Sequence (game)

Sequence, a board-and-card game, was invented by Douglas Reuter in Minneapolis, Minnesota, over a two-year period in the 1970s. Mr. Reuter originally called the game, “Sequence Five.” Reuter spent years developing the concept, and, in June 1981, granted Jax Ltd., an exclusive license to manufacture, distribute and sell the board game, Sequence, and its subsequent variations. The game was first sold in a retail store in 1982.

Game Objective: The object of the game is to form rows of five poker chips on the board by placing the chips on the board spaces corresponding to cards played from your hand.

Game Equipment: Playing Board (19-3/4” x 15-1/4”); Instructions; 135 poker chips (50 blue, 50 green, 35 red); two full standard card decks (52 cards each, 104 cards total, including 4 Jokers)

Directions: Sequence can be played with two to 12 players, so long as the number of players is divisible by two or three. If there are more than three individual players, they should divide evenly into teams (up to three teams of four players). Teams of two or three must alternate their physical positions with opponents around the playing surface. Teams of three must alternate at every third player around the playing surface.

Place the game board on a flat surface (such as the floor or a table) with enough room to allow for the draw deck, a discard pile and marker chips.

To decide who goes first, remove the Jokers from the card decks and set them aside. One player then shuffles the card decks into one stack. Each player takes a card from the deck. The player with the lowest card deals. Replace the cards in the deck and shuffle once more. Each player or team then chooses a set of poker chips, and all members of each team must use the same color chips.

The number of cards dealt to each player varies by the number of people playing: Two Players: Seven cards each Three Players: Six cards each Four Players: Six cards each Six Players: Five cards each Eight Players: Four cards each Nine Players: Four cards each Ten Players: Three cards each Twelve Players: Three cards each.

The player to the left of the dealer goes first. Choose a card from your hand, and place a chip on one of the corresponding spaces of the game board (Example: you choose Ace of Diamonds from your hand and place a chip on the Ace of Diamonds on the board). The played card then goes face-up into a “Discard” pile, and play passes to the left.

Each card is pictured twice on the game board, and Jacks (while necessary for game strategy) do not appear on the board. A player may place chips on either or both of the appropriate card spaces as long as it is not already covered by an opponent’s marker chip.

Game Strategy: Each corner of the board has a “Free” space that all players can use to their advantage. During your turn, you can place a chip there (instead of discarding a card to place a chip), but so can an opponent during his turn. It is possible for a “Free” space to have chips of more than one color on it.

To form rows, poker chips may be placed vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Each complete row of five (even those than include wild cards) can be counted as one point. Rows of the same color may intersect.

Jacks are wild. Two-Eyed Jacks can represent any card and One-Eyed Jacks can remove an opponent’s token from a space. Players may use the Two-Eyed Jacks to complete a row or block an opponent, and One-Eyed Jacks can remove an opponent’s advantage. However, One-Eyed Jacks cannot be used to remove a marker chip that is already part of a completed sequence. Once a sequence is achieved by a player or team, it stands. Once a Jack is played, it ends the turn.

If a player possesses a card which does not have an open space on the game board, the card is considered, “dead,” and may be exchanged for a new card. When it is your turn, place the dead on card on the discard pile, announce you are turning in a dead card, and take a replacement (one card per turn). Then proceed to play your normal turn.

If the draw deck becomes depleted during play, shuffle the discard pile and begin again.

Special Note: Sequence rules dictate no table talk or coaching between team members and a precise order in which hands must be played (card, chip, replace card). If you forget to replace a card on your turn, you cannot make it up in a later one and must continue playing the game with a reduced number of cards.

How to Win: The game ends when a player completes the winning amount of sequences: two rows (points) for two players or teams; one row (point) for three players or teams.

Unofficial Variant Play: A fun alternative to standard Sequence game play is to go past the minimal number of rows (points) to win. Players compete to fill the entire board with complete rows of five chips (in each player’s preferred color). Keep score of one point per row created. Different from standard game play, a player may remove chips from completed rows to prevent opponents from scoring. For added difficulty, do not reshuffle the deck should you run out of cards. Game play ends when the board is filled and no additional moves are possible. To declare a winner, tally up the points. Whoever has the most points wins the game.

Official Game Variations: Sequence comes in several versions, including: Sequence – States and Capitals; Sequence Numbers; Sequence 25th Anniversary Edition; Jumbo Sequence; Travel Sequence; Sequence Deluxe Edition; and Sequence for Kids. The major difference between the different Sequence versions is the game board sizes, shapes and topics.

There is also Sequence Dice which uses dice instead of cards. The object of Sequence Dice is to be the first person to connect a “sequence” of five chips in a row on the board, just as in the original game. However, a player only has to achieve one sequence in order to win instead of the two sometimes needed in the original. The board displays four interlocking arrangements of the numerals 1-9 and pictures of dice. The four corner spaces on the board depict dice arranged in a “snake eyes” pattern; that is, displaying one and one. The four spaces in the center of the board depict dice showing double-sixes. Players who roll “snake eyes” or double-sixes may roll again.

Legal History of Sequence: During a series of legal disputes, Douglas Reuter claimed Jax violated its licensing agreement which would provide grounds for contract termination. In response, Jax denied any violation. Meanwhile, both sides continue to profit from game sales. Jax garners 80 percent of its revenue from Sequence; Reuter receives a royalty on sales of sequence. Mr. Reuter has also started a new game company called, “Game Inventors of America,” which is located in Corinth, Texas.

Unauthorized variations of Sequence have appeared many times over the years. Names of the unauthorized versions include, "One-Eyed Jack," "Jack Foolery," and "Jack Off It." In “One-Eyed Jack,” the board is constructed using actual playing cards.

Famous quotes containing the word sequence:

    It isn’t that you subordinate your ideas to the force of the facts in autobiography but that you construct a sequence of stories to bind up the facts with a persuasive hypothesis that unravels your history’s meaning.
    Philip Roth (b. 1933)