Author Topic: Siteswap card game  (Read 3352 times)


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Siteswap card game
« on: May 03, 2005, 07:36:51 AM »
Hello all!

Sometime ago when I was on a convention, some ball juggelers were playing a siteswap card game... I kinda of took this idea, and want to apply it to diabolo.
I imagine it would be a great festival game.

I have not thougt this through... maybe you guy`s have something to add?


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Siteswap card game
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2005, 10:46:32 AM »
well leaving aside the fact that the only card game that should be played at conventions is 'sh'ead' (or possibly the game with no rules)...

care to explain how this works Arjan? (not for me you understand, but for others here ;))


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Siteswap card game
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2005, 11:55:57 AM »
Here is exactly how to play.



A game for site swapping jugglers. Created after discussions at the mailing
list First test at the Erlangen Convention on Nov. 28th
1998. These notes were written on Aug. 8th 2004.

Idea of the game
The players have cards on which are numbers. They build siteswaps and
perform them. When the pattern is recognized or juggled for 20 rounds
without a drop (whichever happens first), the cards may be put down. The
first to have no cards left is the winner.

Design principles
Juggling siteswaps is rewarded.
If lucky, (having good cards or good guessing), a non-expert may win also.
Recognizing siteswaps is also rewarded.
No endless solo perfomances. Every pattern is juggled by exactly one
juggler. (It is possible to skip if its your turn.)
Never the same patterns. If you want to repeat a siteswap that has already
been played, you have to modify it.
Simple judgement. No difficult judging rules. It is easy to spot the winner
and the next game can start immediately.

Rules of the game

Material: 2 standard packs without the picture cards (Jacks, Queens, Kings).
That is a total of 2 x (52 - 12) = 80 cards. Cards numbered 2, 3, 4, …, 9
represent siteswap throws of this value. For jugglers below expert level, a
10 represents a ‘0’ and an ace is a ‘1’.
Up to 6 jugglers can play, and a set of up to 10 juggling balls will be
needed (although most jugglers will prefer to use their own set).
When 2, 3 or 4 jugglers are playing, everyone starts with 8 cards. 5 players
start with 7 each. 6 players start with 6 each. After dealing, the rest of
the pack is placed face down. The top card is overturned and placed face up,
by the side of the face down pile. The face down pile is called the
‘pick-up’ pile. The face up pile, consisting of only the 1 card initially,
is called the ‘discard’ pile.
The (youngest) player without a degree in mathematics starts, and then in
Build a siteswap as long as possible (consisting of at least 3 [2] of your
cards) and lay down all of your cards face down, with the siteswap that you
are going to perform at the top, in order (so if you are going to do 534,
the top cards must be 5, then 3, then 4). Therefore no-one can tell how long
the period of the siteswap will be, but everyone can see how many cards the
juggler still has left. The sorting order is important, because 741 and 714
are different juggling patterns and therefore have to be recognized as such.
Alternatively you may extend an already laid-down siteswap. You may use less
than 3 cards for this play. The order of the existing (laid down) cards may
not be altered, but new cards may be inserted (for example, 423 may be
extended to 451233). Lay down your cards face down, as described above, with
the top card being the first number to be added, and so on (so in this
example, 5 would be the top card, then 1, then 3). One final alternative, is
to juggle any non-siteswap pattern. When this is guessed correctly, two
cards may be placed onto the discard pile, and two cards then taken from the
pick-up pile.
Legal are all siteswaps of period (length) 3 [2] or longer, containing at
least 2 different values (note: 5151 is valid, as it has period 4 - but
guesses of “51”, “15”, “5151” and “1515” are all classed as correct).
If you want to play a siteswap that has already been played, then the
juggling has to be modified, e.g. with clubs instead of balls, with left
hand instead of right, in Mills Mess etc.
Perform the pattern until another player recognizes it [3] (Even expert
jugglers make mistakes, e.g. Ben Beever tried 9995 with 7 balls. After
several tries he recalculated and took another ball. "Much easier", he
When your pattern has been recognised, reveal the siteswap by turning the
cards that you used face up, one at a time from the top of your pile (unless
you played a non-siteswap, in which case just exchange 2 cards).
The juggler who recognized the pattern is allowed to change 1 card. He may
pick a card either from the pick-up pile, or the discard pile. He then
places one of his cards onto the discard pile, face up.
If no-one recognizes your pattern (a few hints are allowed), you are
unlucky, and are not allowed to lay down your cards. However, if you are
able to show your pattern for 20 cycles without a drop, and still no-one
recognizes it, you may stop and lay down your pattern anyway.
At the end of your turn (even if you chose to skip your turn), you must take
one [2] new card from the pick-up pile (you now have time to think about
your next pattern), unless you added cards to an existing pattern, in which
case you don't take any new cards.
If you have fewer than 3 cards, you may, at any time, take another card from
the pick-up pile.
The turn then passes to the player on the left.
The winner is the first to get rid of all his cards.
If the pick-up pile is ever exhausted, the discard pile is turned over to
become the new pick-up pile, and the top card is turned over to start a new
discard pile.
Modifications for different juggling capabilities
Players who have never flashed 9 balls may subtract the period of their
pattern away from 9’s when playing them. So for example, such a player may
juggle 933 as ‘633’ (subtracting 3 from the 9, as 3 is the period of the
pattern). Similarly, any player who has never flashed 8 balls may subtract
the period away from 8’s, and so on. So for example, 915 may be juggled as
612 by a juggler who has never flashed 5 balls (the 9 is played as a ‘6’,
and the 5 as a ‘2’).
Players who have flashed 9 balls are not allowed the above concessions.
Players who have flashed 10 balls must play ‘10’s as ‘10’s rather than ‘0’s.
Players who have flashed 11 balls must play Aces as ‘11’s rather than ‘1’s.
If extra cards are added to an existing pattern, the new pattern must be a
valid siteswap before any value reduction. For example, if a novice has
played 915 as 612, no-one can add a ‘3’ to make 6312, as the period of the
pattern is now 4 (so the 9 must be reduced to a ‘5’) – but someone could add
a ‘5’ to make 9155 (which could be juggled as 5155 if this player hasn’t
flashed 9 before – or even 5111 if they haven’t flashed 5 before).

[1] Extension of May 29th 2003: No tried yet, but as a proposal: The juggler
must do as many catches as the highest number in the pattern (or three times
the period or 10 throws with the right hand). The motivation for this
proposal is that you will recognize e.g. 80 immediately, even if the juggler
is no-where near being able to do it.
[2] Advanced Players Extension (July 31st 2004): After each round players
draw 2 cards instead of 1 (unless they insert cards into an existing
pattern, in which case they still don’t need to pick up any).
(Period-2-patterns are then allowed because the number of cards held is not
being reduced by this play.) This extension increases the length of a game,
and is recommended if all players are able to build and juggle siteswaps
with long periods.
[3] Punishment for guessing wildly: Everyone who has two or more wrong
guesses has to draw a card after each wrong guess.

This is an extension to the original (german) version by Johannes Waldmann.
Game reports and comments are available there. This set of rules has been
made by: Werner Riebesel, Mathias Pusch, Markus Furtner, Ben Beever, Rupert
Millard and others who I can’t remember.


Problems i think would occur when transfering to diabolo. How many players could realistically do any of the 3 object siteswaps? Especially indoors. Then what about SSs with 4+? So if you could fashion a 2 object version then it could be quite maybe, but there really arent that many fun 2 diab siteswaps. Hmmm.

Hope that helps anyone that wanted to learn siteswap rummi though.


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