Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pit Omega

Pit was one of my favorite games as a boy. I don't remember why or when I got rid of the game, but it was at least 20 years ago.

I recently found a copy of the 70's edition of Pit (the same version I had) at a local thrift shop for a $1. I immediately bought it and played it a few times with the family. I broke it out at the last board game night with my friends. So far, I have only played 3-player games. I really enjoy the frenetic pace of the game, but with only a few players, it is easy to track what is going on.

With more players, I imagine that it would be harder to track cards, especially the Special cards. But I still want to up the play-ability within my gaming group--alcohol is likely an increase in fun too!

Pit Omega card back

That got me thinking. I am putting my Omega treatment to Pit, focusing on two aspects: 1) Allowing more players, and 2) Adding more special cards. I researched the interwebs and found that Pit was released in 1904. It is almost an exact copy of a game that came out the year before--Gavitt’s Stock Exchange. In that game there are no Bull or Bear card, but there is a Telegram special card.

In addition to the different special cards(s), there are also a couple mechanical differences between GSE and Pit:

  • Must trade one or two cards only (in Pit: up to four)
  • Winner gets 2x points printed on their commodity (in Pit: 1x)
  • Anyone that has 6 or more of their commodity when the winner is rings the bell gets the points printed on their commodity (in Pit: no equivalent rule)

So I set forth to create a new set of rules and to design a new set of cards. The commodities in the 70s edition are all grains, so the three new commodities I added are also in the grain family. The complete set of Commodities in Pit Omega are:

  • Wheat - 100 points
  • Barley - 85 points
  • Corn - 75 points
  • Rye - 70 points
  • Poppy - 65 points
  • Oats - 60 points
  • Millet - 55 points
  • Hay - 50 points
  • Rice - 45 points
  • Flax - 40 points
I decided to include all three special cards from both Pit and GSE (Bull, Bear, and Telegram) and I came up with an additional 2 (Hybrid and Surplus).

  • Bull: A Wild Card if you are winner, but worth -20 points if you are not the winner. Score triple points if you win with a set of ten commodities plus any Bull cards(ie a set of eight plus two Bulls)
  • Bear: Worth -20 points. Can not win with it in your hand.
  • Telegram: Worth +30 points if you didn't win, worth -30 points if you did. Two telegrams in the same hand cancel each other out.
  • Hybrid: Worth -40 points. May win with a set of six commodities (instead of nine). Score points based on the majority commodity.
  • Surplus: Worth -30 points. May win with this card in hand.
For the design of Pit Omega, I wanted to pay homage to my version (the 70's edition) as well as earlier sets. I took inspiration from the colors from the 70s edition (orange and ocher/green) and the art within a circle from earlier editions. This is what I came up with for the front:

Sample card from Pit Omega
In full disclosure, I used clip art for the grain artwork and the pattern on the back of the card.

Pit is an excellent party game! If you are interested, pick up a copy of the game and download my variant of the rules below.

A PDF of the Rules can be found here

The rules presented in this post are home brew variant rules for Pit. No copyright intended.