In the Parker Brothers card game Waterworks, may an opponent play a leaky pipe that makes it impossible for me to win? I don't just mean a play that stops me from winning this turn; I mean one that stops me from ever winning.

Typically this would be done by playing a leaky elbow pipe that directs my pipeline into an area already enclosed by earlier sections of my own pipeline, with some open space but not enough to construct a pipeline of sufficient length to win.

Is this allowed? Or is it my own fault for building my pipeline in such a way?

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    BTW, "Fatal Leaky Pipe" is a great name for this tactic! – Jay A. Little Dec 17 '17 at 7:26

From a scan of what looks like the official rules:

If a leaky pipe is connected to the last pipe card it can be any shape as long as it continues the pipeline.

Reviewing the rules from this site, the relevant line is:

"If the player adds a leaky pipe to the end of the player’s set of pipes the card can be any shape as long as it allows the player to have at least one path available to add pipes in future turns."

I could not find any rules that expressly forbids forcing a players pipeline towards a path that blocks the player's ability to win. So as long as the player can continue their pipeline path at least once more after a leaky pipe is placed, then it's a fair play (based on the rules).

Personally, for better games, I would bring up this situation with my opponents and decide if we want to allow this tactic and declare the blocked player lost, or disallow this tactic by assuming the rules mean:

...as long as it continues the pipeline with sufficient space for the player to meet the required number of pipes to win.

If you are the Rule Lawyer type, then the play you described is allowed. I just suggest you bring it up before play, so everyone can guard against it, instead of springing it on your opponents, causing this type of argument.

Good Question.

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