Level 4 - Basic Chop Moves

  • Level 4 strategies should only be learned if you have played with the group for a week or so (40+ games of experience).

Conventions#


Chop Moves#

  • Normally, players discard their oldest (right-most) unclued card. However, sometimes a player can know that an unclued card is very important.
  • A Chop Move is a special kind of move that indicates to a player that the unclued card that is currently on their chop is very important.
  • After the Chop Move, the player considers the card on their chop to be touched with an "invisible" clue. Thus, their chop will "move" to the next right-most unclued card.
  • A Chop Move is permanent, meaning that a Chop Moved card should not be discarded for the remainder of the game.
  • The two most common kinds of Chop Moves are listed below.

Special Moves#


The Trash Chop Move#

  • In the middle of a game, if all of the 1's have been played already, and someone clues a 1, this is quite strange. (From Good Touch Principle, players are not supposed to touch cards that have already been played.) In this situation, the 1 is considered "trash".
  • The clue must have some deeper meaning. We agree that it means that the cards to the right of the trash are important. The point of the clue was to give the player a safe discard.
  • However, in addition to giving a safe discard, it should also Chop Move all of the cards to the right of the trash.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • All of the 1's are played.
    • Bob has a completely unclued hand.
    • Alice clues 1's to Bob, which touches a 1 in his slot 4.
    • Bob Chop Moves his slot 5.
    • Bob discards the 1.
    • Bob's chop is now his slot 4.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobChop1TrashChopMovedAfter discarding the 1...BobChopChopMoved
  • Most of the time, the Trash Chop Move is done for a single card (meaning that the trash card that was clued was one-away from chop). However, you can also use the Trash Chop Move to Chop Move multiple cards.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • All of the 1's have been played on the stacks.
    • Bob has a completely unclued hand.
    • Alice clues 1's to Bob, which touches a 1 in his slot 1.
    • Bob Chop Moves his slot 2, his slot 3, his slot 4, and his slot 5 (a quadruple Chop Move).
    • Bob discards the 1.
    • Bob's chop is now his slot 1.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBob1TrashChopMovedChopMovedChopMovedChopMovedAfter discarding the 1...BobChopChopMovedChopMovedChopMovedChopMoved
  • Trash Chop Moves are most commonly performed with a number 1 clue because it is likely that in the middle of a game, all of the 1's will be already played. But it could also be done with a number two 2 clue if all the 2's are already played / accounted for. Or, it could be done with a red clue if all of the red cards are already played / accounted for. And so forth.
  • Strategy wise, the Trash Chop Move is used for two main reasons:
    1. Sometimes there are multiple critical cards in a row on chop and it falls to one player to save all of them. In this situation, a multiple-card Chop Move could be the only way to do it.
    2. Some cards (e.g. a one-away-from-playable 3) are quite useful to the team, but "illegal" to touch directly (as touching them directly with a clue would imply that they are playable right now). If the game is going well, then it can be useful to "waste" a clue in order to have the card saved permanently.
  • Note that you are not allowed to Trash Chop Move a card that you can just clue directly with a Save Clue (unless there are multiple critical cards in a row on chop and you have no other choice). This is because having some positive information is always better than having the card be a mystery.
  • If a Trash Chop Move touches multiple trash cards, then it only Chop Moves the cards to the right of the right-most trash card.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • All the 1's are played on the stacks.
    • Bob has a completely unclued hand.
    • Alice clues 1's to Bob, which touches a 1 in slot 2 and a 1 in slot 4.
    • Bob only Chop Moves his slot 5 card.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBob1TrashChop1TrashChopMoved

The 5's Chop Move (5CM)#

  • Normally, we are only allowed to save 5's on chop (unless it is done with a 5 Stall clue, which can happen in the Early Game and in other "stalling" situations).
  • So, if a number 5 clue is performed on a 5 that is not on chop, and it is not a stalling situation, then it will normally look like a Play Clue on that 5.
  • However, if the 5 is:
    • one-away from chop (or, if two or more 5's are clued and the right-most 5 is one-away from chop), and
    • the chop card is not a trash card
  • Then, we agree that it has a special meaning, and that the clue is not a Play Clue at all.
  • Instead, it is understood that the clue is a 5's Chop Move, and the player should Chop Move in a manner similar to the Trash Chop Move.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • All the 1's are played on the stacks.
    • Bob has a completely unclued hand.
    • Alice clues 5's to Bob, which touches a 5 on slot 4.
    • Bob Chop Moves his slot 5 card. Bob's new chop is his slot 3.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobChop5ChopMoved
  • Similar to the Trash Chop Move, if a 5's Chop Move touches multiple 5's, then it only Chop Moves the cards to the right of the right-most 5.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • All the 1's are played on the stacks.
    • Bob has a completely unclued hand.
    • Alice clues 5's to Bob, which touches a 5 in slot 2 and a 5 in slot 4.
    • Bob only Chop Moves his slot 5 card. Bob's new chop is his slot 3.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBob5Chop5ChopMoved
  • Note that the 5's Chop Move is different than the Trash Chop Move in that you can only chop move one card with it. Thus, if you clue a 5 and it is two (or more) slots away from the chop, then it is to be assumed to be a Play Clue on the 5.
    • When counting how far away from chop a card is, you should only look at unclued cards.
  • Remember that 5 Stalls takes precedence over 5's Chop Moves. Thus, if a number 5 clue could just be a 5 Stall (e.g. it is the Early Game), then it should not Chop Move anything.

General Principles#


Chop Moves & New Clues#

  • Once a card has been Chop Moved and is no longer in danger of being discarded, it is treated as an already-clued card with regards to new clues given to that hand.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • All of the 1's have been played on the stacks.
    • Bob has a completely unclued hand.
    • Alice clues 1's to Bob, which touches a 1 in his slot 4.
    • Bob Chop Moves his slot 5.
    • Bob discards the 1.
    • Bob's chop is now his slot 4.
    • Cathy clues blue to Bob, which touches his slot 1 (the card he just drew) and his slot 5 (the card that was just Chop Moved).
    • Bob knows that the focus of the clue is always on the brand-new card introduced, so this is not chop-focus, and the focus of the clue is on slot 1.
    • Thus, Bob will play blue 2 from slot 1 on his next turn.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobChop1TrashChopMovedAfter discarding the 1...AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobFocus(2)ChopFormerlyChopMoved
  • The exception to the above rule is if a clue is given that touches a Chop Moved card for the first time and only "old" cards are touched.
  • For example, in a 3-player game of the rainbow variant:
    • All the 2's are played on the stacks.
    • Bob has an unknown red card on slot 3, an unknown red card on slot 4, and a Chop Moved card in slot 5 (that is completely unclued).
    • Alice clues blue to Bob, which touches slot 3, slot 4, and slot 5. (Slot 3 and slot 4 are "filled in" to be rainbow cards and slot 5 is now a true blue card.)
    • Bob knows that the focus of the clue is normally on the brand-new card introduced, but all three of the cards that were touched were "old".
    • Bob knows that when old cards are re-touched, the focus of the clue is the left-most of those cards.
    • However, Bob also knows that this is the exception to the rule. In this specific case, putting a positive clue on the Chop Moved card was more important than filling in the rainbow cards, so by convention the focus of the clue is his slot 5.
Situation before clueAliceBobChopChopMovedSituation after clueAliceClue GiverClue GiverBobChopFocus

Chop Moves & Prompts#

  • Chop Moves interact with Prompts & Finesses in a potentially confusing way. Chop Moved cards should not be played into Prompts, even though they are imagined to have an "invisible" clue on them.
  • For example:
    • All the 1's are played on the stacks.
    • Bob has no cards clued in his hand, but he is Chop Moved for a mystery card on his slot 5.
    • Alice clues Cathy red, which touches a red 3.
    • Bob knows that he is promised the red 2. If this is a Finesse, then he has the red 2 on his Finesse Position (slot 1).
    • However, Bob is also Chop Moved for a card. Bob knows that Chop Moved cards have an "invisible" clue around them, and Bob also knows that Prompts are said to take precedence over Finesses.
    • So should he play his slot 1 as a Finesse or his slot 5 as a Prompt? In this situation, Bob knows that Prompts do not apply to Chop Moved cards, so Bob should play his slot 1.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobRed 2ChopChopMovedCathy(3)

Common Mistakes#


Critical Discards after a Chop Move (Mistake)#

  • If a player Chop Moves a card, and then the next time they discard, they discard a critical card, then obviously some kind of mistake occurred.
  • The best explanation is that the Chop Move was never intended in the first place.
  • Thus, when this happens, the player should "undo" the Chop Move.

Undoing an Accidental Chop Move (Mistake)#

  • Often times a player can misinterpret a clue as a Chop Move when it really had some other meaning. If this happens, after they discard their new Chop, everyone else on the team will know that an accidental Chop Move has occurred.
  • Later on in the game, sometimes a player in this situation can retroactively realize that they have made a mistake by Chop Moving earlier on. They might be tempted to shift their chop back to where it is supposed to be.
  • However, unless they discard a critical card (see the above section), players should generally not ever undo a Chop Move, because they could be discarding a now-critical card that was not critical at the time of the original mistake. Everyone else on the team did not bother to clue the now-critical card, because they thought it was safely Chop Moved.