Soureh

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Soureh
3 playing cards.jpg
Origin Middle East
Type Matching
Players 2 to 4
Skills required Strategy, Memory
Age range 10+
Cards 80
Play Clockwise
Playing time 15 min.

Soureh is a matching card game originated in the Middle East. The aim of the game is to transform eight given cards into four valid coops while preventing opponents from doing the same. It is a very strategic game, and involves much thinking and memory. Pariah, an Americanized variation on the game, uses a different scoring system and adds the elements of face cards. Soureh is arabic for "images"...

Rules[edit]

Deck[edit]

Soureh is played with two standard 52-card decks of playing cards with the jokers and face cards removed.

Object[edit]

The object of Soureh is to obtain the lowest score by creating valid coops of cards. A coop consists of two cards, one face up and one face down. The validity of a coop is determined by the following rules:

  • If the face up card is red, it must be the lower of the two cards in order for the coop to be valid.
  • If the face up card is black, it must be the higher of the two cards in order for the coop to be valid.
  • If either card in the coop is an ace, the coop is valid, unless both cards are aces, in which case the coop is invalid.

Dealing[edit]

At the beginning of a round, each player is dealt four face down cards side by side and four face up cards facing the center of the playing table, one in front of each face down card. The four parallel pairs of face up and face down cards form the player's four coops. A player may look at his own face down cards whenever he chooses, while his opponents may not look at them. The remainder of the deck is placed face down in the center of the playing table as the stock pile.

Gameplay[edit]

On each turn, a player draws a card from the stock pile. The player may then choose to do one of the following with the card:

  • Replace one of his face down cards with it and place the replaced card in the discard pile.
  • Replace one of his opponent's face up cards with it and place the replaced card in the discard pile. A face up ace may only be replaced by a 10.
  • Place it in the discard pile without using it.

At the end of a turn, a player may declare Soureh if he believes that he has four valid coops. The other players get one more turn to either work on improving their own hand or attempting to sabotage their opponents' hands, and then the round ends and each player calculates their score. However, if a player replaces a card of the player who has declared Soureh, no players may further replace the declaring player's cards. If the stock pile runs out and nobody has declared Soureh, the round ends similarly.

Scoring[edit]

Each participant who does not have four valid coops must add points to their score. For each coop a losing player has, he must choose one card in the coop and add its face value to his score (an ace scores 1 point). If a player's score ever becomes an exact multiple of 100, he may deduct 50 points from his score. There are two ways the game is played, in respect to ending the game:

  • The game is ended when a single player passes a predetermined threshold number of points. The player with the lowest score at that time is the winner.
  • The game is ended when all players but one have passed a predetermined threshold number of points. The player still under the threshold is the winner.

Pariah[edit]

The game Pariah is very similar to Soureh in gameplay and objective, but different in scoring and usage of face cards. The scoring and face card aspects make it more strategic and add many aspects of play. The rules that make Pariah different from Soureh are shown below.

Deck and Players[edit]

Pariah is designed for only 2 players. It is played with a single standard 52-card deck of playing cards.

Object[edit]

The object of Pariah is, unlike Soureh, to be the first to reach a predetermined threshold of points. Points are gathered through making valid coops, which follow the same rules as Soureh coops, except in the case of face cards:

  • If the face down card is a face card, the coop is not valid.
  • If the face up card is a face card, the coop is valid (unless the face down card is also a face card).

Gameplay[edit]

The gameplay of Pariah is the same as that of Soureh, except for the case when a player draws a face cards. When a face card is drawn, it lets the player do a certain action, depending on the card:

  • Jack - the player may replace one of his face up cards with the Jack and place the replaced card in the discard pile.
  • Queen - the player may take two additional turns after discarding the Queen.
  • King - the player may switch the positions of any two face down cards.

At the end of a turn, a player may announce that he is knocking (usually by knocking on the table or placing the discard face down in the discard pile). Knocking in Pariah is similar to declaring Soureh in Soureh: the other player gets one more turn to either work on improving their own hand or attempting to sabotage their opponent's hand, and then the round ends and each player calculates their score. If the stock pile runs out and nobody has knocked, the round ends similarly.

Scoring[edit]

Players add up the values of their cards in valid coops – cards in invalid coops are not counted. Number cards are worth their face value, aces are worth 15 points, and face cards are not worth any points. Additionally, each player who has all four valid coops gets an additional 50 point bonus. The first player to reach the decided upon threshold wins.

Strategy[edit]

  • A player should only declare Soureh (or knock) if he has four valid coops and believes that his opponents do not. If he believes that an opponent has four valid coops or is close to having four valid coops, it is better for him to wait until the opponent knocks so that he has a final turn to sabotage his opponent rather than it being the other way around.
  • When an opponent has declared Soureh (or knocked), a player must choose whether he wishes to improve his hand with the final card or attempt to sabotage his opponent. A player should only attempt to improve his hand if the replacement would give him four valid coops. Otherwise, he should attempt to ruin his opponent's hand instead.
  • There is much strategy involved with attempting to sabotage a declaring/knocking opponent's hand on the last card:
    • It can be assumed that a declaring/knocking opponent has four valid coops, so it is strategic to use the final card to replace a card with which it has the fewest overlapped valid coops. For example, it is strategic to replace a red 7 with a black 4, because if the coop was valid before the replacement, it may only still be valid if the face down card is an ace.
    • If an ace is drawn as the final card, it may be difficult to sabotage the declaring/knocking opponent. However, if that opponent has a face up red 10 or black 2, the face down card is likely an ace (as that is the only card that would make a valid coop), so that card should be replaced, as it would yield an invalid coop.
    • Pariah only: If a card that is easy to accommodate, such as a black 9 or 10 or a red 2 or 3, is drawn, it should only be used to replace a card that has a higher point value than it. For example, a player should not replace a red 4 with a black 10, because although there is a chance that the coop will no longer be valid, it is more likely that the opponent just receives 6 extra points.
    • Pariah only: Drawing a King as the final card is the easiest way to ruin an opponent's hand; it is easy to give an opponent a card that does not make a valid coop with one of his face up cards. If a King is drawn as a final card, the player should try to not only ruin his opponent's hand but improve his own.
  • Red 10s and black 2s are the most difficult face up cards to accommodate, as they can only form a valid coop with a face down ace. If one of these cards is drawn, they should almost always be placed on an opponent and rarely used for one's own face down cards. If an ace is drawn, it should always be used to accommodate a red 10 or black 2, and should never be used on an opponent (except in very special cases). Pariah only: If a Jack is drawn, these cards and similar ones should be replaced (if not already accommodated).
  • If an ace is drawn by a player who has no cards that are very difficult to accommodate, it is strategic to place it under the card that is most easy to accommodate (such as a face card), although this may seem counter-intuitive. When an opponent draws a card that is difficult to accommodate, they will likely use it to replace the easiest card to accommodate, and having an ace under that card will make it remain a valid coop.
  • Pariah only: Although it is slightly more difficult to accommodate, a high black card should not be used to replace an opponent's face up face card, especially near the end of the game. Although there is a chance it will invalidate the coop, there is a high chance that it will just raise the opponent's score.
  • Pariah only: Sometimes it is strategic for a player to knock early on in a round when he has many valid coops, especially if the cards in the valid coops have high values. Although this strategy will not grant a bonus 50 points, it can be used to get small numbers of points without allowing the opponent to gain much advantage.
  • Pariah only: Although it is slightly more difficult to accommodate, a high black card should not be used to replace an opponent's face up face card, especially near the end of the game. Although there is a chance it will invalidate the coop, there is a high chance that it will just raise the opponent's score.
  • Pariah only: When a King is drawn, a player should attempt to get an ace from their opponent. If the opponent has a red 10 or black 2, the face down card it is partnered with is ideal to steal, as it is most likely to be an ace. When swapping, a player should also attempt to give their opponent a card that does not form a valid coop.

References[edit]