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Subject: What's the enjoyment in trick taking games? rss

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Joel Abbott
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I'm trying to isolate what is enjoyable about trick taking games.

I have a ton of trick taking games in my collection, and I rarely get to play them, but when I do, I enjoy them. I never get to play these games enough to get "deep" into them, so I've never developed any overarching strategy, or determined a "card passing strategy," or anything sophisticated like that. But I like them, and I want to like them more, and my question is, what's enjoyable about them, especially the partnership games, which in my limited estimation are the best of the lot. So, I have Tichu, Trumps Tricks Game, Sticheln, Dia De Los Muertos, Control Nut, and I've played Whist.
 
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Philip Thomas
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My favorite game is Bridge, though it has been a long time since I played it.

I think its partly a matter of applying skill to a problem. There's a satisfaction when you work out the answer, whether you're agreeing the right level of contract with your partner or working out what cards your opponents' have and how best to play them. There's also a level of social interaction that goes with a partnership game.
 
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CHAPEL
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People who know me know, there is no enjoyment in Trick Taking games. They are all hells little helpers! devil
 
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Michael Jordal
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I guess it depends on the game, but in most games being able to unexpectantly take the trick, or sticking your opponent with a trick they didn't want is where the game is most fun for me
 
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J
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My favourite trick-taking game is Hearts. (I suspect I'd love Bridge, but I haven't had the opportunity to learn/play it.) Enjoyable aspects of Hearts:

- It's not just a trick-taking game; it's got a nice deduction element. Figuring out where the Queen of Spades lies is an interesting puzzle.

- Figuring out an overall strategy for playing the hand you're dealt. Can you shoot the moon? Can you get out without taking any points? Or if you have an awful hand, can you play it out without taking too many points?

- Wrestling against the plans of others. The guy to your left is trying to shoot the moon. Can you stop him?

- Trying to control the flow of points (points are bad). Can you "aim" the big points at the player in the lead?

- At a more basic level, there's the fun of passing someone the Queen of Spades, or the Ace and Two of Clubs, etc. Or hitting someone with the QS after they dumped it on you.

I enjoy it a lot. It's a great blend of medium-term strategy and short-term tactics, finesse and screwage, risk and reward, luck and skill.
 
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I'm a fan of Hearts, Wizard, Rook, David and Goliath, and Victory and Honor among others.

I like trick taking games that require players to follow suit. It's fun to try and control what other players have to play while maintaining control over what I'm playing. There's also the entertaining mental game of trying to count cards.

Additionally, as you use up the cards in your hand, your options become more limited. To me this makes the game "accelerate" and notches up the tension as you reap the rewards (good or bad) of your card play at the beginning of the hand.

I'm not a big fan of partnership trick taking games unless partners change during the game (as they do in 5 player call for partner Rook). It's too easy to reveal information that shouldn't be revealed. If all players are trying to win individually you don't have to worry about "accidental" illegal communication as much.
 
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Michael Jordal
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My favorites are Wizard, Mysticards and 500.
 
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Hans-Joerg Gross
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Skat is for me the best trick taking game.
There is an unknown component in the game because of the two cards face down in the middle of the table.
And there is an auction component because the winner of the auction gets the two cards and must now play against the other both players.
But he is the one who may changes the two cards with his hand-cards and is allowed to declares the trump.
And its a speculative game because of the auction and when the play begins you try to know as fast as possible how the cards between the three players are distributed. A good player knows this often after 2 - 3 tricks.
Hans-Joerg
 
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Barak Engel
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If you've never...

... bid and made a slam off two aces
... brought off a nice strip and end play, or maybe a trump coup
... found the only killing lead of low from Kx without anyone bidding the suit to win a match in a nationally rated teams event
... scored 127 IMPs in a 24-board pairs event, or maybe a 77% game
... beat the then-current european champions 20-0 in a critical match
... got to do a number of other amazing and fulfilling things

(all of which I have very much enjoyed personally)

then you will never understand trick-taking games.

And yes, I am talking about competitive bridge.

Oh, and yes, I am being facetious
 
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Jonathan Franklin
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For me, it is the depth of deduction and inferences that can be made combined with the relatively short amount of time to play each hand. I especially like the games that include bidding + trick taking, such as bridge, spades, and Sieben Siegel.
 
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Randy Cox
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For me, it's the fact that every hand is a clean slate. Sure, there's a running tally, but who cares about that? Each new hand of Mu is another opportunity to bid like crazy and hope you can make it (or defeat the one who is trying to make the contract).

It's tough enough to ponder through a single hand, so I like the fact that after that hand is over, whether you did well or got set on your ass, you get to start fresh with the next deal.
 
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Lyman Hurd
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...making a slam contract doubled, redoubled and vulnerable.

Now even if you had no idea what that meant, doesn't it sound good!

And the fact that it was accomplished by a lowly grad student with his townie wife versus an obnoxious pair of crypto-frat boys made it even more enjoyable.

 
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J Jacy
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Sitting around and talking with friends, that's the best part. Maybe I'm not competitive enough, or don't take the card counting part too seriously, but mostly with trick taking games there is maybe 1 tough decision to be made per full hand of cards, and the others are very obvious, so the social aspect is the best part (sorry I've never gotten to play bridge but I have played Hearts, Spades, Euchre, Setback, @sshole, Great Dalmuti, probably others).

Just an easy lightheated game that isn't too serious.

-jjacy1
 
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Barak Engel
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lyman wrote:
...making a slam contract doubled, redoubled and vulnerable.

Now even if you had no idea what that meant, doesn't it sound good!


Yeah, that would be exciting :-)

I know it's completely off-topic, but to show the roller-coaster possible in trick-taking games, I am reminded of the time I made 2D redoubled plus one, vulnerable in a team game, only to find at the end that the score at the other table was exactly the same. No swing.

Oh yes, bridge (and it's ilk) can be a LOT of fun.
 
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Jon Dockter
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The only trick taking game that I know how to play is pinochle. I used to play it every weekend with my grandparents. Although I really only enjoy it with 4 so we can pass cards. 3 player is a lot more cutthroat and I'm always too conservative with my bidding.
 
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Scott and Suzy Krutsch
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grandslam wrote:
For me, it is the depth of deduction and inferences that can be made combined with the relatively short amount of time to play each hand.


Yup, that's it. Bridge is as deep a game as you want it to be, and every seven minutes you get another chance. Although I haven't played in ten years, I still relish the thought of how I bid and played a doubled slam, making on a squeeze despite a 5-0 trump break. (Sorry, I don't know how to translate that experience to any German game )

Scott
 
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Mikko Karvonen
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Quick rhytm, the ebb and tide of trick-taking games is definitely one of their charms. Personally I also enjoy the way almost completely chaotic (you know how many cards each player is going to get, but that's it) starting situation can deliver a gaming experience that's mostly skill-based. Just waiting for good hand won't do it. To be good at cards you have to change your approach depending on the cards you get, do some careful risk management and be able to read your opponents well.

My personal favorite trick-taking game is Tuppi, which could be described as lumberjack's Bridge. It's a partnership game with lighter bid-element than Bridge, but with an additional twist of having two different game modes, which change the way you approach any situation dramatically. Very tactical, very skill-based and highly entertaining.

I am not the only person from northern Finland who is fanatical about Tuppi either. Back in the days playing badly could make a man a laughing stock of the entire lumbercamp (they used to be very common in Lapland, a good percentage of men earning extra cash each year in the lumbercamps) to the extend of forcing him to escape into the night and quietly find a new camp to work in. And during more recent years there has been a case of stabbing in the national Tuppi championships, over a case of cheating, if I've understood correctly.
 
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Big Woo
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The challenge of solving a puzzle when you've only partially been told what the pieces look like. The thrill of trying to catch the natural flow of things with its pants down, by making more of your hand than you ought to have done. The hope and anticipation of getting really lucky just before picking up a newly dealt hand. The opportunity to take on insane odds and knowing that maybe, just maybe, the cards could sit around the table so you would get away with it too. In the bidding phase: persuade others through trickery and headology to climb a tree, sit at the wrong side of a branch, then get them to start sawing, one stroke at the time, after which you sit back a bit an quietly observe them whilst they decide if one more stroke will turn out to be one too many. All the deduction that takes place before play starts, and the satisfaction of getting it just right or the stupid giggling that comes with the rather slow realization just how wrong you got it. A bit like the feeling that comes with sitting in a slowly sinking boat and knowing that there are a lot of sharks out there, and the thing you just pulled up wasn't a large fish, but the plug of your own boat.

With partnership games: seeing someone's heart sink when they realize that they just have been made partner on a more ambitious trip, and know they just wished they had gone for broke by themselves instead. And then trying to construct a house with two, knowing that your partner also holds hammers and nails, and just pray that when you both declare, you turn out to be holding a hammer and nail, rather than two nails, and thus also 2 hammers in the next turn. And don't forget the flagging. You know your partner is trying to tell you something really important, if only you knew what.

With some games: taking on the entire table and warming up the face muscles for some serious smugness.

And best of all: being forgiven for all your worst sins and getting a clean slate every 7 minutes.
 
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Richard Hutnik
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triplestep wrote:
I'm trying to isolate what is enjoyable about trick taking games.

I have a ton of trick taking games in my collection, and I rarely get to play them, but when I do, I enjoy them. I never get to play these games enough to get "deep" into them, so I've never developed any overarching strategy, or determined a "card passing strategy," or anything sophisticated like that. But I like them, and I want to like them more, and my question is, what's enjoyable about them, especially the partnership games, which in my limited estimation are the best of the lot. So, I have Tichu, Trumps Tricks Game, Sticheln, Dia De Los Muertos, Control Nut, and I've played Whist.


If the concept of estimating on bids, and then managing one's hand in order to meet one's estimate is of interest, then trick-taking is of interest. If this isn't, then it is not.

I know I fiddled with some stuff. The likes of my solitaire Oneonta Whist (also playable two players or more and also as a cooperative game):
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/121500?sk=oneonta+whist

Gives people a chance to try this.

Myself, I like a wide range of games, including trick-taking. You may alos want to try to get ahold of Was Sticht? where you try to deduce what the trump number and suite is.
 
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