Basics - level 3
Previous: level 2
You are in charge of LH1
Want to give a clue to the player 3-4 seats from you? Ok, but you know, all the players in-between could do it, don't panic. In general, you are responsible for and should give clues to LH1, i.e. the first player to your Left Hand (playing in clockwise order) because you are the last person in the turn who can give him clues. If you give a clue to LH2 or LH3 or LH4, you must have a good reason for it.
- Tell a player in-between they can discard safely. If LH1 has nothing to play and has a safe discard and you think he will give a clue on his turn, you can give this clue for him. This way, you tell LH1 "look, I gave this clue for you, you have nothing good to do anymore, so just discard and trust me".
- Every player in-between has something to do – they have a card to play or can discard safely their chop card (see first point).
- You need a follow-up clue. Say LH2 has two vital chop cards, which need two clues to be saved. You need to clue one and LH1 will clue the other one.
Some call this the semi-finesse. It's about forcing a player to play a partially known card from his hand to prevent a strike.
Bob has partial information about a card (e.g. a 2). Alice gives a clear play clue (e.g. red) to Cheryl who plays after him, about a card (R3) that can't be played unless another card fills the gap. Bob thinks: "We're up to R1, Cheryl is going to play R3 and we'll get a strike. What the...?! Oh wait, I have a 2 here. What if Alice is forcing me to risk-play that 2 that might fill the gap?".
There you go.
When you receive a clue that includes your chop card, be very careful about it. Had the clue not been given, you would have discarded your chop card soon, so it is very likely that the clue is only telling you "save it".
Some 4s are playable and you get a 4 clue on chop and the discard contains unplayed, unplayable 4s. You would take a big chance playing your clued 4. If you're wrong, your team would lose 1 life and 2 points.
You can give colour chop clues if colour would be clearer than value.
The discard contains Y4 B4 G4. Your LH1 has had Y4 in hand for a long time and Y4 is now on chop. 'Yellow' will tell him more than '4'. The latter clue could mean Y4, B4 or G4, while 'yellow' would disambiguate this into Y4.
If a 2 is the last (or nearly last) card of the deck and its twin gets discarded during the game, you are pretty much doomed.
This is why a good thing to do is to save 2s even when the 1 is not in play. So when you receive a chop clue that involves one or more 2s, you should suppose it is just a precautionary save, not a play clue.
Likewise, saving 3s (especially when the matching 1 is in play) can be a pretty good idea.
Saving 4s can also be a thing when the target player’s hand is not too tricky to manage.
Clue instead of playing
As we saw previously, it is important to get cards played as soon as they can be clued in a clear manner. So if you know you have a card to play and you see that LH1 should be given a play or save clue, give the clue first (unless the clue might be redundant, see level 2 – “No duplicates”), you can play your card on the next turn.
Colour or value?
Your clues should be as informative as possible. Most of the time, colour clues are more efficient than value clues. The reason is that, except for save clues (hitting chop), single-card colour clues tell the target player both the value and the colour. Therefore, he can react accordingly. Given an equal choice, choose colour.
3-player game, turn 1.
Player B has 4 1 1 4 5. Player C has 1 2 1 1 3.
If player A clues 1 on B, B would only know these 1s are playable, but not which 1s they are.
If player A clues 'red' on R1, player B knows he has R1. Knowing this, he can give player C a pure anticipated clue on R2 or on the three 1s (see Level 4, anticipated clues).
Value clues should be used only when a colour clue wouldn't be pure enough or in the very rare cases where they give more information than colour.
Once a player draws the last card of the deck, every player gets to play only one more turn. So the last man drawing will get to play twice. So if there is one card left in the deck and one player has two cards to play and the others have only one or none, pace by spending clues until it is turn to play so that he plays at least twice.
There are more complex situations than this, but the general rule is – in game end, don't rush to draw the last card. Count turns and anticipate on every player's moves to make sure the most cards will be played.
Next: level 4.
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