Pit


3 - 5

 

Number of Players: 3-8

Year of Publication: 1903

Creator(s): Edgar CayceHarry GavittGeorge S. Parker (Designers) and Randy AsherPaul CoutureOlivier FagnèreNick the Rat (Artists)

Corner the Market!

Pit is an interesting trading game. It’s got very few rules and can be played in any amount of time as the winner is the first person to reach a pre-determined amount of points. So games can be very very quick. Although the game is 3-8 players you should definitely opt for 8 if you can get the people, the more people, the better with this game.

What’s In The Box:

The stuff!
The stuff!
  1. One Pit “Corner” card
  2. One 72 card deck (8 suits of 9 cards)
  3. One “Bull” card and one “Bear” card

Playing The Game:

Objective: To be the first player to score 500 points by cornering the market on a specific commodity.

There are two ways of playing this game, basic, and slightly less basic. The only difference between them being that in the basic version the Bull and Bear cards are removed from the deck before play starts.

Setting Up:

  • Place the Pit Corner board in the middle of the table.
  • Prepare a score sheet.
  • Select a dealer and prepare the deck. The dealer takes one complete suit for every person playing (it’s not in the rules to do this, but we usually play with the highest-scoring suits) and shuffles them, together with the Bear and the Bull if they’re in play.
  • Deal 9 cards, face-down, to each player.

Once all this is done players can then look at their cards and choose which commodity they’re going to collect. It’s best to go for whatever you currently have most of in your hand. Once everyone’s had a chance to look at their cards the dealer announces “The Exchange is open!” It’s not compulsory, but you can do this with as much bravado as you like, just for fun.

Now the Pit is open players can trade cards. You can choose any number of cards from your hand and hold them face down in the centre of the table, you then announce the number of cards you want to exchange this is generally very noisy. You can then trade with any other player offering the same number of cards. If no one’s offering the same number you may want to higher or lower the number of cards you’re exchanging.

This continues until one player has all nine of one commodity in their hand. They then hit the Pit board in the center and announce “Corner on (insert commodity here)!” When playing without the Bear and Bull, the only player who scores is the one to hit the board. They score the amount of points shown on the cards of the commodity they collected, for instance, a corner on Corn would give that player 75 points. The winner of the hand then reshuffles the deck and deals the next hand.

Playing with the Bull and Bear:

When you add these cards in two players will receive 10 cards instead of 9 in the initial dealing. They can then call corner if they have all nine of one commodity and one of another, simply discarding the extra card when they lay down their hand to show the corner. The game is played as normal, but with these two difference:

The Bear is always a bad card, and you should try and get rid of it as soon as possible if you’re dealt it or traded it. If you hold the Bear, but have all nine of one commodity in your hand, you cannot lay it down whilst you hold the Bear, and if another player goes out whilst you have it you receive a penalty of -20 points, even if your current score is 0.

Our score sheet halfway through the game.
Our score sheet halfway through the game. I was spectacularly losing.

The Bull is a wild card and can be good or bad. If you’re holding the Bull and you call corner, your score is then doubled. However, if you’re holding the Bull and someone else calls corner, you minus 20 points, as if you were holding the Bear. With the Bull you can go out if you only have eight of the commodities you were collecting and the Bull, as only two players would be able to collect the full nine.

A winning corner on Wheat, with the Bull. Whoever laid this down scored 200 points.
A winning corner on Wheat, with the Bull. Whoever laid this down scored 200 points.

If someone calls corner and you’re holding the Bull and the Bear, your penalty is -40 points. If you’re unlucky, you can end up getting to fairly high minus numbers when playing with the Bear and Bull. You can trade the Bull and the Bear individually, or in combination. But you can never trade more than four cards at a time.

Strategy:

There’s no strategy to this game. Get rid of the Bear fast, and try and trade the Bull if you suspect the round might be about to end by someone else calling the corner. Other than that, try and trade as fast as possible and hope no one else is trying to collect the commodity you want!

History and Interesting Things:

  1. It was first sold in 1904.
  2. The inspiration was the Chicago Board of Trade.
  3. The game has been marketed under all of the following names: Billionaire, Business, Cambio, Dulux pit, Quick 7 and Zaster.
  4. Versions of the game published, starting in 1970, included a bell to start trading.

To Conclude:

This game’s fun, quick and easy, and you can teach it to anyone! It’s a fantastic family game, or just a quick one for playing with a bunch of friends.

 

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