Jamaa - an Amino Acid card game

Had this idea of Jamaa while reading Matt Ridley's Genome.

This is a game like rummy. Can be played between 2 or 3 people using a single deck of cards (or more with more).

  1. Deal 15 cards each.
  2. Leave the remaining face down in a stack and turn the top one face up.
  3. Using the following alphabetically ordered representation (Club==Adenine, Diamond==Cytosine, Heart==Guanine and Spade==Urasil) each player tries to make 5 amino acids from his/her set of 15 cards subject to the restrictions given below. Tables by bases as well as by Amino Acids.
  4. If neither player has five amino acids, they take turns picking up either the topmost faceup card or the topmost face down card and discarding one of his/her cards on the stack of already faceup cards (if any) until one person finishes at which point he she simply announces victory.
  5. Count points at the end of the game with rarer Amino Acids (as determined by how many triplets code them) getting more points. Thus the one to finish first could in principle get less points than some one else. Thus, Met and Trp would score 90 (because a single triplet codes for each), Phe, Tyr etc. would fetch 80 (because two triplets each code them), whil ethe least i.e. 40 will go to Arg, Leu, Ser as six different triplets code them.
Restrictions on triplets: Jay and I tried with fewer consecutive and same-suite restrictions, but that turned out to be too easy. The game got over in a round or two.

To make the game less nerdy and more educational, specially designed cards may be useful. (though that will mean we lose the advantage of playing with a standard deck).

Examples to come soon.


Feedback and suggestions
Last Outdated: Aug 26 2007
http://www.astro.caltech.edu/~aam/fun/jamaa.html