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P.D. Magnus' ruminations on gaming, along with shrill promotion of his own designs.
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Questing Nonesuch

P.D. Magnus
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Cooperative trick-taking games have recently become a thing; see The Crew and The Fox in the Forest Duet.

I have in my notes rules for a cooperative Decktet trick-taking game. It's totally untested, and there are definitely some points at which the design could work differently. Comments are welcome-- what do you think?

Questing Nonesuch
a coop trick-taker for 3-4 players

You are your companions are silent adventuring monks, embarking on epic adventures to bring glory to your order. Vanquish enough foes and gather enough treasure, you'll be celebrated in tale and song. Fail enough, and little kids will throw rotten vegetables at you.

Prepare a scoresheet with three lines, each with three check boxes, like so--

blank blank blank Big Hero
blank blank blank Hidden Dragon
blank blank blank Relic Fragments

Put the Excuse in front of a random player; that player is the Party Leader for the first hand.

Shuffle the basic deck. Deal one card per player face-up to the middle of the table, and evenly deal the remaining cards face-down to players.

You may not communicate about the cards in your hand, about what you plan to do, or about what you think other people should be doing. (Depending on how it works in actual play, this could be relaxed. Maybe broad plans can be discussed? In any case, you can't say what's in your hand.)

Without input from the other players, the Party Leader declares which of the three quests will be attempted this hand. They then give each player one of the face up cards from the middle of the table; these cards are added to players' hands.

The Leader picks a trump suit from the suits on the card that they take for themself. (If the quest is Treasure Vault, the card that the Leader takes for themself will also play into whether the quest succeeds.)

The Party Leader leads the first trick. Card play follows the standard rules for Nonesuch. (link: Nonesuch at the Decktet wiki)

If the Leader selected Big Hero, one player must take most of the tricks. The quest fails if any other player takes more than one trick. Note that the Leader who decides does not need to declare who the big hero will be; the quest succeeds if anyone meets the condition at the end of the hand.

If the Leader selected Hidden Dragon, one players must take no tricks. If more than one players takes zero tricks or if every player takes at least one trick, then the quest fails.

If the Leader selected Relic Fragments, one player must win tricks containing the card which the Leader took for their own hand and all of the other cards of the same rank.

If the party succeeds at the quest, check off up to two boxes on that line.

If the party fails at the quest, X out one box on that line.

If there are six or more checked boxes in total, the players win: The party brings fame and fortune to the order. If there are four Xes, the players lose: The party disbands in ignominy. Otherwise, pass the Excuse clockwise around the table and play another hand.

If all of the boxes on a line have been filled in (either checked or Xed out) then that quest cannot be selected again.
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