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Subject: Two games back-to-back rss

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Dave Wilson
United States
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We figured Jon was still on his way, since it wasn't 9PM yet, so it was time for a filler. Jim's become rather fascinated with Flaschenteufel of late, so when he saw it in Dave's bag, he pulled it out and started setting it up.

I'm pretty sure Paul was a bit confused at first, as well, since it was the first time he's played this one. But he seemed to catch on pretty quickly. Dave began the festivities by trumping the first trick, reducing the price of the bottle to 16. Jim followed with an 11 trump, and then Paul with 8. (Note that the all the players of trump were the last players of the given trick. That's key, so as to not allow others to undertrump and thus get rid of a potentially imp-taking card.) When Dave trumped with the 7, it was a freeing moment for him, as he had taken a number of nice tricks, but had no cards below that 7, and he knew there were lower cards out there, as he had passed them earlier. So there was no surprise when the next tricks went Jim trumping with 3, then Paul with the 2, and then Jim with the 1, sticking him with the bottle and -9 points, while Dave and Paul had 45 and 35, respectively.

Dave's second hand was scary. He was dealt the 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3. Great for poker, but not so much for Flaschenteufel. He ended up passing the 4 and the 3, and giving the 5 to the Imp's Trick. He then trumped the second trick of the hand with the 6, which freed him from worrying about taking the bottle. He continued to lead blue, to try to get Paul (to whom he'd given the blue 4) to have to trump with it, but Paul had enough other blue cards to ride along. Eventually Jim was forced to trump with his 3, which he did in the second-to-last trick, hoping the 1 was still out there (the 2 had been played as an undertrump on a previous yellow trick). But nope, the 1 was in the Imp's Trick, and Jim was again stuck with the bottle.

And in the third hand Dave was dealt a nice hand, which can be trouble because it usually means that the others have been dealt the really low cards, and they're likely to pass them on to you. And sure enough, Dave received both the 1 (lowest yellow) and 4 (lowest blue). The trump's price came down pretty gradually: 16...9...8 (after three tricks of no trumps)...then 6. But through none of that was there an opportunity for Dave to dump the 1 or the 4 as undertrumps. The 2 and 3 wouldn't come to help him, and he was stuck with the bottle. And since we had all dealt, we decided to end the game and add up our scores. And since Paul had never taken the bottle, you can guess that he came out the winner, with 89 points to Dave's 59 and Jim's 10.

No Jon yet so we played a second game. In the first hand of this one, the trump's price fell like a stone, first to 10, and then to 4. That last one was Dave, who was safe doing so since he had passed both the 1 and the 2! He then proceeded to take a bunch of tricks with his high blue cards, collecting points while waiting for Jim and or Paul to be forced to trump and take the bottle from him. It finally happened on the last trick, with Paul trumping with the 2 and Jim dumping the 1. And for the first time of the evening, Paul was stuck with the bottle, while Dave scored a healthy 52 points.

Second hand, and Dave tried to get the price of trump to fall gradually by playing the 16. But the very next trick, Jim trumps with the 4, which made it really tough for Paul (who held the 3) and Dave (who held the 2) to get away without the bottle. On the third-to-last trick, Paul was able to trump with the 3. On the next trick, Dave played last, and realized that his only chance was to trump with the 2, hoping that the 1 was still out there for the last trick. It wasn't, and Dave kept the bottle, while Jim and Paul both tried to catch up with 47 and 48 points, respectively. Actually, Jim took the lead at this point, with 74 points, and the other two in the 40s.

In the third hand actually led with the 11, and Paul overtrumps with the 14. A couple tricks later Dave trumped with the 7, which ended up allowing Paul to dump the 5 to the same trick. Too bad for Jim, who still had both the 3 and the 2 in his hand, and couldn't get rid of them. As a result, they won him tricks, and the bottle, which he still had when the hand ended. The Imp's Trick was small: only -4. But the others did better than that, and Dave's 47 points this hand gave him 95 for the game, and the win, to Jim's 70 and Paul's 61.

I like my trick-taking games, and this is a good one. I'd like to play it at game night some time with four people, to see how the passing and playing changes with the additional player.
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