Spookiness Rating: 1
Puzzlement Rating: RAN

It's a Bug-Eat-Bug World

To earn the answer to this round, you must win enough money playing the card game Renfield. This game was designed by James Ernest and E. Jordan Bojar of Cheapass Games. (If you really enjoy the game, you may purchase your own copy by going to http://www.cheapass.com.) Games will begin one half-hour after the beginning of the Mystery Hunt. Please read the rules given below then send one or two team members to our headquarters to play. (If you send two people, they will play as a team.) You will start out with $100 in chips. Once you have $150 in chips, you may purchase the puzzle that leads to the final answer. You are welcome to play as much as you like even after you have $150 in chips. (Representatives of the Hunt organizers will only play if there aren't enough participants to make at least a 4-person game.)

The object of each hand of Renfield is to take the fewest points but at least one. Points in the game are represented as yummy bugs. (So, instead of taking points, you eat bugs.) You get points by taking cards in tricks.

The Renfield deck is made up of 54 cards ranging from 0 to 17 in three suits (Parts, Stones, and Tools). The 0's are the Key Cards, and are only used to set up trump for a hand. Each other card also has Bugs (i.e. how many points the card is worth) and a Dollar Cost (i.e. how much you have to pay to the pot when you take the card in a trick). The 2's and the 12's are slightly different in that they are Doublers. The 2's double the cost of a trick (they have a D in place of a dollar amount). The 12's double the number of bugs you have "eaten" for the entire hand (due to a misprint, the word "Double" is written in faint orange on the side of the card).

Everyone starts the hand with six cards. Starting to the left of the dealer, everyone makes one bid for the right to choose the relative ordering of the three suits (i.e. what suit beats what). If you wish to bid, you must bet more than the current high bid. If no one bids, the dealer must take the lead for $5. Whoever wins the bid pays the money to the pot. Then he or she takes the 0's (also called the Key Cards) and orders them so that the highest suit is on top and the lowest is on the bottom. (Suppose, for example, that Parts is on top, then Tools, then Stones.)

Six tricks are then played. The winner of the bid leads to the first trick. You must follow suit if you can, otherwise you may play whatever you like. If you have eaten at least one bug, you may choose to fold instead of play a card. You are then out of the hand, and cannot win the pot this hand. (Note that you may only fold when you have the opportunity to play a card. You can't fold, for example, after you realize you have won a trick.)

If you played the highest card in the trick, you take it. The "highest card" is the highest ranked card of the highest suit according to the ordering of the Key Cards. (So, in the example above, the 7 of Parts beats the 5 of Parts, which, in turn, beats the 12 of Tools, which beats the 15 of Stones.) You would then pay the pot the total cost of all cards in the trick (not forgetting doublers, if they're there). Since you won the trick, you lead the next trick. If you choose to fold instead of play a card, the lead passes to the left. After all six tricks, those players still in the game compare their scores (not forgetting doublers). Whoever ate the smallest number of bugs, but at least one, wins the pot. If there is a tie, split the pot, leaving any odd coins for the next hand. Deal passes to the left for the next hand.