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Full Version: Hoo boy...NPA rules
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I was reviewing these as a possible 'special format' for WoCG...but I'm definitely NOT going to suggest/request them.

The procedural rules (renege, bid out of turn) are harsh...but the punishment for going set is *brutal*.  Absolutely brutal.  

Quote:If a player wins a bid and the team’s meld plus the 50 points in the deck is insufficient to make the bid, the hand cannot be played. This is called Board Set and it should be documented on the score sheet. The bidding team goes set the amount of the bid and the opposing team receives the amount of the bid plus their meld (if 20 or more). If a player wins the bid and has sufficient meld, but the team fails to accumulate 20 points (or more if necessary) during play, the team goes set the bid. The opposing team receives the bid plus their meld (if 20 or more) plus the points accumulated during play (if 20 or more is saved)

Boldfaced mine.  So if I bid 65 on 40 total meld, then pull 24...oops.  I lose 65.  You GAIN 65 + 26 (play points) + any meld you had!

OUCH!  Very similar rules apply when the bidder has no marriage, save that the hand can't be played.  The bidding side loses the bid;  the other side gains the bid plus their meld, if they have enough.  So pass-pass-pass becomes EXTREMELY attractive, and the notion of bidding without a marriage, and saving with ANY marriage, might need reconsideration...the penalty is vicious.  Usually, the dealer dump is just a 50 point swing against the dealer...no big deal.  This is at least a 100 point swing.  

Their meld tables make the situation even worse.  This is clear:  a run is 25, a *single* pino is 15.  (A double is still 30...but single pinos are very common, and that value is very high.)  A roundhouse is listed as a separate 24...but what's not clear to me is, what's the value of the run AND the roundhouse?  49?  Wow.  Plus...that chart does not have an entry for a basic or trump marriage.  Oversight?  One would think so...but a bad omission if so.  Or an intended simplification?  It would be a significiant change, if so.

But the point I'm getting at:  those meld rules seem to make 70 the new 60...the point at which an opponent who hasn't heard meld from his partner, may well have to pass.  Yes, well, now a typical run + scattered this and that...without a pino...might still be, say, 33 instead of 23.  With about 20 play points estimated, that's 53.  I surely would WANT to bid 65.  And, let's say that the first 2 bids are meld bids...52-54.  The hand's likely to hit 75, 80...maybe higher.

And now, a set becomes perhaps a 200 point swing.

Final point to note:  EVERY hand that has one run-holding hand contesting against another, has a 50 point swing involved, just due to the value of the run.

The conclusion seems to be:  luck becomes enormous.  So does good trick-counting, I'll grant...you must be aggressive enough not to lose those run vs. run swings, but must also keep an eye on safety.  And the problem, of course, is you will get burned either way.  Thus, it really doesn't feel like they're maximizing skill;  they're giving luck too much sway, and in a game where it has a GREAT deal of sway to begin with.
An excellent analysis, TE. I come from rules where setting team get their meld (if 20 or more) and even that was considered too much luck here (must save meld to get it). I was convinced on at least the no marriage and less than 20 meld board sets to change the rules to not give the other team their meld.

But the swings in these rules are way too high. That was a bad selection of rules for a standard.
When I was adding Double Deck Pinochle to WoCG, I ran across their rules. I wanted to apply their rules as the default, but as mentioned, they are bizarre. The oversight (?) on the marriage melds alone turned me off, and I'm far from expert. I found these rules poorly written for an official org which I'd expect to be dictating the standards.
Definitely slipshod. However, I rather suspect that it's a fairly small organization.

One *possible* point about the swings...they're playing total points. You play 4 hands, with everyone acting as dealer once, in a round. You play X rounds. IIRC, the winner(s) are based on total score over all rounds.

It is kinda too bad, because I think playing that a run counts 25 might be interesting. That would be the only meld change; 15 for a single pino is awful, IMO. And from a play perspective, the rule that if your meld + 50 would still mean you go set...I don't mind giving the other team something like, say, 50 + their meld. Overbidding to THAT degree can be presumed to be disruptive, and throwing in an additional penalty beyond losing the points seems justified.
yes, I agree, and that's decision I made. Meld (on board with 20 or more) was given for all board sets (no marriage, less than 20 meld, and pulling more than 50) and I've now restricted that to the disruptive bidding of pulling more than 50. Can't accept that a team loses opportunity to save their meld by another team bidding to where they need more than 50 points. Plus that's way it was always played in my parts. Smile

I will cede that getting dropped on you with no marriage or less than 20 meld is pure luck though, and getting board set with the open is enough for that.
Actually, there's an inconsistency in standard rules that I don't like. Dealer gets the bid dropped on him.

--if dealer has no marriage, case closed. Dealer's side loses 50; other side gets 0.
--if dealer has a marriage, but his side doesn't have 20...dealer's side loses 50, but now the other side gets their meld, if more than 20.

So *having* the marriage punishes the dealer. Why??? I think these should be handled the same way; let the non-bidding side score their meld in both cases. I think the NPA rules, which do this, handle that correctly...it's giving the non-bidding side the value of the bid that is excessive.

And let me clarify. If the bidder needs more than 50 play points, he's immediately set and the hand thrown in. His side loses the bid. What I'm suggesting: the non-bidders get their meld, PLUS 50. That's the change for this one case. And it doesn't matter if the bidder has a marriage or not. It's rare, sure, but I have seen this:

53 - 56 - pass - 70

Opener has a double pino, flat hand, 2 aces...no marriage. He bids 75...even 85 if need be...to block the opponents. And the rules make this probably the best play, in a game to a fixed score. (Possibly even in NPA total points.) The opening bidder is figuring his opponents are pulling 31; he's got no defense. Going set for 75 or 85 is better than letting them have 80, most of the time; it lengthens the game. In the case of not having 20, or no marriage...there's no malice, and just the normal result. In the case with malice, there's punitive damages. Smile

To be sure: in a case like this, when the bidder steals with no marriage, simply giving the non-bidders their meld could well be enough of a penalty. In the obstinacy case, the bidder loses 75; the non-bidders score at least 30, probably close to 40. If the jerk goes to 85, the other side will probably have close to 50. For the most part, that's likely to be an adequate deterrent...and it would set up everything to be handled the same way. That would be nice. The NPA rules do score highly on this aspect; they *are* consistent.
I love this thread!

This marries closely to the discussions in the Thread: Offense cannot make their bid, then what? [starting from post #3]

I would love us to hammer out what is best on principle, and then push our findings upon the games and developers of Pinochle.

I am confident we have enough intellect to construct the fairest, most balanced set of rules regarding the consequences of different conditional Sets.

Good rules will punish the guilty, protect the innocent, reward sensible aggressive bidding, and use a consistent method for scoring that is easy to remember.

Let's carry on and be constructive!

p.s. I wonder if NPA used 25pt Runs as an adaptation to reduce the frequency of Sets. I believe (though I'll never know) that my family's Pinochle rules made adaptations to soften the game as well -- making it easier to Save.
I'd also like to reference this related thread: Taking/Getting Stuck With The Bid and No Marriage
(05-10-2016, 10:31 PM)mickmackusa Wrote: [ -> ]p.s. I wonder if NPA used 25pt Runs as an adaptation to reduce the frequency of Sets.  I believe (though I'll never know) that my family's Pinochle rules made adaptations to soften the game as well -- making it easier to Save.

No.  If dealer's got a run, he'll go set much less often.  And dumping it on the dealer doesn't happen very often.

What it does is increase the stakes for the fairly common competitive auctions, with 2 players bidding for the contract.  As I noted, the swing's now about 50 points per hand, rather than 30.  And the bidding implications are really complex.  The run by itself carries SO much weight of meld.  In strength-first, I'm not sure that even a pull-31 hand *that doesn't have a run* is valued down *greatly*.  Part of this is total scoring versus game scoring.  I'm better off if I score 90, but let my opponents score 45, than if I score 70 but shut my opponent out.  The former case gives me an extra 25 points against the entire *field*;  the latter only "gives me" 45 points against a single pair.

And:  I wonder if blitz bidding would be the way to go.  That is:  in first seat, with something like


just open 65, or even 70 if you prefer.  The hand has 39 meld (NPA) and 9 tricks for 22.  That's 61;  65 is trivial, 70 tight, and 75 a typical bidding max.  Opening 65 or 70 would obviously shut out *most* meld bids, and therefore partnership communications.  It might be interesting to monitor the bidding approaches.

We've brought up poker from time to time.  Well, 25 meld for the run...kinda feels like you're playing hold'em...with a joker included.
(05-11-2016, 01:52 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-10-2016, 10:31 PM)mickmackusa Wrote: [ -> ]p.s. I wonder if NPA used 25pt Runs as an adaptation to reduce the frequency of Sets.  I believe (though I'll never know) that my family's Pinochle rules made adaptations to soften the game as well -- making it easier to Save.

No.  If dealer's got a run, he'll go set much less often.  And dumping it on the dealer doesn't happen very often.

Aren't we agreeing on this point?

Shouldn't it be:
Yes.  If dealer's got a run, he'll go set much less often.  And dumping it on the dealer doesn't happen very often.
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