If you are a regular reader you will have come to the realization I am a cribbage fan, and not just the original game of 1630's vintage but many of the variants which have sprung up over the years.
Mastermind Ultimate Cribbage (MUC) is one of those variants, and a more recent one at that. The game was self-published in 2009, coming from the design trio of Phil Martens, Al Oller, and Bob Ramola.
The rules for MUC suggest the game "preserves the integrity of classic cribbage yet adds significantly more fun and challenging possibilities with over 13-times as many cribbage hand combinations."
The game manages the additional combinations by adding 11 cards (six different ones) to the standard 52-card deck which comes with the game, meaning you are playing with a deck of 63. You can pull the special cards to play traditional cribbage.
The 'Zero Card' is one such card with a couple of in-game possibilities, including from the ruleset, "when someone plays a card for a 15 or 31 during pegging, play the Zero-Card next to collect an additional two points for the 15 or 31."
A 'Super-Ace' pairs every ace. "You can use a Super-Ace as a high ace for a run of queen, king and Super-Ace for both counting and pegging. The Super-Ace can be played as 1 or 11 during pegging."
The 'Super-Wild' is a wild card with one extra feature. It can be played during pegging as one face value and counted as another. You can play a Super-Wild as a seven during pegging and use it as a five during counting."
The additional cards are reminiscent of Chicago Cribbage although that cribbage variant uses cards outside the main deck to affect changes.
In the case of MUC the game plays more traditionally, although the new cards add what traditionalists will see as more chaotic play.
Of course by their nature a variant is supposed to offer something different for game players and MUC certainly does that.
It comes with a with three track options, two players can travel a 181 space track, with three traversing 141 and four going the traditional 121.
The board is solidly made, and the cards standard in quality. The downside is once the deck gets weathered, you can't just buy another deck at the dollar store. With that in mind you might want to put the deck into sleeves to help them last.
Overall this is a cribbage variant that offers enough new to be recommended.
I have to say coupling MUC with the aforementioned Chicago Cribbage cards, and playing on a Crib Wars board could turn the game into a virtual cribbage marathon of craziness.
Check the game out at www.MasterMindCribbage.com
If anyone is interested in this game, or other boardgames feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper May 9, 2012 - Yorkton, SK. Canada