The Bicycle Card company is known for making normal decks of playing cards, but they also make their own unique card games from time to time. 4-Mation happens to be a Bicycle creation that has been received very well by avid card game players. Known as “The Underhanded Rummy Game”, 4-Mation is a card game built on the element of sabotaging your opponents and improving your score as the game takes its twists and turns. Creative Child Magazine gave 4-Mation the 2007 Seal of Excellence in the Creative Toy Awards.
How to Play 4-Mation:
4-Mation is a game for 3 to 6 players and anyone from the ages of 8 and up can play. The dealer combines both decks of cards, both the regular numbered Spy Cards and the Power Cards, shuffles them and deals 10 cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed at the center of the table to be used as the draw pile.
The dealer will then turn over 4 cards in a single horizontal line that will be the “4-Mation”, and during play there must always be 4 face-up card piles at the center of the table that make up the 4-Mation. If a Power Card is flipped up on the 4-Mation, then the dealer will shuffle it back into the draw pile.
The person at the left of the dealer begins play, and this player has 4 options to choose from when making a play.
- The player can use one card from the 4-Mation to create a Run or a Set.
- The player can add to his or her own existing Run or Set,. However, the player can’t add to another player’s Run or Set.
- The player can play a Power Card. Once it’s played, the Power Card is discarded face up next to, but not on, the 4-Mation.
- If the player isn’t able to do any of the other 3 options, then he or she can simply draw 2 cards from the draw pile.
Aside from playing Power Cards, the only way to rid your hands of cards is to create Runs or Sets of cards. A Run would be to play cards in order, such as 2-3-4. A Set is where you play at least 3 cards of the same number, and these cards don’t have to be the same color, such as 10-10-10. 4-Mation cards contain the following content; Numbered Cards of 1-12, and 24 of each color, red, blue, green and orange. There are also 16 Power Cards, 4 Double-Cross Cards, 4 Revenge Cards, 4 Imposter Cards and 4 Sabotage Cards.
4-Mation Power Cards:
The Power Cards are special in this game, but what do they do? Playing an Imposter Card allows you to substitute for any card (but not another Power Card) that can play as part of a Run or Set. By playing a Sabotage Card you can steal a card away from an opponent’s exposed cards that have already been played, so you will be allowed to break up an opponent’s Run or Set with this card, basically sabotaging that player as he or she will have to pick up the remaining cards and put them back in their hand. You can also choose to reverse the direction of play by putting down the Double-Cross Card. If you notice that your opponents are running low on cards in their hands, then you can play the Revenge Card, which forces all opponents to draw 2 cards.
The winner of 4-Mation is the player who scores the least points in the game. Points are scored at the end of each round. The first player to play all of his or her cards will complete a round. A round will continue until one player runs out of cards to play. Other players will tally up the score of their remaining cards. To tally up your score you will count all Numbered Cards at face value and you will count all Power Cards as 20 points. A single game will be completed once a player reaches 200 points.
It’s important to note that when attempting to make a Run or Set it’s required for players to use at least one card from the 4-Mation. A player always discards one card of his or her choice back on any of the 4-Mation piles in order to end a turn. A helpful strategy in 4-Mation would be to keep checking on your face up cards and rearrange them if it’s necessary in order to improve your score and your chances of getting rid of all your cards.
In order to speed up the flow of the game, when making a Run, players can use cards of any color to complete that task.
Being in the same ballpark as other famous card games like Uno, Skip-Bo, Phase 10 and Rook, 4-Mation truly shines on its own as a unique Rummy game where players have to be on guard and prepare for any Power Cards to be played. With its interesting blend of flexibility and unpredictability, 4-Mation is sure to sneak up to players like a spy and steal the day of card game fun!