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52 Pick Up: A New Game Each Week!

Episode 8: MOB

Gareth-Michael Skarka
March 29, 2001
Eight of Spades

Hello again, folks.   Your friendly neighborhood columnist has returned from the wilds of Las Vegas and the GAMA Trade Show.   The show was a rousing success...I met quite a few people who are regular readers of this column and had very nice things to say about it.   Taking the cake was Suppressed Transmission and Out of the Box columnist Ken Hite, who has provided me with the ultimate back-cover quote for any imagined published collection of 52 Pick Up:  "The perfect combination of brilliant and stupid."

So I absorbed the surreal, over-indulged, attention-deficit fantasy that is Las Vegas, managed to piss off the rest of SCS by (in the words of staff writer Drew Campbell) "Irishing Out" and coming home with roughly 3 times the amount of money than I had left with, and generally had a slammin' time.

So, naturally, after spending a week in Vegas, I'm in the mood to do a card game about the Mafia.


As was the case with Face Off, we'll use standard playing card decks and labels.   First, you'll have to set up the cards.  One deck for each player.

Affix labels to the cards, leaving the values of the cards still visible.  The labels read:

Spades:    2   Quick Stick-up  (robbery 2)
                3     Convenience Store Stick-up (robbery 3)
                4     House break-in  (robbery 4)
                5      Liquor Store hold-up(robbery 5)
                6      Check Cashing Hold-up (robbery 6)
                7      Cargo Truck hi-jack (robbery 7)
                8     Bank Job (robbery 8)
                9    Warehouse Grab (robbery 9)
               10     Airport Heist (robbery 10)
                J      Little Joey
                Q     Vinny Bag-o-Donuts
                K     Tony Baritone
                A     Nunzio the Hook

Hearts:     2     Your cut of the corner (vice 2)
                3       A few "friendly girls" (vice 3)
                4      Your own pet dealer (vice 4)
                5      Strip Club (vice 5)
                6      Gangs on the payroll (vice 6)
                7     Stable of Pros (vice 7)
                8     House of Ill Repute (vice 8)
                9     Adult Film ProdCo (vice 9)
               10    A Columbian Connection (vice 10)
                J      Micky "Five Angels" Pentangele
                Q    Corrado Bacciagaloop
                K    Fredo da Mook
                A     Frankie Boombatz

Clubs:      2    Roughing up the Candy Store (racketeering 2)
                3     Leaning on the Convenience Store (racketeering 3)
                4     Squeezing the Liquor Store (racketeering 4)
                5     Local Businessmen's Association (racketeering 5)
                6    Drywall Union (racketeering 6)
                7     Electrician's Union (racketeering 7)
                8     Plumbers and Pipefitters Union (Racketeering 8)
                9      Steelworkers Union (Racketeering 9)
               10    Garbage Routes (Racketeering 10)
                J    Richie Scangarella
                Q    Bobby "Badda-bing" Bestalore
                K    Paulie Mangione
                A    Petey Buttons

Diamonds: 2    Running Numbers (Gambling 2)
                3      Running Numbers (Gambling 3)
                4      Sports Betting (Gambling 4)
                5      Sports Betting (Gambling 5)
                6      Sports Betting (Gambling 6)
                7      Poker Game (Gambling 7)
                8    Poker Game (Gambling 8)
                9     Cut of the Casino (Gambling 9)
               10    Cut of the Casino (Gambling 10)
                J    Silvio DiNapoli
                Q    John Costellano
                K    Michael Testadura
                A    Victor Malatesta

Jokers:   WHACK DA CAPO!


OK...Here ya go.   Each player has their own deck.  (If you have more than 2 players, you might consider changing some of the character card names...to allow for more variety)  Every player draws top card to determine play order (high card).

Each player deals themselves 3 cards.  During your turn, you draw one card, and play up to 2 cards.   The idea is for the Capo (the player) to build up a family (personality cards), and to run rackets to build up 50 points of income (or whatever points value the players agree upon, depending upon the desired length of the game).  You may only play rackets if you have personalities in play with the same suits (put a diamond in play to start running gambling rackets, for example).

If another player has rackets out, and you have a personality in your hand (not in play) that is of higher value, you can bring that personality into play, and attempt to rub him out and steal the rackets for yourself.  You announce that you're attempting to whack the bum, and each player draws three cards into their hands.  Both players then play a hand of "war" (you know, like when you were kids)--high card gets a point...best 2 out of 3 succeeds.   If the attacking player loses, that personality is whacked and removed from play.  If the defending player loses, his or her personality is whacked, removed from play, and that personality's rackets are moved over to the winning personality.  In the event of a tie, both personalities survive, and the rackets stay where they are.

When a Capo plays a Joker, they can make an attempt on another Capo's life, directly.   In this case, 5 cards are drawn, and war is played....for best 3 out of 5.   The losing Capo is whacked...the game is over for that player.  All of the personalities and rackets are moved over to the other player.  No tie is possible...keep drawing until resolved.

The game can be expanded by giving the personalities special abilities (an extra 1 point out of every racket card,  or double draw during whack attempts, for example).  It all depends upon how much you're into the genre, I guess...and how goofy you feel like getting.

There ya have it.   Cook up some Bracciola, serve it with a nice antipasto, some chianti....light up some cigars, slip on the pinky rings, and fuhgeddaboudit.   Luck be a lady tonight.

8 down, 44 to go.

See ya in 7.

Gareth-Michael Skarka

Gareth-Michael Skarka is the Operations Manager for Synister Creative Systems.  He has written and edited for games including Star Trek, Deadlands Hell on Earth, and GURPS.  He is the designer of several RPG systems, including UnderWorld and Hong Kong Action Theatre!. TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

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Reshuffled: 52 Pick Up, edited by Chris Czerniak

52 Pick Up original run, by Gareth-Michael Skarka

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