111 MyRummy (111Ants)

Designer: Steffen Benndorf

Artist: Uncredited

Publisher: Schmidt Spiele

If they ask, I will help them come up with a much better title (Photo credits: Eric Martin@BGG)

Another game from the numerical genius that is Steffen Benndorf. Having being credited with hits such as The Game, Ohanami, Qwixx and other number sequencing type games, I found this obscure and curious title bearing his name on the market from another gamer’s collection. A little bit of digging revealed that the original game by Schmidt Spiele was out of print but the game has since been republished by White Goblin Games with the title 111Ants. My first thought was: “Boy, they really need to come up with a better title for this game” which was quickly followed by “Why haven’t I heard of this?”. After a half dozen initial plays, we like this game and find it an underrated gem. It won’t rock any major awards, but this is a solid entry by Benndorf that probably deserves more air time especially since his other titles with a similar feel were well-received.

Anyways, on to the game. 111 MyRummy is a card game with obviously no theme and contains cards ranging from 2-111. Each player gets a hand of 12 cards in which the goal is to form a hand with a sequence of cards either in ascending or descending order in numerical value starting from either the left or right side of your hand of cards. Gaps in between numbers are fine so long as they are in either ascending or descending order In other words, the game is won by one person when all the cards in their hands are in sequence. Because of this rule, the order in which the cards are picked up must remain the same and unperturbed after it is dealt.

Each turn, in order to resequence their cards, players choose from one of three cards on the table and insert that card into their hand while discarding a card that is either to the left or right of the insertion site back to the table where the initial card was selected. At the start of the game, the three cards in the middle of the table are face-down. However, discarded cards are placed face up on the table and can be picked up by any player including by the same player who discarded it. Once all three cards on the table become face-up, a player can clear the tableau and draw three new face down cards to the middle.

The game is scored in a clever way: The person who completes the hand is the winner and scores five bonus points. Then the winner will also score all the joker icons in each of his 12 cards that are in sequence while the losers will score their longest, unbroken sequence of cards. Each card will have different number of jokers based on the color of the card. Some cards will have up to 4 jokers while most have one. Part of the game is to craft a sequence of cards with high value scores so that even though your don’t end up winning the hand, your scores will be respectable. To do that, you need to build your hand “inside-out” so that you won’t be caught with a sudden break in your longest chain of cards. With some luck, your losing score can sometimes best the winner.

The game is played until 60 points which is somewhat arbitrary. Since I can score somewhere between 20-30 points each round, the game probably ends after 2-3 rounds. Of course, you can always aim for a higher threshold for victory to lengthen the play. Alternative, you can just play a set number of hands and just count the total points or total wins. For example, a best of 5 series. In fact, sometimes, we just play to pass time and don’t even bother to count the points earned.

111MyRummy is a game in search of a better title, but the game is also much better than the title would have us believe. You can certainly find Benndorf’s fingerprints ever where in 111MyRummy. Fans of Benndorf or those who have an obsession with ordering numbers will appreciate this game. Those who enjoy Qwixx, Ohanami or The Game may also like this one. For us, we have always loved the small box Amigo Spiele, Adlung Spiele or Schmidt Spiele card games and so this is a great addition. We have primarily played this game with only 2 players and each hand takes probably 10 minutes. It’s basically a race to see who can complete the task faster. 111MyRummy is the type of game best left out on the dining room table and picked up to play whenever there is a break in life. For us, this means the time spent waiting for our daughter to brush her teeth and put on her pajamas for bedtime!

Initial impression: Good

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