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Subject: [WIP] I don't have a name yet, it's a trick taking game okay, sheesh rss

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Kenny VenOsdel
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Hm, maybe I should just call it "Sheesh?" Well on with the real stuff anyway.

I've been tossing around a few ideas for Decktet games for weeks now and I think I'm finally going to post this one up for feedback and review. Mind you I have not been able to play it since I can never get my Decktet out with 3 or more people so advice and corrections are needed.

I'll preface this idea with some of the things I've noticed about the Decktet and how they have affected my thinking.

1. The Decktet games tend to suffer from a lot of chaos. Granted there are games that avoid it, but a common thing I read about Decktet trick-takers is that you can follow suit with too many different cards.

2. One of the most interesting things about the Decktet is not based on the card you follow suit with, but the fact that when you follow suit with say the 6 of suns suit on the Penitent (6 of suns/wyrms) you also remove a 6 of wyrms. I find this interaction fascinating and very difficult to track through in my head without actually playing.

These two concepts are what I am basing most of my ideas off of and here is my first go round with sharing some of them.

My actual game starts here

Only the basic Decktet is required for this game. I would imagine it would work for 3 or 4 players.

This is a simple trick taking game with simple rules, the game lies in how you manipulate the interactions between suits. There is and never will be trump of any kind. Players must follow suit if able, and may slough if not. Whoever plays the highest card to a trick, without sloughing, wins the trick.

Deal the cards evenly to each player (12 for 3 players, 9 for 4)

To follow suit, look at the initial card led. You may follow suit in one of two ways. Either play a higher ranked card that shares a suit with the top symbol, or play a lower ranked card that shares a suit with the bottom symbol. The symbols do not have to be in matching places (top or bottom). Aces are considered rank 1, Crowns rank 10. To follow them you must play above an Ace or below a Crown.

Ex: You lead The Penitent (6 suns/wyrms). In order to follow suit, other players must either play a higher ranked sun or a lower ranked wyrm. All other cards are sloughs.

Whoever wins a trick leads the next until everyone has no cards left in hand.

Scoring:

I have two one variations on scoring which equate to very different games a single game

A: (the simple one) Each trick is worth one point. Players are competing for points, plain and simple. Play to a predetermined number of points. This is a very simple game if only played this way though, and it could probably do with another element to scoring to make it more interesting.

B: Each trick is worth one point and points are bad. When one player reaches a certain number of points the game is over and low score wins, no tie breakers. The caveat is that at the end of each hand, the player who scored the least amount of points gets an extra 10 points tacked on. If players tie for low score they all take the 10 points. This creates an interesting dynamic of wanting to avoid tricks, but having to take just enough to get away from that large punishment. Just because I love Hearts I also include a "shoot-the-moon" rule. If you take every trick (12 in a 3p game, 9 in 4p) you score zero for the round and each of your opponents scores your number of tricks.

Well there you have it. My first official Decktet game posts. For what its worth the two mechanics I really like are the B score structure and the way following suits is done. If anyone has any thoughts on these ideas please share. I haven't had a chance to test these other than on paper and in my head. I've held off posting because of that but finally just decided that if I can't get an opportunity to give it a test run I may as well see if someone else can.

Thanks all and especially PD for the Decktet. It is a work of art.
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Roger Meertens
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Here are my thoughts about your idea.
* I really like the idea that you can go higher and lower in response to the lead card. However, how do you solve the fact that people can choose? Who will win the trick when one person will go higher than the top suit and another one will go lower than the bottom suit? Will it be the card that's "furthest" away from the lead card (that's how I interpret this rule), or will it be resolved in another way? Maybe you could solve this by alternating hands (one hand go higher than the top suit and the next go lower than the bottom suit); or people could say how they want to play (even bet upon) and majority will decide; or even the card after the lead card will determine the course of the trick (if it's higher, all cards should be higher...).

* I also like the ideas of being forced to take points & that you have to stay in the middle of the scoring. This will bring a lot of tension to the game. Most games are about getting the least or the most points. So this (as far as I know of) is a unique way of determining the winner.
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Greg J
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The games that come to mind with your idea are Chicane (Top Hand/Bottom Hand), Double Knot (Top suit = lead, Bottom Suit = trump) and Gasp! & Shed (a trick can be won for gain or pain in either suit). The rule about going higher or lower has been cleverly looked at in Emu Ranchers. We haven't seen a game yet that combines all of these, so good luck with it!
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Lacombe
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littlebrothertimmy wrote:
However, how do you solve the fact that people can choose? Who will win the trick when one person will go higher than the top suit and another one will go lower than the bottom suit? Will it be the card that's "furthest" away from the lead card (that's how I interpret this rule), or will it be resolved in another way?


eh?

Seemed pretty clear from the rules Kenny posted that the highest card of the top suit would always win the trick:

"Players must follow suit if able, and may slough if not. Whoever plays the highest card to a trick, without sloughing, wins the trick."

The following suit idea is cute, but without bidding or point-avoidance, the game is pretty much dead-on-arrival.

Hmm.
 
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Lacombe
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kvenosdel wrote:
I have two variations on scoring which equate to very different games


I'm not sure that Scoring A equates to a game at all, in fact.

Without bidding or point-cards, a no-trump game is dreadful.

B, on the other hand, is pretty interesting as a scoring idea.
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Also, I rather like "Sheesh!" as a name for a point-avoidance / trick-avoidance game [if you go that direction with the scoring].

It fits in nicely with Greg's "Gasp!". Maybe eventually we can have Decktet games named for all the common card-player complaints.

"Terrible Hand!" "Trash Trash Trash!" "AAUUUGH!" "PARTNER!?!"

Yes, I like this idea rather much.
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Richard Morris
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"Oh bugger" it is, then.
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P.D. Magnus
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Regarding your worry that the Decktet suffers from too much chaos - it depends on which games you are playing. Chicane plays out with quite a lot of control; there's a new version that adds trump, see rules in the Chicane forum. Double Knot is also a fairly precise trick-taking game.

Regarding the game:

What if someone leads a single-suited card? I guess everybody just has to follow that suit. This would mean that any Crown lead would unstoppably win the trick. An Ace lead could conceivably fail to lose the trick, if all other cards of that suit were played.

This makes the game less chaotic than Ace Trump (for example), but risks making it too deterministic (like the old version of Chicane).

Since top suits follow rank when beating the initial card, the asymmetry here will make high Moons especially powerful. The Crown of Knots, on the other hand, could never win a trick by following suit (except perhaps to the Ace).

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pmagnus wrote:
Regarding your worry that the Decktet suffers from too much chaos - it depends on which games you are playing. Chicane plays out with quite a lot of control; there's a new version that adds trump, see rules in the Chicane forum. Double Knot is also a fairly precise trick-taking game.


Of course, as I've argued elsewhere, both of these games take away the most interesting feature of the Decktet... that a card can simultaneously belong to two different suits.

They certainly have other twists that aren't possible without the Decktet, but when it gets right down to it, they're just straight-ahead games with asymmetrically long suits.
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P.D. Magnus
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NateStraight wrote:

They certainly have other twists that aren't possible without the Decktet, but when it gets right down to it, they're just straight-ahead games with asymmetrically long suits.


Once card play starts, that's certainly true of Chicane. The fact that you may have to declare a trump suit before knowing the direction of the asymmetry is what makes it interesting. This works out especially well in the four-player game with floating partners.

Sorry - I seem to have pirated the thread to be about my game. arrrh
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Daniël Muilwijk
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First of all, thank you for sharing your idea with us.

The second scoring option is indeed the best one and quite refreshing. I can't imagine whay kind of game play it would evoke, but the idea is nice.

The thing I'm not certain of though is this part:

Quote:
You may follow suit in one of two ways. [...], or play a lower ranked card that shares a suit with the bottom symbol.

I don't know whether this would add to the depth of the game. Low plays aren't really interesting (they aren't trick winners), so I don't know why this rule is needed. I guess that, in practice, when you lead you will only look at the top suit to determine which card you will play.

This makes me wonder, wouldn't this game be better with a normal deck of cards? You just have to follow suit, high card wins, and you have to work around the inventive scoring rules.
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Kenny VenOsdel
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Seabie wrote:
First of all, thank you for sharing your idea with us.

The second scoring option is indeed the best one and quite refreshing. I can't imagine whay kind of game play it would evoke, but the idea is nice.

The thing I'm not certain of though is this part:

Quote:
You may follow suit in one of two ways. [...], or play a lower ranked card that shares a suit with the bottom symbol.

I don't know whether this would add to the depth of the game. Low plays aren't really interesting (they aren't trick winners), so I don't know why this rule is needed. I guess that, in practice, when you lead you will only look at the top suit to determine which card you will play.

This makes me wonder, wouldn't this game be better with a normal deck of cards? You just have to follow suit, high card wins, and you have to work around the inventive scoring rules.


Actually the scoring idea started from a standard playing deck. Remember that even a standard deck of cards has "uninteresting" plays. If I have the king and 3 of hearts and you lead an ace my choices are pretty uninteresting.

Playing below wouldn't constitute a good interesting choice, it would be a forced move from someone elses better play. Now you try to minimize the damage if possible. However, if you need to simultaneously get and avoid points then the low cards do have some power.

I should have chose a different word than suffer since in many games the chaos is a good thing and what keeps the game fun.

On review I do agree that scoring a is to dull without bidding of since kind. I think "Sheesh" will be a point avoidance game.

As to the split between suns and moons (all tops and bottoms) I think that goes along well as a feature of this game. Yes the asymmetry is quirky, but the decktet in general is.

Overall I think a game like this would be more interesting with more players and more tricks. Thats the potential trouble I see with the reduced card count. With 4 it might be necessary to dunlop rules for the pawns and courts.



 
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Daniël Muilwijk
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But what is the added value of playing this game with the Decktet instead of with a normal deck?
 
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Lacombe
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kvenosdel wrote:
Overall I think a game like this would be more interesting with more players and more tricks. Thats the potential trouble I see with the reduced card count. With 4 it might be necessary to dunlop rules for the pawns and courts.


You might be right here.

Super-weird suggestion:

Pawns are super-low ranks, below Aces. Courts are super-high ranks, above Crowns.

When played to a trick, they restrict any further plays remaining in that trick.

If a Pawn is played to a trick, all further plays must follow [using the "lower rank" rule] the lower suit if possible. If the player has no low card to follow with, they may follow the high suit. Otherwise, they may throw off.

If a Court is played to a trick, all further plays must follow [using the "higher rank" rule] the higher suit if possible. If the player has no high card to follow with, they may follow the low suit. Otherwise, they may throw off.

If led, a Pawn may be declared to be any odd rank [from Ace to 9]; players may follow suit with any rank higher than that in the top suit, any rank lower than that in the low suit, and any rank in the middle suit.

If led, a Court may be declared to be any even rank [from Crown to 2]; players may follow suit with any rank higher than that in the top suit, any rank lower than that in the low suit, and any rank in the middle suit.

If a Pawn or Court is played to follow another Pawn or Court that was led, the middle suit is also "off limits".

If a Pawn or Court is played after another Pawn or Court which was not led, the most new effect takes over.
 
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Roger Meertens
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NateStraight wrote:
littlebrothertimmy wrote:
However, how do you solve the fact that people can choose? Who will win the trick when one person will go higher than the top suit and another one will go lower than the bottom suit? Will it be the card that's "furthest" away from the lead card (that's how I interpret this rule), or will it be resolved in another way?


eh?

Seemed pretty clear from the rules Kenny posted that the highest card of the top suit would always win the trick:

"Players must follow suit if able, and may slough if not. Whoever plays the highest card to a trick, without sloughing, wins the trick."

The following suit idea is cute, but without bidding or point-avoidance, the game is pretty much dead-on-arrival.

Hmm.


Well... first of all I have never heard of the term "sloughing" (never seen it used in gamerules and never learned it in school; I guess it's some kind of slang). So I guessed it meant that you weren't supposed to cheat (still don't know what it means; online dictionaries don't give a satisfactory answer).
Secondly I assumed that if you could choose which way you were going (higher or lower), there were two sides that could be considered as "high" (lowest number would be the "high end" of the low numbers)...
 
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littlebrothertimmy wrote:
Well... first of all I have never heard of the term "sloughing" (never seen it used in gamerules and never learned it in school; I guess it's some kind of slang). So I guessed it meant that you weren't supposed to cheat (still don't know what it means; online dictionaries don't give a satisfactory answer).


First: the basis of the word
First online dictionary I found wrote:
slough

verb /sləf/  
sloughed, past participle; sloughed, past tense; sloughing, present participle; sloughs, 3rd person singular present

(of an animal, esp. a snake, or a person) Cast off or shed (an old skin or dead skin)
- a snake sloughs off its old skin
- he is concerned to slough off the country's bad environmental image

(of dead skin) Drop off; be shed

Second: in context of card play
Some other online dictionary wrote:
(Pronounced: “Sluff”) If a player is void in the trick suit, he may play any other card. A player will often slough undesirable cards.
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Lacombe
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Seabie wrote:
But what is the added value of playing this game with the Decktet instead of with a normal deck?


Seems the benefit is this [let's assume the avoid-tricks-but-not-too-much scoring prevails]:

If it were a standard-deck game, the following-suit mechanic [obviously] wouldn't work.

What it adds to this game seems to be that you can control which low cards your opponents get to toss [the one's in the bottom suit, namely] at the same time as you are trying to stick them with taking a trick in a separate suit.

If you have other low cards in that suit, you might want to pull some of the even lower ones out so that you don't get stuck taking a trick with a middling-low card. The weird criss-crossing effect also prevents you from getting stuck in a long suit.
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Daniël Muilwijk
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I should take in acount more that you don't always want to get a trick. That was a little bit lost in my argument. Thank you for pointing that out.
 
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Here's another cute trick I just thought of:

In a typical point / trick avoidance game, you can "protect" a dangerous high card (say ace of spades in black lady hearts) by holding a lower ranked card in the same suit... That won't work here with anything resembling reliability, on account of this little suit following mechanic which the decktet allows.
 
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Daniël Muilwijk
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I guess there are less possibilities for protecting yourself, so I wonder how much control will be in the game. I have to play it though to get an answer to that question.
 
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Well I just discovered that you can pronounce slough in different ways for different meanings.

The slough (slow) of despond.
The snake sloughs (sluffs) off it's skin.

English is weird.
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timbledum wrote:
Well I just discovered that you can pronounce slough in different ways for different meanings.

The slough (slow) of despond.
The snake sloughs (sluffs) off it's skin.

English is weird.


Not to get too off-topic, but this may be an informative read.
 
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http://www-cdr.stanford.edu/intuition/Slough.html
 
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timbledum wrote:
Well I just discovered that you can pronounce slough in different ways for different meanings.

The slough (slow) of despond.
The snake sloughs (sluffs) off it's skin.

English is weird.


Quite frankly I'm not convinced it "can" be pronounced either way.

Thinking about it I like Slough better as a title. Fits with the mechanics, and other unpronounceable [Bharg] or ambiguous [Shed] Decktet titles.
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P.D. Magnus
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NateStraight wrote:
... unpronounceable [Bharg] ...


"Bharg" is perfectly well pronounceable.

Imagine you have been drinking too much and, as the innkeeper sounds last call, you step on the toes of a woodchuck barbarian. You avoid eye contact and mutter an apology, but he punches you in the gut. While you double over and throw up, you marvel at the force of that single punch. The sound you are making? Bharg is pronounced like that.
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