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A vicious twist on the classic game, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s seven 'Social Sins.'
A vicious twist on the classic game, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s seven 'Social Sins.'
315 backers pledged $15,109 to help bring this project to life.

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 "I will not attempt to describe Gin-Rummy in detail as you can call up any insane asylum and get any patient on the phone and learn all about it in no time, as all lunatics are bound to be Gin players, and in fact the chances are it is Gin-Rummy that makes them lunatics." Damon Runyon, Collier's Magazine, February 12th, 1944

What is Sin Rummy?

Sin Rummy is a brand new game - a vicious twist on one of the most popular card games of all time.

The game itself is elegantly contained inside a gorgeous deck of the highest-quality playing cards, manufactured by the United States Playing Card Company.

Our social sins

Sin Rummy follows the rules of Rummy, with a simple exception.

Before each round starts, each player is dealt one 'social sin' card face up on the table. This card changes the rules for only the player that has it, for the entirety of that round. Then play proceeds with whatever variant of Rummy you prefer.

That’s it.

Seems easy, right? But passive crimes have a way of making everything complicated. Just look at where we are today.

In 1925 the canon of Westminster Abbey gave a sermon on the '7 deadly social evils,' and the list was sent in a letter to Gandhi, who was so inspired that he published them in his newspaper:

"The same fair friend wants readers of Young India to know, if they do not already, the following seven social sins:

  • Politics without Principles
  • Wealth without Work
  • Pleasure without Conscience
  • Knowledge without Character
  • Commerce without Morality
  • Science without Humanity
  • Religion without Sacrifice

Naturally, the friend does not want the readers to know these things merely through the intellect but to know them through the heart so as to avoid them." -Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, October 22nd, 1925

Shortly before his assassination, Gandhi gave a copy of this list to his grandson, the peace activist Arun Gandhi, who has since added an additional social sin: Rights without Responsibilities.

Rummy... I used to play that.

In developing the game I've found that everyone has their own understanding of the rules of Rummy - but no matter what version you know (or used to know), you'll be able to pick up and play Sin Rummy in less than a minute.
In developing the game I've found that everyone has their own understanding of the rules of Rummy - but no matter what version you know (or used to know), you'll be able to pick up and play Sin Rummy in less than a minute.

Here are the basics for Rummy 500, according to Bicycle

  • OBJECT OF THE GAME Each player tries to form matched sets consisting of groups of three or four of a kind, or sequences of three or more cards of the same suit.
  • THE PLAY Beginning with the player to the left of the dealer, players either draw the top card of the stock or takes the top card of the discard pile and adds it to his hand. The player may also lay down on the table, face up, any meld (matched set). If the player does not wish to lay down a meld, he discards one card, face up, onto the discard pile. If the player has drawn from the discard pile, he may not discard the same card on that turn.
  • LAYING OFF A player may add one or more from his hand to any matched set already shown on the table. Thus, if threes are showing, he may add the fourth three; if 10, 9, 8 are showing, he may add J, or Q, J, 7, or 7, 6.
  • GOING OUT When a player gets rid of all his cards, he wins the game.If all his remaining cards are matched, the player may lay them down without discarding on his last turn. This ends the game and there is no further play.

Gin Rummy is different - you don't lay melds down on the table. Over the course of the game you try to sculpt the best possible hand with the lowest number of points (melds counting for 0). When you get under 10 points, you can Knock to end the hand - but be careful that your opponent doesn't undercut your points or else they'll get a huge bonus. Here's a refresher from Hoyle.

What's it like to play Sin Rummy?

The sin card you receive at the beginning of the round isn't a one-shot deal. You may use its ability every single turn. 

Here is an example of how two social sins might match up against each other, one on one: if you're playing Politics without Principle, every turn you may choose to take a card from your opponent's hand (know any politicians like that?). 

But if your opponent is playing Science without Humanity, they can churn through the deck to discover better cards and use their extra discard to hide cards they suspect you’re after. Here's a playthough of the matchup:

But Science’s rate of turnover becomes a liability against Pleasure without Conscience, which is able to indulge in all those discoveries. But then - Pleasure matches up poorly against Knowledge without Character's pretentiousness.

With 14 sin cards in the final deck, a 2-player game contains 91 possible matchups, each with its own idiosyncrasies. 

When you add more players to a game of Sin Rummy 500, the strategic complexity increases. As one playtester said, "I've been ruined - now I can't go back to regular Rummy!"

While you are at the mercy of your opponents' social sins - can you first master your own?
While you are at the mercy of your opponents' social sins - can you first master your own?

Single-card strategies

 

"What's in the box? What's in the !@#$% box?"

Simple - the social sins are printed on the playing cards themselves. For example, Politics without Principle is on the King of Spades. So the entire game is elegantly contained within the deck itself. 52 standard cards, 2 Jokers and 2 rules cards. All art is SFW.

Funding goal

I've set a goal of $14,000 because it will cover the minimum cost to proof and print 2 decks (a black back + red back, because some versions of Rummy require 2 decks) through USPCC and include fulfillment from Blackbox, a shipping company from the creators of Cards Against Humanity. 

Stretch goals

There is a long list stretch goals if the project can get momentum. These include simple additions like custom seals, upgrades to the card stock and tucks, embossing and special inks. Past a certain point I'll expand development for additional Sin Rummy variants on Rummy games like Tonk, Canasta and Rummikub.

Art and Design

The playing cards - featuring all hand-drawn suits, typography and face cards - were designed by Tommy Sheehan of TommyInk.
The playing cards - featuring all hand-drawn suits, typography and face cards - were designed by Tommy Sheehan of TommyInk.
Not only is Tommy one of the most talented (and prolific) designers I've ever worked with, he is also an incredibly kind, humble and all-around amazing person.
Not only is Tommy one of the most talented (and prolific) designers I've ever worked with, he is also an incredibly kind, humble and all-around amazing person.

 

                        
The collage is by artist James Gallagher, former Creative Director of the Museum of Sex and Editor-in-Chief of Secret Behavior Magazine.
The collage is by artist James Gallagher, former Creative Director of the Museum of Sex and Editor-in-Chief of Secret Behavior Magazine.
Here's a great interview with him (all links NSFW). He's been one of my closest friends for years and years and is such a gentle, darkly hilarious and inspired human being.
Here's a great interview with him (all links NSFW). He's been one of my closest friends for years and years and is such a gentle, darkly hilarious and inspired human being.

 

                        

A Personal Note

Gratitude

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this project. First, to Liz Mathews and Bryan Goodpaster, mentors who set me down the right path in the first place. To Brian David Marshall, who helped me get my arms around it. Thank you to all the playtesters along the way: Matt Ferrando, Aaron Swick, Chris Bautista, Nandita Sadhal, Wendy Adams, Rob Brabham, Scott Stewart, Matt Young, Loralie Bible, Donald McMillan, Stewart Bible, Pat Young, Andrea and Freddie Mitchell, Jeremy Wilson, and especially my mom, the original card shark. To everyone who provided feedback - too many to list - you know who you are! To Chris Clarelli for bringing the story to life and to Adam Pleiman for your generosity. To Joe Wever for the tuck visual, to Lauren Fusco for hustling as always, to Gabe Greenberg for his impeccable eye.  Thank you to my beautiful wife Anna for your photographs, must mostly your extreme patience, support and love.

A deep gratitude to Mike Augustine and Brian Garber, whose contributions (creative, technical, emotional, psychic) are too numerous to list; this project is dedicated to you both.

If you made it this far - thanks for your consideration. Sin Rummy has been an obsession for so long, and I'm glad to finally get it out of my head and into the world.

Card Image Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

Risks and challenges

This is my first Kickstarter, so I intentionally kept the backer rewards extremely simple.

US Playing Card Company's legal team has approved the artwork (which is already laid out in their dies) for printing.

Tommy is an experienced designer, especially when it comes to print, and also happens to be based right down the road from USPCC. I'm planning to proof everything on-site in Cincinnati so that the print quality is perfect and the project stays on schedule.

From USPCC the cards will go freight to Blackbox - they've fulfilled thousands of Kickstarter projects and I totally trust them.

Updates will come every week and I look forward to chronicling the process - thank you for your feedback and support!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    1 copy of Sin Rummy

    This reward tier includes a single copy of Sin Rummy (your choice of red or black card backs). $3 off retail - Kickstarter only.

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    2 copies of Sin Rummy

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    A brick of Sin Rummy decks

    This reward tier includes 12 copies of Sin Rummy (6 red + 6 black). $60 off retail - Kickstarter only.

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Funding period

- (22 days)