Thursday, December 25, 2008

Corporate Shuffle

This time up in my trip through my game collection, we come to a very unserious game. Corporate Shuffle is a variant on The Great Dalmuti, a card game designed by Richard Garfield, which is itself a take on the old card game Kings and Paupers. In fact, Corporate Shuffle really is same game as Dalmuti, except for a few rules changes. Well, that and the fact that it is the officialy licensed Dilbert card game, which allows them to put panels from Dilbert strips on all of the cards and in the rule book, which makes it (to me, a significant Dilbert fan) way better.

The basics of game are as follows. It is for four to eight players. There are five different positions in the game: the Big Boss, the Little Boss, from zero to four workers, the Senior Intern, and the Junior Intern, in order of priority. There is a deck of 60 cards, all of which are dealt out to all the players as evenly as possible. All of the players try to get rid of their cards, and you do this by playing your cards in sets. The winner of the previous hand always goes first, unless they can't, in which case the Big Boss determines who goes first. For example, let's say the Big Boss is going first, and has three "10" cards. He can play one or them, or two of them, or three of them. Whoever many he plays, the next player has to either play that man cards of a lower number, or he has to pass. You continue going around the table until everyone has passed, and the last person who played a set then wins the hand and starts the next set. You continue until someone plays their last card, which makes them the winner of the round. They will be the Big Boss in the next round. The second player to go out becomes the Little Boss, and so on, until the last person is left, who becomes the Junior Intern.

That's pretty much it. You play each hand of cards to win, and you don't keep score from hand to hand. You just play it for fun. Now, in The Great Dalmuti, it is written into the rules that you have special hats to denote the Kings and the Paupers. Corporate Shuffle doesn't have such a rule, but when I last played it (which would be earlier today) we used ties for the Bosses and lousy hats for the Interns. You can totally play it up for fun and just be as goofy as you want to.

I should also note that there are a few cards in Corporate Shuffle that differ its gameplay from Dalmuti. There are three "special" cards that bend the rules in different ways. My personal favorite is the Ratbert card, which is the worst one in the game. If you win a round in which the Ratbert card was played, rather than it being out of play (like every other card played), you have to take it back into your hand. And it is a super lousy card, being a higher number than any other card in the game. Then there's the card that lets you win a hand straight up, which is pretty awesome. You just play it and win; it's that great.

This is definitely a game that is staying in my collection, as it is fun, but it's not one of my all-time favorites, and its lack of real competitiveness (no scoring, remember) means that I have to be in the right mood to play it. When I'm in that mood, though, it's a great time.


636benjamin said...

This is sounds like fun. And eerily similar to a drinking game I used to play, whose proper name I can't mention here. Let's just say is focuses on the lowest player in the game and is a part of your anatomy's crude name.

Aaron W. Thorne said...

The game is fun, and the most fun is making fun of the interns, so I can see how that could be turned into something family-unfriendly.