules, but that’s the basics. So, why don’t I go first and you can ask me a question while I think about how to bet.”

“What can you tell me about Sergeant Greenwoods?”

“Vera Greenwoods?” She pulls up a card and glances at it. “She’s been here forever. She takes one day’s leave a year and that’s it; seems she feels more comfortable in the swamp than in the city. Can’t imagine that, myself, but maybe she’s just been here so long it feels like home. Anyhow, that’s just the basics. Haven’t heard anything specific about what she’s up to lately. Other than training you, of course.” She puts down her card, the Five of Leaves. “I bet my Three of Wings that your card matches the suit.”

“Right,” you say, a little surprised. “Does it matter what card I hand over?”

“If we get to more advanced rules it does, but for now, just send over whatever you please.”

You pass along the Eight of Blades and muse.

“So what can you tell me about John the Medic?” you ask as you pull up the next card. It’s a Four of Stones.

“Medic’s perhaps the kindest soul I’ve seen in this place. It goes beyond just his job; he wants you to feel welcome here. I know more than a few folks who thought seriously about leaving, but a talk with Medic got them to stay. ‘Course, if you really do want to leave, he tries to help with that as much as he can. Supposedly he’s got a thing going with Sergeant Burgundy, hard to imagine as that is.”

“I’ve never met Burgundy.”

“You will, and then you’ll see what I mean. There’s a reason we send her out for negotiations. Now, are you going to make a bet?”

You glance at the Four of Stones in your hand. You’ve got no idea what card she has, but then, you’re not going to find anything out if you don’t make a guess.

So will you bet on suit or rank, or will you pass? And do you have any other questions for her?

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Suggestions:

This is a cute game.

Bet on rank!

Bet on suit!

It will narrow down much more options immediately, and though you’ll still basically need to guess as many times for rank in either case, getting it right earlier will give you more cards with which to bet with! assuming i understand the game right.

Ask her about herself!

Ain’t no way betting on rank ain’t a suckers bet, but then any bet’s really a suckers bet. Passing has the best expectation of not losing cards, but I suspect its not a very fun game if you just pass and she seems like she wants to have fun playing. Fun keeps the talking going.

Bet on Suit, and ask if there’s anybody she hasn’t mentioned that you should keep an eye out for

Author’s Note:

The game is improvised. I don’t remember if I came up with it after the previous update or during this one, but it was made up on pretty short notice either way.

As a result, I’m sure it’s not very well-balanced as a game. That’s fine – it’s mainly there as something to do while the story proceeds.