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MILLE BOURNES

Mille Bornes is a French card game marketed by Parker Brothers. The name is translated as "1000 milestones", which is appropriate since the object of the game is to accumulate mileage up to a goal of 1000 miles. In this computer version of the game, you play against the computer.

This game does not use a normal card deck, but instead uses its own specialized deck of 101 cards. The cards in the deck are given in the following table, which has been arranged in convenient groups. The numbers in parenthesis show how many cards of each type are in the deck.

MILEAGE:      25  (10)                100  (12)
              50  (10)                200  (4)
              75  (10)

HAZARDS:      Stop  (4)               Out of Gas  (2)
              Flat Tire  (2)          Accident  (2)
              Speed Limit  (3)

REMEDIES:     Roll  (14)              Gasoline  (6)
              Spare Tire  (6)         Repairs  (6)
              End of Limit  (6)

SAFETIES:     Right of Way  (1)       Extra Tank  (1)
              Puncture Proof  (1)     Driving Ace  (1)

The object of the game is to be the first player to reach 5000 points. This is done by playing one or more hands. Each hand ends when a mileage goal of 700 or 1000 miles has been reached by either player, or when no more cards can be played in the hand. When either of these cases occur, the hand is over and each player scores points according to how well they have played that hand. Points are scored both from playing mileage cards, and when certain other conditions are true. The game score is simply the sum of the scores for each hand. The scoring algorithm is given at the end of this document.

To begin each hand, each player is randomly dealt six cards from the deck. Throughout the game, until the deck runs out of cards, each player will always have six cards in his hand at the start of his move. Each move consists of drawing another card from the deck, and then playing one of the seven cards in one of three possible ways. You can either improve your own position, slow down the progress of your opponent, or else discard the card if neither of the above is possible.

Each player has four areas that cards can be played into. These areas are also refered to as piles, since they can contain a pile of cards. These four piles and their purposes are as follows:

    Mileage Pile:     Mileage cards played.
    Speed Pile:       Latest Speed Limit or End of Limit played.
    Battle Pile:      Latest Hazard or Remedy card played.
    Safety Pile:      Safety cards played.

The easiest area to understand is the Mileage Pile. When possible, a player can play a mileage card into the Mileage Pile in order to accumulate mileage towards the goal of 700 or 1000 miles. The accumulated mileage is simply the sum of all mileage cards played. Thus if a player played one 200, one 75, and three 50's, then the accumulated mileage is 425. There is no way to remove mileage cards which have been played. All mileage cards which have been played are visible during play.

There are two restrictions on the permitted combinations of mileage cards. First, only two 200 cards can be played by each player. Second, the mileage goal must be reached exactly. For example, if the goal is 700 miles, and your mileage is up to 675 miles, then the only mileage card which can be played by you is the 25.

The next pile is the Speed Pile. There is only one card visible in this pile, and this is the latest Speed Limit or End of Limit card played for that player. These are the only two cards which can be played in this pile. You play a Speed Limit card onto the opponent's Speed Pile in order to restrict the mileage cards which he can play. You play an End of Limit card onto your own Speed Pile to remove a speed limit which the opponent has played on you. If the top card on your Speed Pile is a Speed Limit, then you cannot play any mileage card above 50. So as long as the speed limit is in effect, you can only play 25 or 50 mileage cards. If the Speed Pile is empty (which it is at the start of the hand), then no speed limit is in effect.

The next pile is the most active pile, and is the battle pile. There is only one card visible in this pile, and this is the latest Hazard or Remedy card played for that player. Any Hazard or Remedy card can appear in this pile, except for Speed Limit and End of Limit. You play a Hazard card onto the opponent's Battle Pile in order to completely prevent his playing any mileage cards. You play one or more Remedy cards onto your own Battle Pile to remove a Hazard which the opponent has played on you. So as long as a Hazard is not fixed, you cannot play any mileage cards.

The Roll (or go) card has special significance for the battle pile. You must always have a Roll card on the top of the battle pile in order to play any mileage. Thus, when the game begins, the Battle Pile is empty, and so you cannot play mileage. And until you play your first Roll card, the opponent cannot play any Hazards onto your Battle Pile. Once you have played a Roll card, then the opponent can play Hazards onto your Battle Pile in order to stop you again. If the opponent plays a Stop as the Hazard card, then you simply need to play another Roll card. For the other Hazards, you must first fix the explicit Hazard with the proper Remedy card, and then you must play a Roll card in order to play mileage again. The Hazard cards and their corresponding Remedy cards are as follows:

    Stop         Roll
    Accident     Repairs, then Roll

Out of Gas Gasoline, then Roll
Flat Tire Spare Tire, then Roll

Since the last three Hazards require two Remedy cards in order to allow mileage to be played, they are more powerful than the Stop card, which only needs one card to remedy it.

You can play more than one Hazard onto the opponent's Battle Pile, but only the Hazard on the top of the pile needs to be remedied. You might want to do this if you pick up a Hazard card which you know the opponent will not be able to fix.

Notice that the Battle and Speed Piles are independent of each other. A player can have a Hazard and a Speed Limit in effect at the same time, and can remedy them in either order. You can play a Speed Limit onto the opponent's Speed Pile even before his first Roll card has been played.

The final pile is the Safety Pile. This just contains the Safety cards that you decide to play. A Safety card is very important, since they permanently prevent the corresponding Hazard from affecting you. Thus if you play the Puncture Proof, then this will fix a Flat Tire. In addition, you cannot have another Flat Tire played on you. Another advantage of a Safety card is that it is a free turn. That is, after playing it, you can immediately pick up a replacement card and make another play. Therefore you can hold onto one or more Safety cards, and play them all in one turn if you wish.

The Right of Way is the most important Safety card. This is because it permanently fixes the need to play a Roll card before playing mileage cards. Thus if a Hazard needs fixing, you only need to fix that Hazard, and no Roll card is necessary. In addition, the Right of Way fixes Speed Limit. Thus after playing the Right of Way card, you can play any legal mileage card, as long as no other Hazard is effective.

Since Safety cards are played in their own pile, the Hazard card that they remedy can still appear on the Battle or Speed Piles. Even though the Hazard is visible, it is not effective. However, unless you have played the Right of Way, you still need to play a Roll card before you can play mileage again.

One more feature of the Safety cards is that there is a reason to not play them as soon as you have one. If you have one in your hand, and the opponent plays the corresponding Hazard card on you, you can IMMEDIATELY play your Safety card to remove that card from your Battle or Speed Pile, and you score 300 extra points. This action is called a Coup Fourre. If you have picked up a card on that turn before playing the Safety card, then you do not get the Coup Fourre, although you still remedy the Hazard and get another turn. This is true even if the card you pick is the Safety card itself. The display shows Coup Fourres with a pair of exclaimation marks next to the Safety card.

Notice that unlike the normal use of a Safety card, when a Coup Fourre is played, the Hazard on the Battle Pile is REMOVED, thus uncovering the previous card on the Battle Pile. Normally this previous card will be a Roll card, and so you can then immediately play a mileage card since you get another turn. However, if there was not a Roll card on the Battle Pile, then after the Coup Fourre you may still need to fix the old Hazard. This case will only occur if the opponent play a Hazard on you before you have completely recovered from a previous Hazard.

If you cannot play a Mileage card, a Remedy card, a Hazard card, or a Safety card, then you must discard one of your cards. You must select the most "worthless" card from your hand, and discard it. That card can never be used again in this hand, but the latest discarded card is displayed for both players to see. Thus you can have some idea of what the opponent doesn't need by watching what he discards, and therefore guess what Hazard cards would be effective against him.

If you have seen all of the Hazards of one type, then you don't have to keep any of the corresponding Remedies, since the opponent can no longer play the Hazard on you. Similarly, you do not need to keep the corresponding Safety card in your hand, since you will not be able to get a Coup Fourre with it. Therefore it is smart to count the number of Hazards which have been played or discarded in order to know when these cases exist. In addition, it obviously is not necessary to keep any more Remedy cards of any type than the number of Hazards of that type.

When a player reaches the goal of 700 miles, he has a choice to extend the game to 1000 miles. If the extension is turned down, then the hand is over and scoring is performed. If the extension is accepted, then the mileage goal is raised to 1000 miles and the hand proceeds. If the opponent then reaches 1000 points first, the opponent wins the hand. The reason that you would risk the hand like this is if you need some extra points, or of you are convinced that the opponent is really stuck. Normally, extensions are turned down.

If all of the cards in the deck have been picked, then the players can continue to play out the cards in their hand. This is the only time that the players can have less than six cards. If it is not possible for either player to reach the mileage goal, then the hand is over as soon as no more points can be played by either player. If you have no useful moves and yet the opponent can still play, then you must simply discard your cards one by one as necessary.

The following table gives the various ways to score points in a hand:

Milestones played XXX
Each safety card played 100

    All 4 safeties played      700
    Each coup-fourre           300
    Trip completed             400
    Delayed Action             300
    Safe trip (no 200's)       300
    Extension                  200
    Shut-out                   500

Milestones played is the total amount of mileage played by each player. Players get these points whether or not they have reached the mileage goal. Only the cards played into the Mileage Piles count, so all remaining mileage cards in the hand are worthless.

Each Safety card played into the Safety Pile is worth 100 points. This is true whether or not the Safety was used for a Coup Fourre. Once again, Safety cards left in the hand are worthless, so you might want to play Safety cards as soon as the opponent could go out.

If you have played all four of the Safety cards, then you get an extra 700 points. This is in addition to the 100 points for the cards themselves. If you have several Safeties, and the opponent has none, then this is a strong incentive for you not to end the game too early, so that you might pick up the complete set.

Each Safety card that you played as a Coup Fourre is worth an extra 300 points. This is in addition to the 100 points that the Safety normally is worth. These extra points are an incentive to hold onto Safety cards until the opponent plays the right Hazard onto you.

The remaining points only apply to the player who has reached the mileage goal, if any. If neither player reaches the mileage goal, then none of the following points is applicable. This is true even if the 700 mileage goal was reached, and then the hand was extended to 1000 miles.

Trip completed is worth 400 points, and is the reward for reaching the mileage goal first. These points are in addition to the actual mileage played to reach that goal. Thus a normal hand which reaches the goal is worth at least 1100 points.

Delayed Action means that there are no more cards in the deck when the player reached the mileage goal. This is worth 300 additional points, and is an incentive to delay winning the hand in order to pick up all of the cards from the deck.

Safe Trip means that no 200 cards were used in reaching the mileage goal. Using only 100's or less is therefore worth an extra 300 points. This is a slight incentive to not reach the goal too quickly.

Extension is whether or not the game was extended to 1000 miles. If so, then the player who reaches 1000 miles first gets an extra 200 points. This is true no matter which player extended the game. These points, plus the extra 300 mileage points needed to reach the higher goal, are the incentive to accept the extension.

Shut-out means that the opponent has not played any mileage cards for the hand. If you reach the mileage goal, and the opponent has no mileage played, then you get an extra 500 points. For this reason, it is desirable to play any mileage card as soon as possible to avoid a shut-out. Of course, you should also try hard to keep the opponent from getting his first mileage card so that you can have a shut-out.

As mentioned at the front, hands are played until 5000 points are reached. The first player who reaches 5000 points or over at the end of a hand, wins the game. It is possible for both players to reach 5000 points in the same hand, and in this case the player with the higher score wins. If the score is tied at 5000 points or higher, then more hands are played as necessary until the winner is decided.


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