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"Then how about we settle that debt with a little game of sabacc?"
―Lando Calrissian to Hera Syndulla[src]

Sabacc was a popular card game often played at high stakes, whose goal was to win the sabacc pot by collecting a hand with an absolute value closest to 23, but no higher. A sabacc deck comprised 76 cards (60 distributed in four suits plus 16 special cards), all of which had a specific value. However, the value and suit of a card could change at random in play, unless it was placed on the special interference field.

CardsEdit

A deck of Sabacc consisted of 76 cards. 60 were distributed in four suits (Flasks, Sabers, Staves, and Coins), with 15 cards per suit: pip cards numbered 1 through 11, plus a Commander numbered 12, a Mistress numbered 13, a Master numbered 14, and an Ace numbered 15. The other 16 were two sets of 8 special cards: Balance (numbered -11), The Idiot (0), Endurance (-8), Moderation (-14), The Evil One (-15), The Queen of Air and Darkness (-2), Demise (-13), and The Star (-17[10] or -10).[9]

GameplayEdit

Sabacc was both a game of skill and chance that could be played with as few as two, and as many as eight players. Players could designate a dealer or take turns as the dealer, rotating in a clockwise fashion at the beginning of each hand.[10] The goal of a player was to win the sabacc pot by collecting a hand of cards that totaled positive or negative 23.[11]

The dealer started by shuffling the deck before dealing out one card to each player, including him- or herself, in rotation. He or she would then repeat another rotation until each player had two cards face down. Starting to the dealer's left, each player then called out their beginning hand totals.[10]

Starting to the dealer's left, each player could choose to draw one (or more) cards from the deck then choose to trade a card from their hand for one from the deck, or stand.[10]

They could then choose to place a single card in the game table's interference field to prevent said card from being Shifted if a Sabacc Shift occurred.[10]

If a Sabacc Shift occured, all the cards that were not locked in the interference field randomly changed suits and value. That new hand was the player's final hand for the round.[10]

That same process was repeated by each player, ending with the dealer. Each player then called out his or her final hands total. The player with the highest hand, totaling 23 or below, won the round. However, a hand of 24 or higher was said to "bomb out" and lost. A perfect hand of 23 or -23 was called a Pure Sabacc, and it could only be beaten by a rare and unbeatable hand called an Idiot's Array, which consisting of The Idiot, a 2 card of any suit, and a 3 card of any suit.[10]

Situations of tie were settled by use of a device generating random numbers: the player that rolled the highest number won.[10]

VariantsEdit

Several variants of sabacc existed. One such variant was "Corellian Spike," which used a pair of six-sided dice[6] and was played with a smaller deck.[12] Jhabacc was another, high stakes variant that was notably played at the Outlander Club, in the Uscru Entertainment District of Coruscant.[13]

HistoryEdit

Sabacc was a popular card game played throughout the galaxy, often with high stakes. Because of the random Shifts, Sabacc was a complex and unpredictable game, as a potential winning hand could turn into a losing one if not used at the right moment,[11] and its odds were always in the house's favor.[9] In one notable game, Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a game of "Corellian Spike" sabacc, and Solo kept the pair of golden dice used in that game.[6] In 4 BBY,[14] Garazeb Orrelios of the Spectres bet and lost the astromech droid Chopper to the smuggler Lando Calrissian, who had an Idiot's Array.[1]

Following the Siege of Inyusu Tor, Commander Tohna of the Sixty-First Mobile Infantry played a game of Sabacc with three other soldiers, Gadren, Brand and Twitch. Tohna invited Captain Hazram Namir to join he did not know how to play and refused.[3]

Behind the scenesEdit

Sabacc first appeared in the Legends novel Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu and has since appeared in many Legends stories. It became canon when it was included in the 2014 novel A New Dawn. The name likely had its origins in the second draft of the script of the The Empire Strikes Back, when Han Solo mentions that his friend Lando Calrissian won Cloud City in a "sabacca game."[15]

Lucasfilm didn't trademark the term "sabacc", which let the Ren Ventures company, and the game developer Sabacc Creative Industries, use the name for a 2015-released mobile app game, mimicking the gameplay rules of the Star Wars card game. Ren Ventures later registered the U.S. trademark "sabacc" in 2016. With the movie Solo: A Star Wars Story coming out in May 25, 2018, and featuring the card game[16], Lucasfilm tried to bring back the trademark in its fold, first challenging the registration in May 2017, and then filing a federal trademark lawsuit in December 2017[17]. In April 2018, Ren Ventures counter-attacked with a lawsuit of their own aimed at marketing materials using the name, in particular the Denny's restaurant chain promotional offer of collectible trading cards[18].

AppearancesEdit

Non-canon appearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels – "Idiot's Array"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Chewbacca, Part I
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Battlefront: Twilight Company
  4. "The Kloo Horn Cantina Caper"—From a Certain Point of View
  5. SWRM "Off the Rails"—Star Wars Rebels Magazine
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
  7. Lords of the Sith
  8. A New Dawn
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Bloodline
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 Sabacc (Celebration Anaheim)
  11. 11.0 11.1 SWInsider "Rebel Bluff"—Star Wars Insider 158
  12. The Last Jedi: Rose Tico: Resistance Fighter
  13. Star Wars: Complete Locations
  14. The events of this article take place between "Empire Day", which marks the beginning of the fourth year before the Battle of Yavin; and "The Future of the Force", which is the first known episode to take place in the third year before the Battle of Yavin. As such, we can deduce that this event takes place in the fourth year before the Battle of Yavin. For more information, see Wookieepedia's Timeline of Star Wars Rebels Events.
  15. Laurent Bouzereau, Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays (New York: Del Rey, September 1997), p. 191 ISBN 0-345-40981-7
  16. Breznican, Anthony (February 08, 2018). Donald Glover on charming the hell out of Solo: A Star Wars Story]. Weekly Entertainment. ew.com.
  17. Maddaus, Gene (December 21, 2017). Disney Files Trademark Suit to Protect ‘Star Wars’ Card Game. Variety. variety.com.
  18. Maddaus, Gene (April 23, 2018). ‘Sabacc’ Trademark Holder Sues Lucasfilm and Denny’s. Variety. variety.com.
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