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SPLIT

EXCERPTS FROM THE SPRING 2000 GA REPORT

Reviewed by Herb Levy

SPLIT (Parker Brothers/Hasbro Games; $16.95)

 

Split derives its name from its unusual set of playing cards. It uses the standard 52 card deck (plus Jokers) that we all know and love except that each is split, that is, cut in half. In searching for its mate, players are allowed to place, and sometime remove, chips from the board. The first player (or team) to connect both sides of the board with his chips wins!

The deck of cards is shuffled and each player receives a hand of 7 cards with 10 cards placed face up alongside the board. The remaining cards become the draw pile. Each turn, a player must play a card from his hand. In doing so, a player is trying to match one of the 10 cards exposed.

Three types of matches are possible. A “weak” match is when the combination of two halves only match in number (for example, both cards are “7”) or face (both are Jacks) but not in color (one card is red, the other is black). A weak match allows you to place one chip on any space on the board showing one of the two suits of the match. The played cards stay where they are, available to be matched again. A “strong” match occurs when both halves match in number or face AND in color. This allows the player to place TWO chips on the board in spaces that match the suits. Again, the cards stay where they are. A “perfect match” is when both halves are identical. In that case, the player can first REMOVE an opponent’s chip from anywhere on the board and then place two of his own on the board. (And no, you cannot look underneath a chip to see what symbol is being hidden.) The perfect match is then removed and a new card drawn to fill the vacant space. There are four jokers, 2 red (which act as ANY red card) and 2 black (which act as ANY black card).

In the event you are unable to make a match, you show your hand (confirming that a match is not possible) and draw 7 new cards. But you do NOT lose a turn. After drawing, you then play to make a match.

Split is one of those unusual games that can appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike. Although a double deck of regular cards could have served the same purpose as this special “split deck”, Hasbro earns points for presentation. By using split cards, Hasbro uses the familiar card deck in an unfamiliar fashion to engage the non-gamer or casual gamer to explore other possibilities that a deck can hold. It might take a scientist to split the atom, but it doesn’t take much to recognize a charming family game that works for the entire family. And such a game is Split. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Herb Levy


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