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The rules of Pit are oddly contradictory. For n players choose n commonities, add in the Bull and Bear, shuffle and deal out the cards. The rules state that everyone gets 9 cards. Doh! With the Bull and the Bear added in that doesn't work.

The way we reconcile this is two people have 10 cards which gives them a significant advantage, e.g. they can simply hold a single card of a commodity to effectively eliminate whoever ends up going for that commodity.

Are there better solutions to this?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The rules in my copy of the game note that two people get 10 cards. Generally these will be the two people left of the dealer.

You cannot call pit with the Bear in hand; you can call Pit with a Bull and 8 copies of a commodity. If you call Pit with a Bull and all 9 copies you get double points for that commodity.

Of note, it is courteous to remind people that they have 10 cards in hand but only need 9 of a commodity. New players often end up holding all 9 of a commodity while desperately looking for a phantom 10th because they are used to seeing their entire hand match.

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It's gone through a lot of runs. I know my rules are contradictory. :) We've had kids do exactly what you described (I just need one more but I can't find it anywhere!). lol –  John Robertson Mar 7 '11 at 18:01
Yeah every time I see a box of Pit it is always another printing. The commodity types and scores change from version to version as well. –  MrHen Mar 7 '11 at 18:35

In the group where I've often played Pit, we discarded the Bull and Bear cards before shuffling. It makes the game simpler and better, in my humble opinion.

That being said, we can still debate which is the best solution if you do want to keep those cards. MrHen's solution may well win that honour. A different option would be to discard two cards at random every time you deal. The advantage is that the playing field is level; however, there are up to two commodities that cannot be completed. But in this version, all players are equally likely to be affected.

I could see a few variants of this variant:

  1. Make the discarded cards secret. At the end of every round people are going to be frustrated that their chosen commodity was unwinnable.

  2. Make the discarded cards public. Now all commodities of the discarded type are effectively Bear cards.

  3. Start a timer for (say) 30 seconds when the round starts. At the end, if no one has won yet, play is interrupted and one of the discarded cards is made public. Players try not to give away that they were close to finalizing a "doomed" commodity. Play continues for another 30 seconds and is interrupted again to make the last card public. Chaos ensues.

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I personally like the Bull and Bear cards. We usually play at least one round per player at the table and count up the scores at the end so 2 people having 10 cards each round evens out. –  MrHen Mar 7 '11 at 19:19
(Unrelated from my other comment) Discarding a few cards secretly may be worse than adding extra cards from unused commodities to even out the hand totals again. –  MrHen Mar 7 '11 at 19:21

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