Trumps, sheep, and old dice

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

P.D. Magnus
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Albany
New York
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John, Chris, and I have been met up several times recently for a Decktet games night. Tonight we tried this new Chicane variant.

Rather than having BOTTOM or TOP called for the whole hand, each player makes a separate call. This makes the card play kind of mind boggling. The suit of each number-rank card will depend on whether the person holding it called BOTTOM or TOP, which means that the number of cards in each suit will depend on who has which cards.

SETUP

Shuffle the Aces and Crowns. Deal them out evenly among the players.

Shuffle the number-rank cards. Deal them out.

You may look at all of the cards that you were dealt. Select an Ace or Crown to be your ruling card.

If your ruling card is an Ace, then you will play BOTTOM (that is, the suit for number cards from your hand will be the bottom of the two suits). If your ruling card is a Crown, you will play TOP (that is, the suit for your number cards will be the top of the two suits).

Example: Suppose you have the 8 WYRMS-KNOTS. If your ruling card is a Crown, it's a WYRM. If your ruling card is an Ace, it's a KNOT.

The suit of your ruling card determines what the trump will be for you.

Players simultaneously reveal their ruling cards.

Starting with the player on the dealer's left, each player bids the number of tricks they think that they will be able to take. (With 3 players, there will be 11 tricks; with 4 players, 8.)

Once all players' bids have been recorded, the player who bid first selects a card from their hand to lead the first trick.

GAME PLAY

You may not lead a card of your trump suit unless you have no other suits in your hand.

After a card is led, clockwise around the table, each other player plays a card with the same suit as the card that was led. Players who have no cards of the named suit may play any card from their hand. (Remember that the suit of a number card is determined by a player's own ruling card, regardless of whether they are leading or following.)

If no trump cards were played, then the highest card that follows suit wins the trick. If any trumps were played, then the highest-ranked trump card wins the trick. (Remember that the suit which counts as trump for each player is determined by their ruling card. So a suit may be trump when played by one player but not when played by another. If two trump of the same rank are played in a trick, the one played earlier beats the one played later.)

The winner of the trick leads the next trick.

Play continues until there are no cards remaining.

SCORING

We just used the standard scoring rule from Chicane: If you win exactly the number of tricks than you bid, then you score four times your bid; if you win one trick more or less than you bid, then you score two times your bid; if they score two tricks more or less than you bid, then you score points equal to your bid.

The player on the dealer's left deals the next hand.

Play until someone reaches a target score. 40-ish, maybe?

meeple Of course, any comments are welcome.
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