Trick-taking / Climbing / Shedding / Fishing notebook
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I am a lifelong fan of card games. Specifically, there are various types of card games that I enjoy very much:

* Climbing Games (C): Games where a unit of play consists of increasingly stronger set until no one can (or chooses not) beat the highest set last played.

* Fishing Games (F): Games where players attempt to capture displayed cards using cards from their hand.

* Shedding Games (S): A sub-category of game where players use various mechanisms to rid themselves of all of the cards in their hand.

* Trick-taking Games (T): Games where a unit of play consists of a finite number of cards played, the "best" card wining that unit.

This list is arranged alphabetically A-Z for my favorite game in each letter. Within each entry I'll further expound on the games that I've played and those I'm interested in playing. Finally, each sub-list will be ordered by favoritism and/or interest.

This is a living list.

Recommendations welcomed!

This format is inspired by the great Geeklist ABC of amazing abstract strategy games.
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1. Board Game: Ace Trump [Average Rating:6.61 Unranked]
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A

0 Ace Trump (T) - The best Decktet trick-taker that I've yet played. Simple and clean.

To Play

* Auf falscher Fährte (T) - A well regarded German card game.
* Alsós - A somewhat convoluted mix of Jass and other traditional Hungarian trick takers. (translation by rayzg!)
* aBRIDGEd (T) - A simplified Bridge for 4p.
* Autobridge (T) - A solo Bridge playing machine that I often see at thrift shops.
* Anarchy in the Monarchy (C) - An interesting looking climbing game that supports many (6-8) players.
* Anathema (F) - Salem witch trials game based on Casino.
 
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2. Board Game: Bridge [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:510]
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B

0 Bridge (T) - My grandparents played Bridge, but I was too young and clueless to care. I've wanted to play for a long time and finally found a group of seniors playing in my area. It was a ton of fun and those oldsters were vicious! I actually played in a local tournament and me and my partner came in 2nd place! Yee ha. The group disbanded and I've since forgotten the bidding rules, but I'd love to play again some day. The idea of using the small vocabulary of bidding to attempt to convey a vast multitude of possible hands is elegant to me. There's nothing else like it.

1 Bottle Imp (T) - A lovely trick-taker with an odd deck and tough choices along the way. Great with 3p.
2 Bridgette (T) - A nice 2p Bridge that uses call and response patterns to garner hand shapes.
3 Briscola (T) - A stupid-simple trick-taker. Good with kids.
4 Blindes Huhn (T) - A simple game where tricks are planned and executed in strict order. (added 04/18)
5 Big Two (C) - A climbing game using Poker hands.
6 Belote (T) - A point-trick game that I need to explore deeper.
7 Bezique (T) - The ancestor of Pinocle. More exploration needed.
8 Blink (S) - A trifle.

To Play

* Bargain Hunter (T) - A well-regarded Euro-trick-taker by Rosenberg.
* Bid and Bluff (T) - An Oh Hell mechanic used to move pieces along a board.
* Black Spy (T) - A Hearts variant.
* Barbu (T) - 4 Players attempt to satisfy a fixed set of contracts.
* Beginner's Bridge (T) - Fascinated by simplified Bridges ATM.
* La Beast (T) - A simple betting game.
* Bridge for Juniors (T) - Another simplified Bridge.
* Baha (T) - A Hearts variant.
* The Black Smudge Game (T) - I've heard that Discordians and Lachrymologists enjoy this one.
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3. Board Game: Cosmic Eidex [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:2631]
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C

0 Cosmic Eidex (T) - A Jass variant with special-powers.
1 Cobras (T) - A relatively new trick-taker. An interesting little economy built around winning and losing tricks. (added 04/18)
2 Casino (F) - A clever spin on Scopa with some card banking.
3 Crazy Eights (S) - A fine game to teach children.

To Play

* Canyon (T) - A redux of Bid & Bluff.
* Clubs (C) - A family-friendly climbing game.
* Chronicle (T) - A game by Seiji Kanai.
* Chicane (T) - A Decktet game with 4p floating partnerships.
* Caravan (C) - A well-regarded Decktet climber.
* Cuarenta (F) - The national game of Ecuador.
* Coup d'Etat (T) - An ancestor of Dragonmaster.
* Camissimo (C) - An obscure climber from Japan.
* Chimera (C) - A 3p climber.
* Challenge Bridge (T) - A tournament set.
* Contract Whist (T) - The ancestor of Contract Bridge.
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4. Board Game: Daihinmin [Average Rating:6.32 Unranked]
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D

0 Daihinmin (C) - Known as "Temple" around these parts.
1 Druids (T) - A new trick-taker from the Potato Man dudes. (added 04/18)
2 Diamonds (T) - The trick-taking equivalent of point salad.
3 Durak (T) - An odd one that needs more plays.
4 Doppelkopf (T) - Needs more study.

To Play

* Doppelt und Dreifach (S) - An UNO killer from Freise.
* Duck Soup (T) - A weird one from David Parlett.
* Double Some'R'Set (T) - Fraction cards.
* Dois (T) - Split suits and ranks.
* David & Goliath (T) - A well-regarded Euro-TTaker.
* Dragonmaster (T) - A classic from the 80s.
* Double Knot (T) - A Decktet trick-taker.
* Duo-Bridge (T) - Interested in 2p Bridge variants.
* Duet Bridge (T) - Ditto.
* Dia de los Muertos (T) - More information needed.
* Dwarf King (T) - More information needed.
* Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle (C) - Doesn't seem very interesting at a glance.
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5. Board Game: Eleusis [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:3891]
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E

0 Eleusis (S) - A lovely game of inductive logic. Players empty their hand by inferring the placement rule.

1 Euchre (T) - I really like Euchre when I'm in the mood for a social card game and happen to have 3 other people on hand. Much of the game seems automatic but that's beside the point... it's a social/family activity.

2 Écarté (T) - I love the mechanic around asking permission from your opponent to get better cards.

To Play

* ebbes (T) - An oddball. More information needed. Difficult to find.
* Escalation! (C) - More information needed.
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6. Board Game: Five Cucumbers [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:4596]
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F

0 The Fox in the Forest (T) - A very nice 2p trick-taking game using a shortened deck of 3-suits of 1-11 ranks. One twist is that each odd rank provides a special power allowing players to gain points, cards, the lead, or even change the trump suit. The other twist is the scoring encourages taking very few tricks or many (but not too many). A very fine addition to the TT landscape.

1 Five Cucumbers (T) - A very straight-forward trick-taker where you try to avoid taking the last trick. It comes with little wooden cucumbers.

To Play

* Frank's Zoo (C) - A clever circular climber.
* Foppen (T) - A classic that's hard to find.
* Familiar's Trouble (T) - One from Japan.
* Fuji Flush (S) - A redux of Doppelt und Dreifach
* Frog Juice (F) - A cute game for kids.
* Following Suit (T) - From James Ernest.
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7. Board Game: GOITA [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:4972]
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0 Goita (S) - A wonderful game from Japan played with Shogi-like pieces. Requires four and has partnerships.
1 The Great Dalmuti (C) - A fun President-like with a triangular deck.
2 German Whist (T) - Wining tricks to build a hand to win tricks.
3 Guan Pai (C) - A climbing game with fun terminology.

To Play

* Gongor Whist (T) - Decktet solitaire trick-taker.
* Das GROSSE und das kleine A (C) - Another President-like.
* Goren's Bridge for Two (T) - Bad reputation, but still interested.
* Ganjifa (T?) - More research needed.
* Go Stop (F) - A Korean version of Koi-Koi.
* Gang of Four (C) - YACG
 
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8. Board Game: Haggis [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:695]
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0 Haggis (C) - The Chess of climbing games. A true gem for 2p, but it's also a great game for 3p. My favorite climbing game at both counts.

1 Hearts (T) - I played my share of Hearts in elementary and high school and would still rather play it than almost any other card game. It can be a mean game, so it's best to play it with friends.

2 HeartSwitch (T) - A neat tweak on Hearts, but I prefer the original.


To Play

* Hungarian Tarokk (T) - Learned of this from rayzg (a great blogger BTW) and sounds fascinating.
* Hattrick (T) - A well-regarded classic.
* Habe Fertig (S) - A recent shedding game.
* Hermit (T) - A Decktet joint with an interesting theme.
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9. Board Game: Mittlere Jass [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
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I - J

0 Mittlere Jass (T) - You can win the most or the least, but don't win the middle. A great one for exactly 3p.
1 Just Desserts (F) - A fishing mechanism used to build wining sets.

To Play

* Joraku (T) - Trick-taking is the mechanism by which players control area on a map.
* Ice Palace (T) - Am Icehouse trick-taker!
* Indulgence (T) - A redux of Dragonmaster.
* Jo-Jotte (T) - More information needed.
* Differenzler Jass (T) - More information needed.
* Coiffeur-Jass (T) - More information needed.
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10. Board Game: Koi-Koi [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:4063]
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K - L

0 Koi-Koi (F) - Building tiny poems using Hanafuda cards. A favorite around my home.
1 Lectio (C) - Lovely pieces. Straight-forward climber.
2 Loonacy (S) - In the Speed family, but better.
3 Lincard (T) - A system with connected paths printed on playing cards. Rules for ~10 games. (added 04/18)
4 Klabberjass (T) - I last played it 20+ years ago.

To Play

* Löwendynastie (T) - An interesting game that I only recently learned of.
* Kraków 1325 AD (T) - Another in the Joraku-style.
* Krass Kariert (C/T) - Plays around with climbing tropes.
* Ladder 29 (C) - A new climber. Did not Kickstart.
* Laura in the Magic Forest Card Game (T) - One from Japan. More info needed.
* Karnöffel (T) - An old and simple trick-taker.
* Lamarckian Poker (F) - Another from James Ernest.
 
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11. Board Game: Marrakesh [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:7117]
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M

0 Marrakesh (T) - A lovely little game from Joli Quentin Kansil that uses suit-tricks and rank matching to drive a Backgammon-like bearing-off of pieces.

1 Mu (T) - I can see the appeal. In fact, the bidding and shifting partnerships is really interesting. However, the fact that 5+ players is the sweet spot leads me to think that I'll not play this much. That's too bad for me because I think it's a solid game.

To Play

* Moons (T) - A relatively new game. Looks nerdy.
* maskmen (T) - A opaque one from Japan.
* Mit List und Tücke (T) - A well-reagrded Euro-trick-taker.
* Mini Bridge (T) - Simplified Bridge rules rule.
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12. Board Game: Ninety-Nine [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:2720]
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0 Ninety-Nine (T) - An exceptional trick-taker for 3p with a brilliant bidding mechanism. A Heavy Pasteboard classic! I need to play another 1000 hands.

To Play

* Null & Nichtig (T) - A weird one from Germany.
* Nyet! (T) - A well-regarded Euro-trick-taker. I think I can play it with my Mu deck.
* Nonesuch (T) - A Decktet joint.
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13. Board Game: Oh Hell! [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1878]
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O

0 Oh Hell! (T) - I am so horrible at bidding tricks it's laughable, but I still love it. However, I might like Wizard a tiny bit more.

To Play

* Octrix (T) - A weird one from 3M. Perfect information?
* Ohio (T) - Supposed to be an opaque one from Knizia.
* On the Cards (T) - A Nomic-esque affair.
* Origin of Failing Water (T) - A weird one from Japan.

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14. Board Game: Potato Man [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:2338]
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P - Q

0 Potato Man (T) - I got in 10+ plays of this little gem during a company retreat. I love the way that strategies emerge during the course of playing a few rounds. The 2-player game was all that I tried, but I think 4-players would be fun also.

1 Piquet (T) - A lovely game played in two phases per hand. A pattern-matching point-score phase and a trick-taking phase. A bit baroque, but good fun once You've gotten it down a bit.
2 President (C) - I played hundreds of hours of this.
3 Peeper (C) - Adds a neat little twist on shedding singleton cards.
4 Pinocle (T?) - A far distant last.

To Play

* Pisa (T) - An interesting one where each player can determine component rules of the tricks.
* Pala (T) - Color mixing combined with trick-taking.
* Pepper, Corn! (F) - A Decktet fisher.
* Quacksalbe (FT) - A mix of fishing and trick-taking.
* Preference (T) - One from Russia.
* Poke (T) - One from Sid Sackson.
* Put (T) - An old and simple trick-taker.
* Pitch (T) - An old and simple point-trick-taker.
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15. Board Game: Rook [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:1969]
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R

0 Rook (T) - A weak pick for #1 given that I haven't played in over 20 years.

To Play

* Renfield (T) - A neat trick-taker by James Ernest.
* Recipippes (F) - My own little Decktet invention. WiP.
* Rage (T) - A mass-market trick-taker.
* Ronda (F) - A popular Moroccan game.
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16. Board Game: Sticheln [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:815]
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S

0 Sticheln (T) - A brutal trick-taker that turns the typical conventions on their heads.
1 Scopa (F) - A beautifully laid-back game for two friends and/or lovers.
2 Schnapsen (T) - This has vaulted near the front of my all-time favorite trick-taking games. The possibilities in a 20-card deck is staggering and play is often elegant.
3 Spades (T) - An old classic. Was never very impressed by the partnership possibilities.
4 Skip Bo Breakers (C) - A surprisingly good climber. Nice chances for ridding oneself of bad cards.
5 Skat (T) - I need to really dig deeper.
6 Shou Ba Yi (C) - A modest climber.

To Play

* Sextet (T) - A 6p Bridge. Holy Cow!
* Stich-Meister (T) - A Nomic-like affair.
* Stichling (T) - A well-regarded recent trick-taker.
* S-Evolution (T) - A weird one. New rules make the game more interesting.
* Scan (T) - Suits shown on the backs of the cards. This is a system with some included games.
* Scharfe Schoten (T) - More information needed.
* Sloop (F) - More information needed.
* Savanna Trick (T) - More information needed.
* Sheepshead (T) - Loved by many.
* Some'R'Set - A simpler game than Double SRS?
* Schafkopf (T) - More information needed.
* Swingbridge (T) - Another Bridge, but this time for 3p.
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17. Board Game: Le Truc [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:8973]
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T

0 Le Truc (T) - I discovered this in Sackson's GoG and is the purest bluffing game that I've yet played.

1 Trick of the Rails (T) - A nice blend of trick-taking and stock holding and speculation.

2 French Tarot (T) - A wild game with tons of trumps.
3 Tournament at Camelot (T) - A new game with special powers and odd mechanics. (added 04/18)
4 Tricky Bid (T) - A dead-simple bid-from-cards-in-hand game.
5 Truco (T) - I prefer Le Truc, but this is still neat. I like the winking-variant.
6 Tien Len (C) - A modest climber.
7 Tichu (C) - I want to like this more than I actually do.

To Play

* Triumvirate (T) - Maybe a bit too chaotic, but I'd like to find out myself.
* Tezuma Master (T) - Well regarded game from Japan.
* Trump, Tricks, Game! (T) - A simple bid-from-cards-in-hand.
* Take The "A" Chord (T?) - More information needed.
* Transport: A Fascinating Card Game (T) - One from the 1930s. Looks ahead of its time.
* Trumpet (T) - Multi-level trumps.
* Tunnels and Tricks (T) - More info needed.
* Tricks (T) - One from Alan Moon.
* Trick of Spy (T) - One from Japan.
* Trickster (T) - Deck-building + trick-taking.
 
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18. Board Game: UNO Hearts [Average Rating:5.66 Overall Rank:12465]
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U - V

0 UNO Hearts (T) - Yes, this is much better than UNO.
1 UNO (S) - A distant last.

To Play

* Volltreffer (T) - A weird German card game.
* Victory and Honor (T) - A pseudo-wargame.
* Vampire Queen (T) - More info needed.
* UGO! (T) - More info needed.
* Ulti (T) - More info needed.
* Vira (T) - A game where 3p use extra cards to improve their hands. This game has it all. More info needed.
 
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19. Board Game: Wizard [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:677]
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W


0 Wizard (T) - I played again after a ~20 year hiatus and was pleasantly surprised. I think that with the inclusion of the wizard and jester this game make Oh Hell obsolete for me.
1 Whist (T) - A distant last.

To Play

* Watten (T) - Seems somewhat Ecarte-esque.
* Was Sticht? (T) - Choosing your contract from a fixed set.
* WYSIWYG (T) - One from Larry Levy.
* Where's Bob's Hat? (T) - More info needed.
7 
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20. Board Game: Xactika [Average Rating:5.77 Overall Rank:7360]
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X - Y

0 Xactika (T) - I haven't played since grad school.
 
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21. Board Game: Sluff Off! [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1073]
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Z

0 - Zing! (T) - I desire another 100 hands.
1 - Zheng Fen (C) - A nice climber.

To Play

* Ziegen Kriegen (T) - A well-regarded Euro-trick-taker about goats.
3 
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22. Board Game: 42 [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:4434]
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#

0 42 (T) - Have only played this on iOS so far. Good fun.

To Play

* 7 Symbols and 7 Nations (T) - A well-regarded one from Japan.
* 12 Days of Christmas (C) - A triangular deck climber.
* 12 Days (T) - Another XMas game?!
* 9 Card Don (T) - Point-trick partnership game.
 
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