Level 9 - Special Discards

  • Level 9 strategies should only be learned if you have 140+ games of experience with the group.

Special Moves#


The Gentleman's Discard#

  • First, see the section on the Sarcastic Discard.
  • To review, the Sarcastic Discard is:
    1. a move that transfers a clued card in one person's hand to a clued card in another person's hand
    2. necessary to eliminate confusion among the team (because from Good Touch Principle, we are not normally supposed to have two copies of the same card "touched" with a clue)
    3. done with both playable cards and non-playable cards
  • It is also possible to "transfer" cards to other players Finesse Position. This is called a Gentleman's Discard to signify that the other card was completely blind as opposed to having a clue on it already.
  • The Gentleman's Discard is:
    1. a move that transfers a clued card in one person's hand to the Finesse Position of another person's hand
    2. not necessary and does not directly help the team, but may have some helpful side effects
    3. done with only playable cards
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • It is the first turn and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 1 to Cathy, touching one 1.
    • Bob clues red to Cathy, filling in the already-touched 1 as red 1, as well as touching a new card, which must be red 2.
    • Cathy discards the known red 1 as a Gentleman's Discard.
    • Alice blind-plays her Finesse Position card as red 1.
AliceRed 1BobClue GiverClue GiverCathyDiscards(2)
  • Often times, doing a Gentleman's Discard will delay things and cost the team Tempo. Thus, a Gentleman's Discard that slows things down is only good if there is some other side benefit to offset the lost Tempo (such as delaying the discard of a valuable card, for example).
  • Just like how Prompts take precedence over Finesses, Sarcastic Discards take precedence over Gentleman's Discards.
  • For the purposes of Priority, Gentleman's Discards do not count as a blind-play. (Priority is a concept that is introduced in a later level.) This is because the Gentleman's Discard is an information-symmetric move and nothing needs to be "proven" to other members of the team.

The Layered Gentleman's Discard#

  • First, see the section on the Gentleman's Discard.
  • One great reason to want to do a Gentleman's Discard is if the card you are discarding is also behind playable cards. This is similar to a Layered Finesse, only it was initiated by a discard instead of a clue.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • It is the first turn and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 1 to Cathy, touching one 1.
    • Bob clues red to Cathy, filling in the already-touched 1 as red 1, as well as touching a new card, which must be red 2.
    • Cathy discards the known red 1 as a Gentleman's Discard.
    • Alice blind-plays her Finesse Position card as red 1, but it is green 1.
    • Alice knows that she is promised the red 1, so she will blind-play her slot 2 on her next turn.
AliceGreen 1Red 1BobClue GiverClue GiverCathyDiscards(2)

The Baton Discard#

  • First, see the section on the Gentleman's Discard.
  • When a Gentleman's Discard happens, it transfers a playable card to someone else's hand. But players are also allowed to transfer unplayable cards that they happen to know the full identity of. We call this a Baton Discard to distinguish it from the more-ordinary Gentleman's Discard.
  • Just like a Gentleman's Discard, a Baton Discard promises that the card is exactly on someone else's Finesse Position.
  • For example, this would be a Gentleman's Discard in a 3-player game:
    • Red 2 is played on the stacks.
    • Alice discards a known red 3.
    • Bob does not have any clued cards in his hand.
    • Bob looks at Cathy's hand and does not see the red 3. Thus, he knows that he has it.
    • Bob blind-plays his Finesse Position card and it is the red 3 and successfully plays.
AliceAlice discards known Red 3BobRed 3Bob blind plays his Finesse PositionCathy
  • For example, this would be a Baton Discard in a 3-player game:
    • Red 1 is played on the stacks.
    • Alice discards a known red 3.
    • Bob does not have any clued cards in his hand.
    • Bob looks at Cathy's hand and does not see the red 3. Thus, he knows that he has it.
    • Bob marks his Finesse Position card as red 3. For now, Bob does not have anything else to do, so he discards his chop card.
AliceAlice discards known Red 3BobRed 3Bob marks his Finesse Position as Red 3Cathy
  • Note that it is illegal to perform a Layered Baton Discard; the card must be exactly in Finesse Position.
  • Baton Discards are mostly useful for two main reasons:
    1. To better satisfy Team Distribution Principle. It makes sense to transfer a card out of a locked / almost locked hand to a player with an "empty" hand or a hand that only has one card clued in it.
    2. You want to protect your own chop. If you discard your chop, the team could be losing some high-value one-away-from-playable card. But if you transfer a card to someone else, it gives you something "safe" to do.

The Sarcastic Finesse#

  • First, see the section on the Sarcastic Discard.
  • Imagine that in a 3-player game:
    • Nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Alice has an already-clued 2 in her hand. She has no idea what color 2 it is.
    • Alice performs a Finesse by giving a red color Play Clue to a red 2 in Cathy's hand.
    • Bob blind-plays red 1 from his Finesse Position.
    • Normally, Cathy would think that she has the next red card, which is red 2, and play it.
    • However, what if Alice actually has the red 2? In this situation, Cathy is expected to perform a Sarcastic Discard.
AliceClue GiverClue Giver(R)BobRed 1CathyDiscards(2)
  • Doing a Finesse that potentially duplicates a card in this way is called a Sarcastic Finesse. Normally, potentially duplicating a card is bad - it violates Good Touch Principle and could lead to a clue being wasted. However, potentially duplicating a card with the Sarcastic Finesse is not bad because:
    • In the best case, you get a "true" Finesse (a 2-for-1 or better).
    • In the worst case, you get a 1-for-1 and full knowledge on a clued card in your own hand that was previously a mystery.
    • On average, this is a 1.5-for-1, which satisfies Minimum Clue Value Principle.

The Certain Finesse & The Certain Discard#

  • First, see the section on the Sarcastic Finesse.
  • Imagine that in a 3-player game:
    • Red 2 is played on the stacks.
    • Alice has an already-clued red card in her hand. It has a negative 4 clue on it, so from Good Touch Principle Alice knows that it is either red 3 or red 5.
    • Alice performs a Reverse Finesse by giving a red color Play Clue to a red 4 in Bob's hand.
    • Bob discards.
    • Cathy knows that she is promised the red 3 in her Finesse Position.
AliceClue GiverClue Giver35Bob(4)CathyRed 3If Alice has Red 3, Cathy blindly discards Red 3If Alice has Red 5, Cathy blindly plays Red 3
  • This is an example of a Certain Finesse - it is similar to the Sarcastic Finesse above, but the "blind" card was potentially duplicated instead of the clued card.
  • In this situation, if Alice really has the red 3, Cathy is allowed to blind-discard their Finesse Position card. This is called a Certain Discard, because Cathy can be certain that it is exactly red 3.
  • A separate way to explain this convention is that everyone agrees that performing a Layered Finesse on a card that could potentially be clued in your own hand is illegal. So, everyone can be certain that they can safely blind discard a card to pass it back to someone who potentially duplicated.
  • Note that players are only allowed to do a Certain Discard if they know they have not been Bluffed. This means that Certain Finesses cannot be performed from Bluff Seat. (Bluffs are an advanced kind of move that is covered later on.)

The Composition Finesse#

  • First, see the section on the Sarcastic Finesse and the Certain Finesse.
  • Sometimes, a move can be both a Sarcastic Finesse and a Certain Finesse at the same time. When this occurs, it is called a Composition Finesse.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • All of the 2's are played on the stacks.
    • Alice has a card in her hand with a red clue on it. It could be either red 3, red 4, or red 5.
    • Alice clues red to Bob, touching a red 4 as a Play Clue.
    • Bob discards.
    • Cathy knows that she has the red 3 on her Finesse Position (as a Certain Finesse). She can Certain Discard it if Alice has the red 3. But Alice does not have the red 3, so Cathy blind-plays the red 3.
    • Alice discards.
    • Bob knows that his red card is a red 4 (as a Sarcastic Finesse). He can Sarcastic Discard it if Alice has the red 4. But Alice does not have the red 4, so Bob plays the red 4.
AliceClue GiverClue Giver345Bob(4)CathyRed 3If Alice has Red 3, Cathy blindly discards Red 3If Alice has Red 4 or 5, Cathy blindly plays Red 3Next turn...Bob(4)If Alice has Red 4, Bob discards Red 4If Alice has Red 3 or 5, Bob plays Red 4

Common Mistakes#


The Double Gentleman's Discard (Illegal)#

  • Normally, when a player performs a Gentleman's Discard, they know the exact identity of the card that they are discarding.
  • However, sometimes a Gentleman's Discard can occur where, from your perspective, the card could have been two different things. Does this mean that the Gentleman's Discard "gets" both of the cards?
  • No, it does not. Even if it looks like the player could not have known the true identity of the card, the Gentleman's Discard only gets the specific other matching card. (The reason for this is that it allows players to act upon asymmetric information.)
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • Red 1 and blue 1 are played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues Bob number 2, which touches a red 2 on slot 1. This is a Play Clue on the 2. Thus, this is a globally known red 2 or blue 2. Alice right-clicks the card and writes a note of "r2, b2".
    • Bob also writes a note of "r2, b2", but then stops to think a little deeper. He notices that Alice has a blue 3 in her hand, so it might have been possible for Cathy to perform a Finesse on a hypothetical blue 2 in his hand.
    • Bob rewinds to the beginning of the game and re-plays through all of the turns, watching closely to see if Cathy had an ample opportunity to perform a Finesse on a blue 2. Indeed, he finds that Cathy had one or two turns where she could have easily performed a Reverse Finesse, but discarded instead.
    • Thus, Bob knows that it must be a red 2, so he updates his "r2, b2" note to "r2".
    • Bob sees that Cathy has a red 2 on her Finesse Position, so he performs a Gentleman's Discard by discarding the red 2.
    • Cathy blind-plays the red 2 from her Finesse Position.
    • Alice gasps in surprise, because Bob could not have possibly known that it was exactly a red 2. This must be a Double Gentleman's Discard, calling for both red 2 and blue 2. Alice blind-plays her Finesse Position card, hoping to play a blue 2, but instead plays a red 5, losing the game.
    • Alice forgot that Double Gentleman's Discards were expressly illegal because it is possible for players to have asymmetric information about the current game state.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBlue 3Bob2Bob finds that Cathy discarded earlier insteadof performing a Reverse FinesseBob discards Slot 1, it is Red 2CathyRed 2Cathy blind plays Slot 1AliceBlue 3Alice blind plays Slot 1 as Blue 2BobCathyIllegal!