With barely a half hour left in 2011 five hardy gamers all wanted (were willing to play) a deduction game. Due to the hour Deduce or Die did not feel like the best choice, and Black Vienna was suggested.
None of us had played Black Vienna before.
We had cards (decks of 27 and 36 cards) and some of thoia's watermarked deduction sheets . We grabbed exactly 40 assorted food, wood, stone, and gold cubes from Caylus Magna Carta and we were off.
[note to the reader, if retracing our steps, the food and gold cubes had better contrast and visibility than the stone and wood cubes. stick with yellow and pink over brown and silver.]
[another note to the reader if playing a note-taking game with two johns and two kevins, be very, very, careful setting up your sheet. more on this later.]
Our dealer received one lees card, and slid the "FRX" inquiry in front of me, which received one alibi cube (a gold started us off).
At this point we made our first rules transgression, so I'll digress a bit. As experienced Deduce or Die players we all knew how important it is to be accurate in responses. Having heard the Black Vienna reputation of rarely being played to completion in person due to user error, we were determined to not be a part of that unfortunate statistic. So we agreed on two stipulations:
1-always look at your actual hand, not your notes, before responding to a question
2-if two players desire to accuse simultaneously the one who has both declared and has his accusation written down first will be processed first.
Our first rule violation? I did not ask the next question, we asked questions clockwise. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
After 6 questions had been asked there were a few empty interrogation cards scattered around the table. We decided to play special interrogations as "instead" rather than "in addition to". Was this our second rules violation? We do not know.
Unfortunately for me I was play-testing my Black Vienna deduction sheet with my first play of the game. Others using my sheet had success, but I just wasn't making progress.
Around 20 questions in, the grumbles started about deductions not being logical, and perhaps someone (else) had erred in some of their responses. At each sign of concern we rechecked our answers, which is easy for the ones still face up, but harder for the ones that were blanked initially, and then shifted. I was recording the responses, so I was able to assist.
First one player, then a second crumpled up their deduction sheet and requested a new one. I was worried I was too far behind, as I had not yet reached the point where I needed top restart anew as well. Luckily I set up my sheet of opponents clockwise around the table, so I do not think I recorded anything in the wrong place. I just was not deducing fast enough.
As play progressed we noticed both kevins were allergic to cubes. One waited for his fourth question to deposit a cube in front of them, and the other waited for his sixth question. They both insisted they were being as helpful as they could.
After 40 questions had been asked (eight full rounds) the dealer slid a question card infront of me, and I sensed at least two sharks looking at the card as if it was dinner. I reached out and grabbed three cubes so neither of them got information from the lift. I then provided the simultaneous information by placing one cube on the card, generating two immediate cries of "accusation".
I looked at my sheet in dismay, I knew barely anything about their hands, and these two opponents each might have solved the Black Vienna. I'll scan and upload the sheets, then link them after approval.
Here we committed our second or third rules transgression. Neither accuser had knocked three times on the table (or the ceiling, either). One accuser turned his sheet over, wrote three letters, circled them, and covered the circle with his hand. He was clearly first, except for the missing knocks.
The second accuser had turned his sheet right-side-up, and was still marking the three letters. By our stipulation, he was not first.
The lovely city of Vienna was safe again for normal people, as the evil trio GKZ was exposed, arrested, tried, convicted, and banished back into the box with the other 24 innocent citizens. Defamation lawsuits were immediately filed on behalf of 19 bystanders who had been caught up in the round-up.
Luckily, Austria does not have so many lawyers and such silly laws that would permit these suits to go forward. As the lawsuits were dismissed, the lawyers were quietly booking their next working cruise, just in case a Deduce or Die game might break out.
Here is the winner's deduction sheet (accusation pasted from reverse side)
Here's how far behind I was: