Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Rub a Khali's Camel Races

by James "Rub a Khali" Murphy

Photo by View Staff

Good day, may your various gods, goddess, and spirits protect you and not set you in harm’s way. I have been asked to describe the camel races that took place at the feast of Cerwyden. Well I must warn you that transporting all the camels can be quite tricky. Be warned they spit.

One of the first things you must have are camels, more are better so as to not tire out any one camel. You also need someplace for them to race. Such as a track of some sort that has twenty two spaces arranged in a circle, with four thoroughfares for the camels to follow. Imagine four ovals that are nestled one inside the next. The next thing you will need is some way of determining how many spaces the camels can move each turn. I have infinity for ordinary playing cards, but dice could also be used.

Now betters can play this game one of two ways. Up to four people can pay gold to race one of the camels.

Other players can bet on which camel they think will win.

If only a single player is available the dealer can also provide a camel for the player to race against.

Next decide where on the track the camels should start from; call this the start/finish line.

Next as I like to use playing cards to determine how far the camels will go, I have to prepare the deck in a certain way. I make four piles of cards, each pile has ace through nine of one suite. So the first deck has ace through nine of Clubs, then Diamonds, Hearts, then Spades. It does not really matter which suit is used as long as each deck is only nine cards.

Next we are ready to race.

I collet one gold from each player who wishes to race a camel. (It could be five gold, ten gold the amount does not matter as long as it’s the same amount for each player.

Flipping over one card from each pile, I move the appropriate camel that many spaces. For example, a four is revealed the camel moves four spaces. You get the idea, if you don’t then maybe this game is not for you. May you be blessed in other ways.

Next each player then decides if they want to continue to race. Once they have made up their mind, each player will place a gold in their hand if they wish to continue or keep it empty if they don’t. I then ask all players to reveal if they are playing or not at the same time. I collect the gold from each player that wishes to continue, and retire the camels from the board that are not going to continue. The gold is added to the purse.

A new card is flipped for each remain camel and they are moved that many spaces.

This continues until camels have moved at least twenty one spaces around the board. The camel that crosses first or the camel that goes furthest after crossing in the event of multiple camels crossing wins. Now while I would give the entire purse to the winner if I could, but my wife and children would not look at me with respect if I did not charge something for this. My standard cut is ten percent of the pot with a one gold minimum if the pot is at least five gold. So if four players start, but three quit after the first round, I would award all four gold to the winner. I am not a rich man, and my children do require me to provide them food to eat and tents to sleep in.

Next sometimes two or more camels will cross the line at the same time, but will cross by the same amount. In this case one card is drawn for each and the higher card wins. And because sometimes the gods of fate like to show me interesting things I have also determined that if after all cards are exhausted and both players have continued to tie then I would award an amount of gold equal to the purse to both winners.

If a player decides not to race the camels but instead just to bet on which camel will win, then it will work as follows.  All bets must be put in before the race starts. If the player bets on the correct camel then they will win one for three on their money if four camels are racing. If only three camels then one for two. If less than three camels I cannot accept bets as there is no way for me to feed my starving children.  A good example would be four camels race, a player decides to bet on the camel “Bob” (bless his tasty heart). Bob wins; the player bet one gold I would pay him one for three gold. So the player would end up with three gold.

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