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How to play TWISTED FISH!

March 30, 2011

Thoroughly shuffle deck. Pick a dealer in a way which seems fitting to you and the people of your culture.

The object is to accumulate the most points possible through the collection of complete “Full Baskets” (a complete set of Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, and Purple cards of the same “Twisted Fish”).

Deal 8 cards face down to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down in center of table and are referred to as the draw deck or the “Fish Pond.”

Player to the left of dealer goes first. The first player asks any other player for a specific type and color of card. For example, “Nick, do you have the Purple Hammerhead?” In order to ask for a card a player must have one of that type of card in his hand. So, in order to ask for the purple hammerhead, the player must already have at least one hammerhead in his hand.

The player who is asked for a card must truthfully say whether or not he has that specific card. If he has the card, he must then hand it over. If that player is untruthful, and is caught “telling a whopper” at any point during the game, that player immediately forfeits all points gained in this round. In addition, he should lose all respect from other players and be shunned as an unclean outcast.

If the player receives the card he asks for, he immediately takes another turn, asking the same player, or any other player, for another specific card.

When an opponent does not have the requested card, he proclaims “Go Fish.” The player who asked must draw a card from the Fish Pond. After having a chance to put down a Full Basket or playing an appropriate Zinger, going to the Fish Pond ends the player’s turn. The player to the left now takes his turn. However, if the card drawn from the Fish Pond just so happens to be the exact card a player asked for, the player immediately flips it over and shows everyone that he “got what he was fishing for” and takes another turn.

As soon as a player acquires a set of 5 of a kind, he can lay that Full Basket down on the table in front of him. Those cards are now protected and no longer considered a part of the player’s hand.

Only cards in Full Baskets count towards total points at the end of the game. Cards still in hand when the round ends subtract points from a player’s total score.

In addition to the five color suit cards (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, and Purple), the Twisted Fish deck also contains 8 “Zinger” cards. These specialty cards allow players to flout the rules, steal their opponent’s cards, and even look at another player’s cards! Each card tells when and how to use it. Used once, they are shown to the group, played, and then discarded face up next to the Fish Pond.

The Game Warden — Play anytime. Pull one random card from an opponent’s hand, put it back into the Fish Pond and reshuffle the Fish Pond. The player pulling the card may not peek at the card. Playing this card does not count as a turn. There must be an existing Fish Pond to play this card.

Dead Scuba Diver — Play anytime. This card completes a basket of four, substituting as the fifth card to create a Full Basket. This card adds 0 points during final scoring. During any subsequent turn, a player may add the “sixth card” to his Full Basket (the card that Dead Scuba Diver originally replaced) and discard the Dead Scuba Diver.

No Fishing — Play when asked for a card by an opponent, stopping him cold in his tracks. When “No Fishing” is played on an opponent, the opponent proceeds as if he received a “negative” answer to his question and immediately goes to the Fish Pond or plays an appropriate Zinger.

Glass Bottom Boat – Play anytime. Pick an opponent, pull one random card from his hand, look at it, and give it back. (It is considered bad manners to tell anyone what card was disclosed.)

The Net — Play at the beginning of a turn. This card counts as a turn. Players ask for a type of card, but do not have to be specific. Player must have one of type of that card. For example: “Dave, do you have any Card Sharks?” If Dave has one (or more) Card Sharks he has to give one (his choice) to the person asking.

Two Fisted Fisherman — “Go Again.”- Play after asking for a card that an opponent doesn’t have, but before going to the Fish Pond. The player immediately gets to ask for any card from the same player or any other player.

The Lure — Play this card at the beginning of a turn. The player can ask for a specific type of card that he may or may not have in hand. For example: “Susan, do you have a Green Dogfish?” – Player may or may not have any Dogfish in his hand.

Divine Intervention — The player uses this card when an opponent tries a Zinger on him. By showing Divine Intervention, the original Zinger has no effect. The player then may pick up the original Zinger, put it into his hand and discard Divine Intervention. (Note: Since Divine Intervention can only be played in response to a Zinger, there is an avenue to discard this card so it won’t cost a player negative points at the end of the game in the event that another Zinger is never played upon the holder of Divine Intervention. To unload Divine Intervention the player holding this card may discard it face up thereby relinquishing one turn. This must be done before the seven other Zingers have been played. If you wait too long, you may get stuck.)

There is only ONE way for the hand to end: When the player who is asking for a card, acquires the card, gets the card that completes the last Full Basket in his hand and upon laying that Basket down, is out of cards.

If a player has one card in hand, and an opponent correctly asks for it, the player is out, but the hand isn’t over. Or, if a player completes his last Basket, but has a Zinger (or card made useless by the dead scuba diver, see above) still in his hand, the game continues until another player “goes out.” If a player cannot ask for a card or play a Zinger during his turn, he declares “I am dead in the water” and his turn is passed over. If there is a Fish Pond the player may Go Fish which ends his turn.

Once one player is legitimately “out,” the game is over. All players add up point values of all completed Full Baskets (a Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, and Purple of the same “twisted fish”). Players then subtract the value of all cards still remaining in their hands for their final score in this round.

Card Sharks: 15 points each
Whale, Blowfish, Star Fish and Clown Fish: 10 points each
Barnacle, Jellyfish, Shrimp, Eel, Crab, Dogfish, Hammer Head, Flying Fish: 5 points each
Dead Scuba Diver in a Full Basket: 0 points
Zingers not played: -25 points

How to Win
The player with the most points at the end of the round is the Winner, with all bragging rights reserved.

For a longer game: Set a goal of 400 points. Play several rounds, with the deal passing to the player on the left after each round. First player to reach 400 points total is the “King of the Tournament!”

Players can ask for a card they already have! This is a great bluff to confound opponents.

Zingers played are worth 0 points. Each Zinger in your hand at the end of a round subtracts 25 points from your score, so don’t get stuck with Zingers.

While you have to be truthful you can bluff. You could answer a request for a card by saying, “No, I don’t have that Card Shark.” Implying you have others. Again, the basic answers must be right, but we encourage; exaggeration, annoying quips, disparaging remarks etc.

If a player asks how many cards everyone has at the table, you must answer honestly and verbally, with your card count (this is known as the “Rule of Ken” from a Risk™ debacle in our past).

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