Moleicki, the basic rules (version 1.1)
Moleicki is a game of chance and skill for ages 8 to 80 (approx.). It has evolved quite a bit from the simple country pastime, played with two pinecones and a wheelbarrow, invented by William "Snack" Blake in 1793, but documentation on the game, especially in its modern form, has been scanty at best. Edmund Hoyle dismissed the game in print as "Masonic nonsense," and Goren's attempts to write a systematic account on the subject ended in his madness and dismemberment. The following monograph is an attempt to rectify this situation and bring moleicki to a new generation of players, in the hopes that it will regain the popularity it enjoyed in its heyday, when icons Maggie and Jiggs used to play a hearty game every Sunday in the funny pages, and John Hilton incorporated literally pages of moleicki lore into his blockbuster novel Goodbye, Mr. Chips. These rules were written by Johnson Hal and approved (nihil obstat) by Kenneth Franco of the Moleicki Steering Committee (MSC). Instructions on ritual purification before play have been omitted, on the advice of a respected confidante, as being somewhat de trop.
After the dealer has dealt everyone's hand, he deals each player a tableau. The most common tableau consists of three cards face-down in three piles, three cards face up on top of them (comprising the base), and one card face down in front of those three piles (the barrier). However, the dealer has great leeway in crafting a tableau. As many piles of cards as are desired may be made, and each pile may contain any number of cards, one or more. Cards in each pile may be dealt face up or face down. Piles may be organized in any number of rows, and each row may contain any number of piles. The row closest to the player is his base, and any other rows in front of it (i.e., further from the player) are called barriers. Note that sober dealers will limit the number of barriers. If the top card on a pile is dealt face down, the player may turn it face up, unless it is the only card in that pile. Each player's tableau must be identical to every other player's. Excess cards dealt neither into the hands nor the tableaux are placed in a draw pile.
Any player dealt every 10 in the deck (i.e., four in single deck, eight in double deck, etc.) into his hand automatically wins the game.
If no player has a 3, the ace corollary to the three rule comes into effect, and any player (including Magdalena Krzywicka) may play an A, as above, and play continues along the down vector. If no player has a 3 or an A, the eight corollary comes into effect, any player may play an 8, and play continues along the middle vector.
A player may elect to tie a card before beating it. Tying is accomplished by playing a card identical in rank to that of the top card on the center pile. After tying, a player must always then beat the card.
Player may always play more than one card of identical rank at a time; this is called matching. A player may therefore tie a card with several cards at once, and then beat the card with several matching cards. There is no limit to the number of cards that can be played at once, except the practical limit of the number of cards of that rank in the deck. In any case, playing multiple cards does not make it more difficult for the next player to beat them: one card of higher rank beats two, three, or more cards of lower rank. In general, if you can play one of a rank of cards, you can also play more than one, and if you can play more than one you can also play one (the sole exception is explained under the straight rule, below).
If at any time four or more cards of identical rank are on top of the center pile, either because they were all played at one time or because of a tying, the entire pile is immediately collected by the eldest hand and placed face down in the bad discard pile (see below).
In certain situations, a player will be presented with a center pile with no cards in it. The pile is then said to be blank, and any card may be played onto it. Additionally, any card can be played on a pile that has been reset by a 2, a joker, or a junction (see below).
Up: A, K, Q, J, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3
In middle, anti-middle, into the page, and out of the page, cards linked by an ampersand in the above list are considered to be of equivalent value. In middle and anti-middle these cards are for all intents and purposes of identical rank: a 7 and a 9, for example, can be played at the same time (matching), can be used to tie one another, and any combination of the two involving more than four cards sends the center pile to the bad discard pile. However, in into the page and out of the page such matching is not allowed: equivalent cards must not be played together, and ties between equivalent cards are not allowed (although ties between cards with the same face value are still allowed, of course). So, in into the page and out of the page, a player could play two Qs at once, but not a Q and a 5.
The 8 in north and south loop is not listed because it is a junction card (see below).
2 resets the pile: playing a 2 resets the center pile so that it is considered blank (see above), whereupon any card can be played on top of the 2.
10 clears the pile: playing a 10 causes the center pile to be collected and placed to one side by the eldest hand. All the cards except for the 10 are placed face up in a separate good discard pile ; the 10 is placed face down in the bad discard pile (see below). If a 10 is played on a blank center pile, the good discard pile that is created is said to be empty; this pile contains no cards, but the 10 is placed face up where the pile would be, as a reminder of its existence.
Joker: playing a joker resets the pile as per a 2 and allows the player to change the vector to any vector of his choosing. Changing the vector is optional, and it may be kept the same.
25¢ card: playing the 25¢ card allows the player to change vector as per a joker and causes the entire pile, including the 25¢ card, to be placed face down in the bad discard pile. Furthermore, the player must select one good discard pile and give it to any player of his choice (including himself if he wishes). It is not permissible to root through the various piles to determine their contents before electing which one to give away, although the top card of the pile, and the pile's approximate thickness, can, of course, be ascertained by sight. If an empty pile exists, the player can elect to symbolically give that pile to someone: no one gets any cards and the 10 used to represent the empty pile is placed in the bad discard pile. If there are no good discard piles extant, no cards are given to anyone; the other functions of the 25¢ card are unaffected.
Once all the 25¢ cards in the deck are played, the remaining good discard piles may be gathered and placed in the bad discard pile, and a distinction between the two kinds need no longer be kept.
Another 8 played and beaten by the same or another player later in the game causes the direction to reverse again, etc. However, matching 8s are treated the same as one 8. Obviously, 8s in up and down may not be tied, because they must always be beaten before play passes to the next player.
This rule only applies in up and down. In other vectors 8 has no special functions, except as under the junction rule, below.
No player still holding cards in his hand may play from his tableau. If a player is forced to pick up the center pile after playing some cards from his tableau, he is now considered to have a hand again, and must play all the cards from it before he can play any more from his tableau.
A player may only play from his own tableau. Furthermore, not all cards in a tableau are in play. Cards must be played row by row, starting with the row furthest away from the player. All cards from each barrier row must be played before a player may play cards from his base (see Dealing, above), and each row must be exhausted of cards in turn before the row behind it can be played. Furthermore, in each row, all cards facing up must be played before any face-down cards may be played. Remember, however, that it is always permissible to turn face up a face-down card, provided it is the top card in a pile and is resting on one or more cards. Turning up a face-down card with no cards beneath it invokes the automatic lose rule (see below). Therefore, in a pile of three cards, the top card will be face up; once it is played the card below it is turned face up; once that card is played, however, the final card in the pile must remain face down. However, subject to the above rules, cards may be played within a row in any order. If he possesses a row of three piles, for example, each with a face-up card on top, a player may elect to play any of the cards on his turn.
Face-down cards that cannot be turned up must be played blind. That is, the player must play the card without knowing what it is. If the card played is not, by chance, a legal play, i.e., if it does not beat the card atop the center pile, the player must pick up the center pile.
If a player peeks at or exposes a face-down card when the card cannot be turned face up (i.e., when the card has no cards below it) and when he has an option of more than one face-down card to play in that circumstance, the automatic lose rule comes into play. He automatically loses, and must sit out until the next deal. The automatic lose rule does not apply when a player exposes a card he has no choice but to play.
It cannot be stressed too strongly or often that extravagant tableaux with multiple barriers of numerous piles make for a boring game. It is recommended that the tableau be restricted to a maximum of two barriers, that each row contain a maximum of three piles, and that each pile contain a maximum of three cards.
K K K 9 rule
Take that, Franco