Games in the Decktet Book
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This is a guide to the Decktet which appear in the recently released Revised and Expanded Decktet Book.

There are twice as many games as there were in the original edition, many included invented by members of the BGG community and included with their kind permission.

bacon How to get a copy of the book
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1. Board Game: Ace Trump [Average Rating:6.66 Unranked]
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zefquaavius wrote:

This is a great trick-taking game. The double-suited card make it hard to clear your hand of suits so you can start trumping; however, leading with aces and crowns helps to purge other people's hands of those specific suits. If you can't follow suit, you can create/change the trump suit by playing an ace; on the other hand, if someone else is also out of the led suit(s), any card in your trump ace's suit beats your ace. ...and of course, any other ace beats your ace, by changing the trump suit on you. Ace Trump is a very worthy member of the trick-taking family!


This was one of the first games for the Decktet. Under any circumstances, I would rather play one of the trick-taking games that was developed later.
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2. Board Game: Ascend [Average Rating:7.06 Unranked]
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newuser wrote:

Every deck needs a good climbing game, and The Decktet is no exception. Ascend seems pretty standard at first - which makes it easy enough to start playing - but as usual, has a few twists and tough choices in store due to the dual-suited nature of cards.


This climbing game by Daniël Muilwijk underwent an extended and public development process. I admit that I am not a connoisseur of climbing games, but this one is fun. It is nicely balances tactical card play with the hurly burly of bombing and brinksmanship.

And it is a climbing game that's themed as a game about climbing. None of that Blue Dog and Dragon nonsense!
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3. Board Game: Adaman [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:10131]
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newuser wrote:

As solo time-wasters go, this is a solid game. In fact, I've paid for games that weren't nearly as addictive or interesting to play.


I am not too big a fan of solitaire games in the red nine goes on the black ten tradition nor of ones that require a scorepad. Adaman navigates a course through these rocky preferences. It's a quick solitaire games in which you just shuffle and deal the cards. You play, you win or lose, and if you are still waiting on hold you can shuffle it up to play again.
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4. Board Game: Bharg [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:11403]
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Janiv wrote:

Very nice two-player game. My wife and I enjoy it quite a bit. It plays kind of like rummy in which you need to gather specific suits into sets. You simply draw a card on your turn and then discard. You win if all your cards are in suit sets when you discard.


This was one of the first two games invented for the Decktet. The rules are simple enough to fit onto one printed card, so it has often been printed on of the spare cards of commercial decks. These factors make it more popular than maybe it ought to be.

I still play it occasionally. There is fun to be had, but seeing the suit combinations takes a special kind of attention to the structure of the Decktet. If the Decktet did not already exist, Bharg would not be a reason for inventing it.

The book also includes rules for Bharg Deluxe, a big game version of Bharg that uses a double deck. The scoring in Deluxe is more gradual, which means that skilled play matters more than blind luck.
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5. Board Game: Bisque [Average Rating:7.15 Unranked]
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Quote:

Superficially a trick-taking game, but you don't just want to take or avoid tricks. It's really a game about bluffing, deduction, and control.


Another game by Daniël Muilwijk.

Imagine taking a trick-taking game, dipping it in béchamel, and dropping it down a rabbit hole. It's the basic machinery of a trick-taking game and plenty of opportunity for tactical card play, except that the scoring system revolves around the cards which lose tricks.
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6. Board Game: Biscuit [Average Rating:6.53 Unranked]
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peapicker wrote:

A very enjoyable domino-like game, but actually more fun than dominoes.


Another early Decktet game. This is a light but enjoyable card shedding game. It is designed to have you saying silly things to claim your score, like "6-7-8, biscuit, biscuit, hot biscuit".
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7. Board Game: Caravan [Average Rating:5.88 Unranked]
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maka wrote:

A great climbing game with a twist, some times you gain points for cards, sometimes you lose them, which really adds variety to the game and changes the strategy. An excellent 2p alternative when you like climbing games...


This is my own attempt at making a climbing game, hindered by my own admitted tin ear for climbing games. It is obviously inspired by Haggis, but that is itself inspired by a bunch of other games. I leave it to players to decide whether it is reheated, day-old haggis or a haggis smoothie triumph of fusion cuisine.
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8. Board Game: Chancellors [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
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daw65 wrote:

Played once with 2 and once with 3. I prefer it with 3 -- more competition for the ministers. That game ended with a problem escalating out of control. Nice little game.


This game makes special use of a few of the Decktet cards: The Sailor, Soldier, and Diplomat represent the royal navy, army, and diplomatic corps. Regular dice represent problems facing the kingdom, and players are squabbling chancellors trying to solve them.

I agree that this is better with more players. There is more contention to control the services, and a greater chance that problems will spiral out of control.

This game might be too many rules to make too simple a game, but it is included as an illustration of how the Decktet structure can be exploited in peculiar ways. The three special cards as royal services seems natural, in a way that the four of diamonds, the five of spades, and the eight of hearts wouldn't.
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9. Board Game: Chicane [Average Rating:6.09 Unranked]
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timbledum wrote:

Really fun! Play it with the reference card though. Heaps of double suited confusingness, with a familiar trick-taking bidding feel.


In this trick-taking game, a declaration process collapses all the two-suited cards into playing as one-suited cards. Players can control which direction the collapse goes, allowing them to control the distribution of cards in each suit.

There was an earlier version which was just OK, the new rules shake up the declaration process and add trump. The four-player variant has floating partnerships, with players teaming up for a hand based on the declarations. That version is (presently) my favourite four-player trick-taking game for the Decktet.

Reference cards are basically required to play, but they give players enough information to deploy all the familiar strategies of trick-taking games.
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10. Board Game: Colour Bazaar [Average Rating:6.53 Unranked]
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Nate Straight wrote:

Very good for 3. I still prefer restricting chip selection to a suit on the card you just played [unless neither is available, then you're back to free choice].


Some of my usual playtesters think of this as the best Decktet game for three players. Play a card which changes the value of chips which match suits on that cards; then take a chip.

The strategy is a bit subtle. Even though cards do matter, watching what has already been played is more important than hoping for a lucky draw or trying to pounce on your opponent at the last minute. It's more market manipulation than take that.

Players who haven't cottoned onto this can feel strangled by their cards. Nate's house rule gives the cards piano wire, so I prefer to play the game as written.
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11. Board Game: Corundum Conundrum [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked]
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Quote:

This game is not much like anything else, so the rating is provisional. Since it requires exactly four-players and serious concentration, I haven't gotten to try it as much as I'd like to.


This game by Nate Straight is like a trick-taking game, except that the trick keeps going until all six Decktet suits are represented. It is somewhat mind-boggling to play.

I recommend using suit chips to track the representation of suits; they aren't strictly required by the rules, but the game needs some kind of status display in order to be cognitively tractable for mere humans.
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12. Board Game: Double Knot [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
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Octogreg wrote:

A nice trick taking game in the traditional style that we have enjoyed.


Another game by Daniël Muilwijk.

This is a trick-taking game which treats each multi-suited card as having just one suit. The second suit on the lead card determines trump, so the trump can change every trick.

Again, reference cards are required for sensible play. With them, it becomes a precise and challenging trick-taking game. The scoring system rewards precise bidding, meaning that a hand of low cards has just as much chance to score as a hand of high ones.

Double Knot is definitely better than the original version of Chicane, but I think I prefer the current version of Chicane (especially with four players). Try them both.
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13. Board Game: Emu Ranchers [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:7511]
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Blue Steel wrote:

Great two player Decktet game. Feels a lot like Lost Cities, but has its own unique aspects. Highly recommended.


Here is what I say about it in another Geeklist:

Admittedly, Emu Ranchers is recognizably a riff on Lost Cities. Still, there are some differences in scoring, differences in the way that the discard pile works, and differences in the endgame. The biggest difference comes from the Decktet itself: Dual-suited cards can be used in either of two ways.

It is farther from Lost Cities than some Reiner Knizia games are from other Knizia games. If he had designed it himself, it could easily be published with a different title, and we wouldn't be talking about how derivative it is.

Plus, bird ranching is totally different than archaeology.
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14. Board Game: Fifes & Drums [Average Rating:6.14 Unranked]
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NateStraight wrote:

That is both bizarre and clever.


Nate said this in the thread in which the game was developed, but it seems most apposite.

In this bluffing game for two players, each player has three goal suits which they want to advance. Players probably share one and may share two of their goal suits, however, meaning that you can never tell for certain whether your carefully secured progress is giving you any advantage over your opponent.
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15. Board Game: Gasp! [Average Rating:5.72 Unranked]
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Quote:

An excellent lightweight trick-taking game. It takes the 'follow either suit' mechanic used in Ace Trump, but controls the chaos with several nice mechanics: some cards are held out of play, Crowns can be undone by Aces, and the scoring system means that you don't always want to win a trick.


A nifty game by Greg James.
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16. Board Game: Goblin Market [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:9956]
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eekamouse wrote:

Great "auction filler". Very whacky without losing the little bits of strategy.


This is an auction game inspired by Christina Rossetti's poem of the same name. Because of the theme, there were several 19th-century illustrations ready made for it.

Players are intially provided with a trickle of income in the form of goblin money. The auctions that players win can lose them some income (by diminishing the flow of goblin money) but may get them more (depending on how later auctions turn out).
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17. Board Game: Gongor Whist [Average Rating:6.18 Unranked]
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seisyll wrote:
Wasn't too sure if I liked this the first time I played it. But then I thought fondly of it later and went back and really liked it.

Strategy-wise, I recommend turning trump four times in the first hand. Your forehand is going to be unpredictable anyway, so this way you can really control the backhand.

Josh Bodah wrote:
Gongor Whist builds on [exact bidding] and creates one of the most beautiful things in board game history: solo trick taking.


This is a solitaire trick-taking game which took some work to perfect. The current scoring rule began as the "shut the box" variant. Although it requires paper or tokens to track the eight possible bids, the game still ends in victory or defeat in eight hands or less. It is a bit more long-form than Adaman, but it is still a fairly quick and self-contained challenge.
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18. Board Game: Hermit [Average Rating:6.43 Unranked]
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Gregarious wrote:

An interesting trick-taking game where multiple "tricks" are in play simultaneously. It's almost more like a push your luck game, since you have the possibility of playing multiple cards to the same trick.

I liked the play of the game quite a bit, but remembering which cards will score and their distribution keeps the game from playing quickly. Still, a good little game.


Chicane and Nonesuch play more like traditional trick-taking games. Hermit is a bit more madcap, but without being utter chaos.

This is one of the few exclusive games. The rules are only available in the book.
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19. Board Game: Jacynth [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:8364]
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derrickec wrote:

Another example of how diverse the Decktet family of games can be. This is an area control game that you have to play through at least once before you'll really understand what's going on. The variable starting setups just makes the game that much richer.


I invented this area control game during the summer after I released the Decktet, making it one of the earliest games. There is some amount of luck in which cards you have to play, but this is balanced by the fact that your opponents may be similarly constrained. Sometimes they will be in a position to do something tremendous, you won't have a card to stop them, and you have to gamble that they don't have a card to do it. Since all the cards are played face up, by the mid-game you can assess the odds involved when you gamble in this way.
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20. Board Game: Kingpins [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
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In this auction game, players bid a number of agents that they will commit to a task. The high bidder takes a card. Agents committed to taking the card eventually return. If there is a tie in the initial auction, players bid delay - an extra amount of time they are willing to wait before getting their agents back.

This is exclusive to the Revised and Expanded Book.
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21. Board Game: Magnate [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:3902]
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Maxx_Pointy wrote:

A quick bit of fun.
The trade off between long- and short-term strategy is interesting. Enjoyable if you like finding a balance that works best to undo the plans of your opponent.

The scoring feels like Battle Line and the resource collection reminds me of Catan. Blended together, I like it better than either.


mrcoolranch wrote:

Easy to learn. Quick to play. Crazy decisions to make the entire game (with a side of luck). The end game is always tight.


This is easily the most popular Decktet game, and it has taken on a life of its own.

In addition to the Decktet, it requires tokens and dice.
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22. Board Game: Nonesuch [Average Rating:6.71 Unranked]
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Quote:

There's the potential for a lot of strategy, but you should keep the reference table handy.


The three-player variant in the book, Raven Nonesuch, turns the confrontation knob up to cutthroat. As of now, it is probably my favourite three-player trick-taking game for the Decktet.
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23. Board Game: Snakebit [Average Rating:6.67 Unranked]
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Poison Nonesuch

Isaac Bickerstaff invented this game and called it 'Snakebit', but the basic trick play is the same as Nonesuch. With his permission, it is placed as part of the Nonesuch family in the book.

In this quick and raucous game, the 24 number cards are dealt out to players. The Aces and Crowns are used to randomly determine a Poison suit and a Trump suit. Players score rewards for taking tricks but penalties taking the poison suit.

It's especially good for four-players, when the total penalties outnumber the rewards to create an inevitable downward pressure. The default rule is to play six hands. With four, a brutal variant is to keep playing until someone reaches a cumulative score of -10.
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24. Board Game: Oh Quay [Average Rating:6.51 Unranked]
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Octogreg wrote:

Oh Quay is a minor game in the Decktet universe but is well worth playing when the time & place are right.


This two-player game has a gimmick: Players hold all the cards in their hands, so it can be played standing in line or sitting on a wall.
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25. Board Game: Otgovorko [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
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This is a beating game by Chris DeLeo, inspired by the Russian game Durak. The goal is to use up all your cards attacking your neighbors and defending from their attacks.

It is exclusive to the book.
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