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    I'm starting with a dull, and very simple, rules question, I'm afraid. Let me summarise the rules of Flashpoint as I understand them and then there's one bit that I need explaining.

    1. We lay out a row of cards, face-up. The number of cards we deal is:

    [Sum of Principals' card numbers] + [Sum of Non-principal players]

    2. We start with the card on the right-hand side. The player with that rank can move that card on top of the card one space, or three spaces, to the left - but only if the card currently in that space has an equal rank or suit to the card being moved.

    [So far, it's fairly simple. I don't understand the phrase "Carry out Accordion", though, which is why I'm checking.]

    3. We move on to the next card, moving to the left. And again, the player with that rank can move that card one space, etc, etc.

    4. When we get to the leftmost card, we go back to the rightmost card and continue.

    5. This stops when either:

    a. Nobody wants to move a card or
    b. None of the cards can move

    There's two bits I don't understand.

    Firstly, what happens when we're progressing from right to left and we come to a "stack" of cards, rather than a single card? Am I right that only the card on the bottom of the stack can move?

    Secondly, let's say that the card whose "turn" it is has a space directly to the left of it (because the card from that space has already moved). Does the "one space to the left" rule mean that the card moves into the space? Or do we ignore the space, so that "one space to the left" means the card to the left of the space? Stop me if that's not clear.

    I'll have more in-depth - and more interesting - questions as soon as I've read the appropriate documents.



    Hi Graham,

    Quick point: the 1-or-3, by rank-or-suit, is from a simple solitaire card game called Accordion.

    Your #3-4 is a little off, I think. The rule is, after any card moved, look at the rightmost card of the layout. If it can be moved, than its player has the option. Technically, there is no "moving to the left" unless the rightmost card cannot be moved, or its player doesn't want to move it.

    For your questions,

    1. Yes, only the bottom (covering) card of a given stack, which I like to call a "column," can move.

    2. There is no such thing as an empty space. If a card moves, and there was no card under it, the entire row has become one card shorter. This is actually why the solitaire game is called "accordion."

    Best, Ron

    • CommentAuthorjrs
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2005


    I still have that mock-up diagram of card play. Would that be useful? I can't just add it to the comments, I would need to upload it somewhere.



    I have in on my hard drive, Julie, so I'll figure out a way to make it public. This message is leading me to compose an examples file for download.

    I can't over-emphasize that business about "rightmost card" enough. It's absolutely crucial - people are going to want to go "jump jump" like checkers, not realizing that the first jump has actually opened up an opportunity for the card to the right. And this is re-evaluated with every single card that's moved.

    Oh, and that all card-moving is carried out in the absence of narration, finalized, and then fixed - once narrations start, cards cannot be moved.

    I think the hardest thing to convey is that for narrations of Flashpoint, treat each column as a unit of narration, contributed to in order down the column (most covered to least covered). And that unlike games like PTA or Dust Devils, it is perfectly all right to pull a surprise narration during your "go," as in "I fling my gun into the river and run off" instead of shooting the guy, which as a possibility had prompted the Flashpoint in the first place.

    Best, Ron


    Some quick notions about understanding the system:
    -When you taught me the system, the moment I understood what it was about was when I realized that columns are scenes and cards are bits of player power. So you might consider emphasizing those points. Or not, if your target audience doesn't have the same mental hook-up I do.
    - I find the words 'top' and 'bottom' very confusing in Spione conversation. Is it a common usage in English solitaire terminology to refer to the uppermost (covering, latest to arrive) card in a face-up stack as the 'bottom' card? I understand that you usually arrange the cards so the ones on the bottom stick up from under the ones on top, resulting in the covering card being closer to the player, but still in my head it seems more sensible to call the uppermost card "top" and bottommost "bottom". If it's common usage, then you should of course retain it, but I wonder if any English-speakers have the same problem.

    • CommentAuthorRon Edwards
    • CommentTimeDec 12th 2005 edited

    Columns don't quite correspond to scenes, but almost. A scene would be composed of all columns which start with a card for a given spy. There might be more than one in a given Flashpoint layout.

    Top and bottom don't work well at all, I think. The column's first card is at the top of the column, but as you point out, it's also at the bottom if you consider column to be a pile. I think I'll adopt starting card as a useful term, and then covering cards, with stacking being a potential subset of covering.

    Best, Ron


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