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Mermaid's Election (Like War)

The Cards

There are 40 number cards: four of each number from one to ten. There are eight special cards: one sea dragon, two mermaids, one whirlpool, two conch shells, and two kelp forests.

How to Win

Collect all number cards to win.

How to Play

() Put the cards in a pile face down. Shuffle and deal them all out to the players. Put your cards in a pile face down in front of you, without looking at them. These cards are your pool.

() Draw the top card from your pool while the other players draw from theirs. If your card is a number card, place it face up in front of you, adding it to your hand. If not, it is a special card. Place the special card face up on the table beside your hand. Then draw another card. Continue until you draw a number card and add it to your hand.

() If the cards in your hand add up to more than any other player's, decide whether to end the hand. If so, collect the number cards from all hands on the table and any special cards in the center of the table. Place them beside you as your winnings.

() If the player with the best hand decides not to end the hand, wait for everyone to decide whether to use any conch shells or kelp forests on the table. Then draw another card for your hand while the other players do the same. Once again the player with the best hand decides whether to end the hand or continue. Repeat until the hand ends. Then play the next hand.

() If you need to draw a card and your pool is empty, take the cards you have won. Place them face down together. Shuffle them. They are your new pool.

() If you need to draw a card, your pool is empty, and you have no winnings, place any cards you have in the center. You are out of the game.

Sea Dragon, Mermaid, and Whirlpool

The sea dragon, mermaid, and whirlpool take effect when drawn, as soon as all players finish the draw. If someone draws the sea dragon, ignore any mermaid or whirlpool drawn on the same draw; just collect them as winnings. If there is a whirlpool and a mermaid but no sea dragon, the whirlpool takes effect, then the mermaid takes effect.

Sea Dragon -- The sea dragon wins the hand. Collect all face up number cards and any cards in the center as your winnings. Then leave the sea dragon in the center to be won in the next election.

Mermaid -- The mermaid calls an end to the hand. The player with the best hand wins the hand. If there is a tie for the best hand, then continue the hand.

Whirlpool -- Choose a direction, left or right. Every player must move their hand to the next player in that direction. Then the player who receives the best hand decides whether to end the hand.

Conch Shell and Kelp Forest

You can use the conch shell and kelp forest when drawing the very next card or save them to use in a later draw. You keep them until you use them; they cannot be won until after you use them.

Conch Shell -- Before a draw of your choosing, place the conch shell in the center of the table and declare you will use it to call for help. When you draw, draw three cards instead of one. Select one to play, and place the other two with your winnings.

Kelp Forest -- When you draw a kelp forest, draw two cards to place beneath the kelp forest card. Look at the cards, but do not show them to other players. Before a draw of your choosing, place the kelp forest in the center of the table and declare that you are drawing from the forest. Instead of drawing, select one of the hidden cards to play, and place the other one with your winnings.

Rule of the Tide

After you use a special card, place it in the center of the table to be won by whoever wins the hand. However, when you win a hand, leave in the center any special cards you used on the last draw of the hand. This is the Rule of the Tide. These cards will be won by the winner of the next hand, even if it is you.

Shorter Game

For a shorter game, keep count of how many times the sea dragon is drawn. When it is drawn for the fifth time, finish that hand, then count the number cards in your pool, your winnings, and under your kelp forests if you have them. If you have the most number cards, you win.

Example of Play

Ann and Bob deal out the cards so that each have 24 cards face down in their pool. Ann draws a ten and Bob draws a five. Ann decides to end the election. She collects the ten and five cards and places them in her winnings.

Next Ann draws a whirlpool and Bob draws a nine. Ann draws again to get a number card for her hand, a seven. Then Ann uses the whirlpool to swap hands with Bob. Ann decides to end the election. She collects the nine and seven for her winnings. She leaves the whirlpool in the center, following the Rule of the Tide.

Then Ann draws a two and Bob draws a five. Bob decides to continue. Ann draws a seven and Bob draws a conch shell, places it beside his hand, then draws a three. Now Ann has nine total and Bob has eight. Ann decides to end the election. She collects the two, five, seven, three, and the whirlpool left in the center from the last hand. Bob keeps the conch shell on the table to use later.


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