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Scram!

The premise of Scram! from Ted Alspach and Bezier Games is that players are on a camping trip but their campsite has been invaded by various critters. Played as a team game, two vs two, or with two teams of three, this is a card game where you are swapping and getting rid of cards numbered 1-13 with the aim of ending up with the lowest total value of cards. Game play is reminiscent of Silver (Bezier Games) but with the emphasis here on cooperative play between team members. Art is by Agus Muqith.



Players all start with a 'campsite' of five cards, two of which are face up and three face down. You don't get to peek at your face-down cards. You'll only learn what they are through the actions you take or, maybe, by deduction from other players' actions.


On your turn you can take the top (face-up) card from the discard pile and swap it for one of your cards or you can draw the top (face-down) card from the draw pile. You look at it. Cards 5-13 have a power and you can simply discard your drawn card in order to implement that power (for example, #5: to look at one of the face-down cards). When a power lets you peek at cards, they don't have to be yours or those of a team mate, and you can even use the power to look at the top card from the draw deck. When you peek at a card tho', you can't share that information and you have to put the card back where it was, so Scram! becomes something of a memory game...


As an alternative to discarding the card for its power, and without revealing the card to any other player (neither opponents nor team mates), you swap the card for one of your cards and discard the card you swapped out. Where you have cards of the same value (revealed or otherwise) or cards that show an = sign, you can swap them all as if they were one card, so reducing the size of your campsite and therefore its likely value (remembering that the object is to end up with the lowest value campsite). If any of the cards you identify as equal for the purpose of combining to swap out are face down and turn out not to be equal because you've misremembered or guessed wrong, you're penalised and have to take extra cards into your campsite.



The game is played over three or four rounds (depending on player count), and a round ends either when the draw deck is exhausted or when a player calls 'Scram!'. You'll call 'Scram!' if you've two or fewer cards at the start of your turn and you are confident your team's score is lower than that of your opponents but when you call 'Scram!', players still get one more turn so it's possible that there might be a reversal of fortunes... You're incentivised to call 'Scram!' because if your team's score is confirmed as the lowest, it's recorded as zero. However, if you call 'Scram!' and your team's score is higher than that of your opponents, you add a 10-point penalty to your total.


There are rules included to allow for a three-player version (ie: one versus two players) but Scram! is definitely at its best with equal-sized teams. There's a push-your-luck element, a test of memory and there's deduction, plus there's scope for 'take that' actions too, but Scram! plays quickly: even when we played with four rounds our games rarely stretched beyond 30 minutes.




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