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Lost At Sea

Further notes on single-card strategic play from the library of Bertram Lenguida

Continuing this occasional series of Coppertwaddle strategy articles, I bring to you an extract from Mayflower's Gaming Almanac (Fodder & Troughton, 1953). This worthy tome proved popular in the aftermath of the Second World War, as it provided complete and unabridged rules to a great many card games (traditional four suite decks, as well as the 'unique' forms such as Coppertwaddle, Damasq, Reverse Damasq, and Humpty), allowing families and friends to recover from the hardships of conflict through leisure pursuits. I selected the following article, from a total of five contained within Mayflowers, because it explains my own oft-expressed belief that Land Ho! is the most powerful and versatile card in the whole game - sets being won and lost by the successful (or otherwise) resolution of this Favour.

As an aside for those who may be interested, the Coppertwaddle section lies sandwiched between an explanation of how to build a three-way 'neck-breaker' tree-swing and the Standard Forfeits for the parlour game "Marjorie's Barge".

[Extract from pages 188-193 (diagrams excluded because of Copyright irregularities)]

A detailed examination of the common uses of the Coppertwaddle Favour "Land Ho!", in the form of a 'single card strategy' essay; covering both offensive and defensive applications, as well as fortifying the universally-accepted rule that one, if possible, "should always Coppertwaddle a Land Ho!"


In times of yore, when medieval folk went about all manner of business during the day, they would often retire to a local Hostelrie of an evening to sup beer, tell stories, and play cards. Many a pig has changed owner thanks to these spirited gambling japes, but no game is more so rued of its livestock-transferring abilities than Coppertwaddle. In previous chapters, we have examined the basic rules of the game, according to its 15th Folio; in this chapter we shall be taking a closer look at specific cards.

Part One: Land Ho! (Favour)

Land Ho! is a Favour and performs the following effect: "Cover selected proud Threlm". It is also one of the few Coppertwaddle cards, that are present in multiples within the standard deck (the others being The Birthday, War With France, Coppertwaddle and Peaked Cap), but should yet be treated with respect; do not wantonly play this card!

Land Ho! may be played by the Challenger during a Challenge or a Robbing, and by the Guardian (active player) during the En Garde and Robbing phases and, as a Favour, it can be negated with the timely use of the Coppertwaddle card. In the forthcoming examples, we shall see that there is no particular 'key' phase in which to play this card, as it is exceedingly useful in all manner of situations.

Playing Land Ho! through the Turn Sequence

a. During a Challenge

i. Covering a Threlm as a Challenge in an opponent's (potentially) last turn before victory

In order to secure a victory, a player must END his turn with eight Threlms (four of each: Noble and Peasant) made proud in their Domain. Given that making Threlms proud is the first action of any player's turn, a successful Threlm-covering during the Challenge phase will buy one valuable extra turn.

ii. Covering either The Old Hag or The Curmudgeon in order to gain initiative in 'The Lock'

'The Lock' is, of course, the game scenario where both The Old Hag and The Curmudgeon are in play, and the Challenger is utilising one's ability (during the Challenge phase) to force the covering of its partner in the Guardians domain; thus, the Guardian is unable to end his turn with all Threlms proud. For the impeded player, forcing the covering of an opponent's half of The Marriage during his Challenge phase can win back the initiative and either allow you to achieve victory in the next turn, or stave off a loss (perhaps even attaining a Draw).

b. During En Garde

i. Covering a Peasant Threlm in order to 'press' it with one of the Winds

This is a technique made possible due to the Worcester Variant of Coppertwaddle, now becoming the most popular form of the game; so much so that its additional rules are (in all probability) to be included in the next Folio update. The biggest rule change is the ability of Wind Threlms to be placed in the Peasant Rank of either Domain OR UPON A PEASANT THRELM THAT IS CURRENTLY COVERED! Thus, if one is being hampered by an opponent's Curmudgeon, or another high-powered Peasant Threlm, playing Land Ho! followed by a Wind is particularly effective.

Remember also, that a 'pressing' Wind reduces an opponent's overall possible victory score, as well as weakening support to adjacent Threlms!

ii. Remove a high-power defensive support Threlm prior to a Robbing

A covered Threlm cannot be the further target of Favours or Threlm abilities. Equally it cannot lend its support to adjacent Threlms during a Robbing, nor can it itself be robbed.

iii. Remove the only single legitimate target of a Bestowal prior to Robbing the Bestowal

In a variation of (ii), this strategem prepares the way for the Robbing of a high-power 'bestowal' Threlm by removing any other similarly-Ranked Threlm temporarily from play, thus rendering the defensive application of its 'bestowal' ability useless. For example: King Henry has the Bentham Fish (9, N1) and The Old Hag (5, N2), whilst Queen Anne has Mount Ararat (8, N1) and Father Time (6, N2). If a robbing were to be declared, the initial Robbing and Defensive scores are tied at 14; but if Queen Anne were to play Land Ho! vs Father Time (6, N2), this would leave The Bentham Fish (9, N1) isolated and unable to bestow; a successful robbing of 'the fish' could then ensue!

c. During a Robbing

i. Removing the target of a robbing from play

Obviously this is a defensive move offered by the Challenger during the Robbing. Beware, however, the response of One Hundred Buttons (which shall make all of your covered Threlms proud once more)

ii. Removing a high-power Robber in order to reduce the overall Robbing Value

Defensive support offered through adjacency is the most common barrier to robbing Threlms from an opponent. As already emphasised in a(ii), "A covered Threlm… cannot lend its support to adjacent Threlms during a Robbing…"

iii. In combination with Captain's Reversal to isolate a single Robber with the Robbee

In this advanced situation, a player can contrive a Domain set-up wherein both the Guardian and Challenger have a single Threlm proud; the former has a Robber, the latter the Robbee. For Example: King Henry has the Bentham Fish (9, N1) and The Leper (3, N2) whilst Queen Anne has Mount Ararat (8, N1), Mother Milk (2, N2), and The Abbot (4, N3); thus, a robbing, by King Henry, against Mount Ararat would probably fail because Ararat could bestow its way to safety vs The Abbot or Mother Milk. However, King Henry declares the Robbing (as he is allowed to do because, initially, the Robbing value of 10 is greater than the power - 8 - of the selected Threlm) and passes. Queen Anne cannot afford to pass, for the Robbing value (12) is greater than her defensive value (10), thus she covers Mount Ararat to bestow +3 to The Abbot. With the target of the Robbing gone, Queen Anne feels sure that her turn will shortly arrive; however, King Henry plays Land Ho! on The Bentham Fish, covering it. King Henry then plays Captain's Reversal, inverting the Domains, which are now placed as:

King Henry: The Bentham Fish (9, N1)

Queen Anne: Mount Ararat (8, N1)

Currently, the Robbing value is 9 and the defensive value 8; unless Queen Anne can play a judicious Favour at this point, it seems King Henry has recovered his fish!

d. General

To draw a Coppertwaddle card from one's opponent

This may seem a fanciful waste of Land Ho! but is really included here to serve as cold comfort should your covering strategies be foiled by the all-powerful Coppertwaddle; at least one of the possible two disruptive Favours has now been expended!

Bertram Lenguida





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