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Subject: Any chance of an extended deck or a shoot-the-moon variant? rss

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Nate Straight

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Played about three or four rounds on Thanksgiving and really enjoyed the game, but it was a little quick and chaotic for my tastes.

Mostly, it seemed that a really bad hand could really mess you up, given the large number of points available and small number of points in a game.

A lot of "pain" card games have a shoot-the-moon variant, a la Hearts, and it seems like one might work here. I don't know it'd work.

It also seemed a bit odd that there weren't any suggestions on including the extended deck, since most of the Decktet games have at least one option.

But, perhaps the game is just best in its purest form and should be accepted for what it is: a nice, light, mean game like Ziegen Kriegen.

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P.D. Magnus
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I'm glad you enjoyed it. Here are some thoughts:

In designing the game, I tried not to make it so that people playing it would think to themselves Oh, this is just Hearts with the Decktet. So I resisted the temptation to have a shoot-the-moon rule just because Hearts has one.

More than that, however, a straight application of the rule from Hearts didn't play very well. With several tricks in play simultaneously, it's much harder to control them. Moreover, the total number of points is indeterminate - since uncompleted tricks are just set aside at the end.

The Crown-canceling rule is designed to give hope to bad hands, but maybe there could be something more.

Some Decktet fans are more gung ho about the extended deck than I am. There didn't seem, to me, to be a natural place for the extended deck cards in Hermit.

Finally, regarding some of the chaos: Seating order can make a big difference. A cunning player to your right can leave you with hard choices, forcing you to take more points. If players aren't uniformly brutal to one another, it helps to reverse the direction of play every deal; first hand clockwise, second hand counter-clockwise, and so on.
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Nate Straight

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pmagnus wrote:

In designing the game, I tried not to make it so that people playing it would think to themselves Oh, this is just Hearts with the Decktet. So I resisted the temptation to have a shoot-the-moon rule just because Hearts has one.


Definitely. I don't want to see "decktet hearts" either.

It seems more just a common feature of most point avoidance games.
Quote:

The Crown-canceling rule is designed to give hope to bad hands, but maybe there could be something more.


It helped some, but it's more the high rank cards that mess you up.

Maybe a cancellation rather shoot-the-moon concept would be interesting, something akin to No Thanks.

If you don't know No Thanks, it's a pure pain game (all cards are points, all points are pain) with the caveat that you only score the bottom card of any sequences you manage to collect.
Quote:

Finally, regarding some of the chaos: Seating order can make a big difference. A cunning player to your right can leave you with hard choices, forcing you to take more points. If players aren't uniformly brutal to one another, it helps to reverse the direction of play every deal; first hand clockwise, second hand counter-clockwise, and so on.


That's pretty neat, just for a change
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P.D. Magnus
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Since you asked about a balance to high cards and a use for extended deck cards at the same time, I thought perhaps one rule might solve both problems. Here's an idea:

Pawns are above 9s, and Courts are above Pawns, as usual. A Court will take a trick away unless there is an uncanceled Crown in it, and a Pawn will take it unless there's a Court or a Crown. Once a Pawn or Court is in a trick, however, subsequent cards take control if the new card is the lowest card in the trick. A Pawn or Court effectively reverses the order of ranks for the remainder of the trick.

This would mean that a Pawn or Court would be terrible to play as the last card, because it would probably take the trick. It would also be bad to play if the trick already has a 2 in it, because subsequent plays will probably go over the 2. But they might be good for a trick that starts out high.

Because it will eventually come up: A second Pawn or Court reverses the effect, so that the trick is treated normally. A third one flips it back.

Because Pawns and Courts would change the flow of the game - and because they would add even more personality cards - it might be best to use the Pawns or the Courts but not both.

Of course I haven't tried this, and I haven't even really thought it through - but what do you think?
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Daniël Muilwijk
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Very nice option you present here, pmagnus!
 
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Nate Straight

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pmagnus wrote:
Since you asked about a balance to high cards and a use for extended deck cards at the same time, I thought perhaps one rule might solve both problems. Here's an idea:
...
Of course I haven't tried this, and I haven't even really thought it through - but what do you think?


That might be interesting.

You could set yourself up pretty well by leading out a high-card to dump it and then playing a pawn on it later so someone would have to take it from you [unless your opponents dumped on the high card before it got around to you], or put a pawn on someone else's trick and start unloading high cards.

Perhaps I'll try this one out.

Also.... it came to me the other day that my hoped-for "shoot-the-moon variant" should have offered a clue. The moon and the sun personalities are the most troubling cards to see in your hand, usually, in a hand of Hermit. There are also enough to make collecting all the moons or all the suns difficult.

Could there be a literal "shoot the moon" variant of collecting all the moons, with a corresponding "shoot the sun" [?] goal of collecting all the suns, and possibly a "shoot the moon and sun" [ok... these need better names] goal for both? This is small enough a set of cards to be accomplishable in the game.

I've been enjoying the game as is, too!
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P.D. Magnus
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Collecting Moons (or Moons and Suns) is an interesting idea. There might be Moon cards left hanging and untaken at the end of the hand, but I guess those would not count against shooting the Moon.

The odd thing about it is that it involves something that's mostly separate from avoiding points. In Hearts, if someone successfully shoots the moon, then that's all the scoring for the hand. Someone might collect all of the Moon cards but also some other personalities, and other people might collect some personalities as well. So the score would end up being a combo of standard and Moon scoring.

Hmm...

As an aside: I still haven't had a chance to try the extended deck rule. If you do, let me know how it goes.
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Nate Straight

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pmagnus wrote:
Collecting Moons (or Moons and Suns) is an interesting idea. There might be Moon cards left hanging and untaken at the end of the hand, but I guess those would not count against shooting the Moon.

The odd thing about it is that it involves something that's mostly separate from avoiding points. In Hearts, if someone successfully shoots the moon, then that's all the scoring for the hand. Someone might collect all of the Moon cards but also some other personalities, and other people might collect some personalities as well. So the score would end up being a combo of standard and Moon scoring.


Whoops. I just realized what I did above.

I meant "collect all Moon personalities".

It's the moon and sun personalities [having both a Crown, an 8, and a 6 each] that give you the most trouble in the game ["getting rid of"-wise].

Additionally, each suit has 4 "faces" [and if someone were trying to collect Suns while you were trying for Moons, you'd really be in for it].

The other suits [aside from Knots which have two low easy-to-take cards] only have 3 cards each, so collecting them would be trivial.

Having to collect the big-value Sun or Moon personalities would be both risky [if you fail] and difficult [if you don't hold the high cards].

It would be easy for someone to "set" your try, too, on the low side. Moons and Suns both have a low card they could dump to someone else.

I don't know how you'd score it if you succeeded, but the idea was definitely not to add a new type of scoring altogether. Sorry for the confusion there.
 
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P.D. Magnus
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NateStraight wrote:

I meant "collect all Moon personalities".


Interesting. Having a 'shoot' option that only requires four cards might be too easy, but it would be worth trying.

The obvious scoring rule would just be to have the cards count as minus points (a good thing) or as points for your opponents. So moons would be 26, and suns would be 28; both together would be 44, two-thirds of the possible points.
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Nate Straight

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pmagnus wrote:
NateStraight wrote:

I meant "collect all Moon personalities".


Interesting. Having a 'shoot' option that only requires four cards might be too easy, but it would be worth trying.


They're a little easy, but require you to hold a lot of strength.

Furthermore, because of the two-faced Diplomat, there's conflict when two people are simultaneously trying to achieve the "shoot" condition in the two possible suits.

This is pretty likely to occur since either option alone is so "easy", but it makes it harder when the two options are considered together, as there's automatic conflict.

I've playtested it in two or three Hermit games so far, and it works well enough.

Quote:
The obvious scoring rule would just be to have the cards count as minus points (a good thing) or as points for your opponents. So moons would be 26, and suns would be 28; both together would be 44, two-thirds of the possible points.


This seems a bit excessive. I've just been going with the rule that the 4 cards score no points.

I've kind of lost interest in any extended deck variant; it doesn't seem worth the trouble.
 
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Kenny VenOsdel
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I like the shoot the moon idea for this game. I don't think it makes it hearts with the decketet at all. When looking at the personalities I also agree that the only suits this really works with are moons and suns. The knots also have four cards but so many tend to be low that it seems unnecessary to reduce the "pain."

I would also say that to "shoot the moon/sun" you would have to take every card of that suit in order to score zero for that suit. This would mean no cards of that suit could be left stranded. I think that it would be too easy to complete it if stranded cards didn't count against you and it likely wouldn't reduce your score by much since the higher cards tend to be the stranded ones anyway.

I also think that it would be nice if there was a complete "shoot the moon" rule and yes I believe this can happen, though not often. Due to the theme I think we should call it the "house party" rule. It would be too much to give each other player 66 points so I would say something like "If you are the only player to score points this round you score 0. Split the points you would have scored evenly between the other players." Stranded cards would not count against this. In this case if you had collected all of the suns or moons I would say that there value is still split among the other players.
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P.D. Magnus
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The 'house party' rule sounds worth a try. It will lead to the familiar brinksmanship of who else will take some points to stop one player from taking them all. In Hearts, you can stop that guy just by taking one point. In Hermit, how big a personality should you be willing to take in order to stop him?
 
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Kenny VenOsdel
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Thread bump! Whenever I play I include the following shoot the moon rules:

1. If a player takes every moon personality card (4 total) they score zero for those cards.

2. Likewise for the suns.

3. If a player is the only person to score points in a round they instead score 0. All the points for their personality cards are instead split evenly between the other players. (The points for the moons/suns will still be split even if they satisfied rules 1 and 2).

These rules have worked very well, are intuitive, and add a nice flair to the game. The 3rd one is hard to pull off but possible if your opponents aren't paying attention. Just ask my wife! The other day she got every single point available, after complaining how bad the hand was starting out for her.
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