It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Rage. Being the mild-mannered Major you know me so well to be, it might strike you as uncharacteristic of me. But, you see, I’m talking about a game. A game called “Rage.” A card game, for as few as 2, or as many as 8 players, all of whom know about trick-taking games. It will remind you, as a matter of fact, of that old trick-taking game, with the unfortunate, but evocative name “Oh Hell.

The Rage deck consists of 110 Cards of 6 suits of color cards each numbered 0-15. There are 14 “special” cards including: 2 Wild Rage cards, 4 Out Rage cards, 4 Change Rage cards, 2 Mad Rage Card. All those cards, and all those special cards might make you think of another card game. Not a trick-taking game at all, but the rather hilarious, and far less serious UNO game. Which makes sense, since the original publishers of UNO were in fact the same people who publish Rage. (In case you asked, Rage is now published by Fundex).

Trick-taking games. You know about those. The reason I am stressing that point is that we had one person in our Tasting who didn’t know about trick-taking games, and it made the game less fun for all of us. If you know about trick-taking games, you can learn Rage in a few minutes.

First, there’s the deal. The first deal, each player gets 10 cards, the next 9, the next 8, all the way down to the last round, with one card each. So each round is a little shorter, and the tension a little higher.

Then there’s the bidding – everyone declares how many tricks she’s going to win that round. Not bidding, really, since you’re not trying to out bid anyone. More like, well, declaring.

Then there’s the play. A card is thrown. You follow suit. If you can’t, you throw anything, or throw trump. You know, like a trick-taking game.

Then there are the wild cards. There’s Bonus Rage, which gives 5 points to whomever takes the trick. Mad Rage, which takes 5 points away from the she who took the trick. Out Rage, of course, there is no trump for the rest of the round. Change Rage, which lets you change trump to any color. And Wild Rage – allowing you to change the color of the suit being played.

So, no matter how card-countingly astute you are, anyone at any time can change pretty much everything. Which adds just that extra spice of fate-fickleness to make you laugh instead of scream.

Very Major FUN.

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