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Old West in Outer Space: Converting Gunslingers and Gamblers for Star Wars (part 2)

Last week, I gave a quick overview of Gunslingers and Gamblers and indicated my current interest in converting that system for use with a Star Wars campaign. Since G&G uses six-sided poker dice, I could just use standard six-sided dice with star or light saber emblems in place of pips and get on with playing the game. But my gaming group knows me as the tinker, the guy who finds fascination in manipulating a game system or figuring out ways to pigeonhole elements of one gaming system into another.

This is no different. I’m a glutton for self-punishment that way, I guess.

Now, in the books and comic books covering tales in the Star Wars universe, there are hints at various gambling games, but the one given the most detail (from the era of the Empire and the rise of the Rebellion as covered in the original three movies and the period in which I’d run a campaign) is sabacc.

According to (an online repository of card games, both real and invented) sabacc

is a difficult game to adapt to real-world play because it uses an electronic deck of cards that can switch values at random. What’s more, the deck is composed of 76 cards, in the following configuration:

Four Suits (Sabers, Flasks, Coins, Staves)

Values 1 – 11

Ranked Cards

Commander (value 12)

Mistress (value 13)

Master (value 14)

Ace (value 15)

Two copies of eight Face Cards

The Star (value -17)

The Evil One (value -15)

Moderation (value -14)

Demise (value -13)

Balance (value -11)

Endurance (value -8)

Queen of Air and Darkness (value -2)

Idiot (value 0)

The object of sabacc is to have the highest card total which is less than or equal to 23 (similar to our own game of Twenty-One). Each player is dealt two cards to start (or five depending on the rules being used at the gambling table) and must always have at least two cards in hand at all times. The game is played with two “pots” into which bets are made—a hand pot, which is given to whoever wins a hand, and a sabacc pot, which is won in only one of two ways: having a hand totaling exactly 23 or -23 (pure sabacc with the positive number trumping the negative) or having a hand consisting of the Idiot’s card (0 value), a 2 value card, and a 3 value card, which is called the idiot’s array (a literal 23) and is also the highest hand possible in the game, beating even a pure sabacc, while a losing hand either exceeds a 23 or falls below -23 or totals 0 exactly.

With me so far?

Good if you are. If not, don’t worry. The main things we need be concerned about are as follows:

  • sabacc is played with a minimum of 2 cards in hand (though can receive 5 cards initially);
  • a winning hand is 23, -23, or an array of cards having values of 0, 2, and 3;
  • beyond that winnings go to the closest to 23 (positive or negative with positive numbers beating negative if tied) at the end of a turn hand;
  • the 4 ranked cards (Commander, Mistress, Master, and Ace);
  • the 8 face cards;
  • the fluctuating value of cards during the game.

Now, how does this all work as the face of dice for a Gunslingers and Gamblers conversion?

Beats the heck out of me.

I have a glimmer of an idea, but need to put more thought into it.

Do you have any ideas? If so, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

Next up, I wrestle with the dice and figure out how to put Star Wars races and equipment into G&G terms.


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