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Subject: Seeking advice about trick-taking games rss

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Ralph B
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I apologize that this is not specifically a post about bridge, but I don't know of a way of posting a general card game question in BGG.

I'm interested in taking up a trick-taking card game and I'm looking for advice.

In the distant past, I've play Pitch and Hearts, and bridge-playing friends have given me an overview of bridge, although I have never played it.

What I'm looking for is not a description of rules or mechanics of trick-taking games, but rather: What types of people are attracted to the various types of trick-taking games. For example, which games are simple, complex, which appeal to competitive people, which are social games, etc.

I'm looking for a game that is social and which is more complicated than Pitch but not as complicated as bridge.

I would prefer a game that does encourage cut-through tactics, if that makes sense.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
 
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Colleen
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I recommend Mü & More or Tichu. Both are great, easy to learn and lots of strategy.
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reviewboy wrote:
I'm looking for a game that is social and which is more complicated than Pitch but not as complicated as bridge.

A couple of my favorites:
Ninety-nine - An exact bid trick-taking game for 3-4.
Fight the Landlord - A climbing/shedding game for 3, variable partnership vs soloist.

Both are in the same weight class as Pitch. Both are played with a standard deck.
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George Leach
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Except that Tichu is not a trick-taking game, but a climbing game.

A trick taking game involves a single card played by each player the winner being determined by the highest card of trumps or if there are no trumps then the led suit. The aim is to win as many tricks as possible.

A climbing game involves players opting whether to play a number of cards matching the opening pattern and will continue around the table until all players opt not to play any more cards. The aim of the game being to void their hand first. If everyone opts not to play any cards the cards so far played are, in some climbing games (very few in fact), won by the last player to play in that round.

Very few trick-taking games have a large enough community of players who identify themselves as an "xyz"-players to confidently make any prediction as to what sort of players are attracted to any given game.

There seem to be distinct groups attracted to the various forms of Bridge though I wouldn't feel confident in singling them out.

Furthermore, how many players are you likely to want to play with? Trick takers tend to have very specific numbers that work best.

I'm a big fan of depth in my games so take the following with that in mind. Some of my favourite trick-takers are:

WYSIWYG - best with two
The Bottle Imp - best with three
500 - best with three
Ninety-Nine - best with three
Hearts - best with four
Mu - best with five
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Ralph B
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Colleens, LurkeingMeeple, Jugular, thank you very much for the recommendations.

I had not heard of any of these games that you mentioned, so I'll investigate them.

Jugular, I didn't mention the number of players I want to play with, because I'm open to different numbers.
 
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Ben Bateson
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+1 for Ninety-Nine. It's permanently part of my Top 10.

Although I would start by playing Oh Hell, an excellent game in its own right, which will help you get some basic strategy down before attacking Ninety-Nine.
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Todd Redden
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The most interesting and social trick taking game I think is FOUR DRAGONS originally published as Dia de los Muertos. It has an unusual restriction on playing different card colors (suits) by each player. Cards have variable effects, kind of like Tichu yet very different. The winning condition is sets of certain cards taken over several hands. Try it. It does require exactly 4 players in pairs, like bridge.

My very favorite 3-player game period is Flaschenteufel, another very different trick taker.
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Colleen
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Mu scales quite nicely with 4, 5, or 6 players.
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Tim Koppang
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Most trick-taking games, even Bridge, are played socially by some people. Others prefer to play more seriously. Whether social or serious, it depends more on the people than the game. That said, certain games have the depth and/or complexity to attract serious players. Bridge is a good example.

You said you are new to trick-taking games. Will you be learning with an expereienced group, or with other new players? If the former, then I suggest letting the experienced group teach you their game. They can show you the ropes and give you pointers on how to play well. I have also found that when learning from experienced players, you can pick up a more complicated game more quickly. When you are learning on your own, it's best to start with less complex rules (e.g., German Whist or Spades). These "basic" games are lots of fun, provide plenty of opportunity for serious or social play, and give you a solid foundation if you decide to try other trick-taking games.

One thing worth considering is whether you would prefer to play with a partner or on your own. I find that people tend to have a fairly strong preference one way or the other. That would certainly affect my recommendations for you.

Finally, if you don't mind learning a point-trick game, I would steer you towards Pinochle. I'm from the midwest, and Pinochle is the game of choice around here for people who want something a bit more complicated, but not so serious as Bridge.* Depending on your preferences, there is a version for three (solo) or four (partnership).



* Unless you are from certain parts of Wisconsin, in which case you probably play five-player Sheepshead.
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Craig Duncan
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(On the question of where to post queries like this, note that there is a card players guild on BGG: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/1259.)

Oh Hell! is one of my favorite trick taking games, along with hearts and spades. One nice thing about Oh Hell! is it scales well from 3-6 players (and even 7 players at a push, but then it is quite chaotic).

For a more strategic version of Oh Hell! for four players, I highly, highly recommend playing Israeli Whist.

For three players, 99 is a good variation on Oh Hell!, as others have noted.

Then there are commercial variations on Oh Hell! such as Wizard and Sluff Off!. The latter in particular is a fun twist on Oh Hell!

Other regular deck trick-taking games worth trying = Pitch, [thread=euchre]Euchre[/thread], and Nap (rules on www.pagat.com).

Another popular commercial trick-taking game is Sticheln. Conventional wisdom has it that this game is best with 3-4 players.

Jugular wrote:

I'm a big fan of depth in my games so take the following with that in mind. Some of my favourite trick-takers are:

WYSIWYG - best with two
The Bottle Imp - best with three
500 - best with three
Ninety-Nine - best with three
Hearts - best with four
Mu - best with five


George, I'm curious:

What do you think the best trick-taking game for 6 people is? Mu, maybe? What about the best regular card deck game, in your opinion?

Oh Hell! is our standard game with 6. I've tried Pitch with 6 and it's OK, but not as fun as Oh Hell! in my opinion. I've been meaning to try Cancellation Hearts (a google search will turn up rules for this) with two decks and 6 people but I haven't found the occasion yet.
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Karl Schmit
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reviewboy wrote:
I would prefer a game that does encourage cut-through tactics, if that makes sense.

Check out Doppelkopf. It has variable, semi-hidden partnerships and the opportunity to increase the stakes of a hand as you go.

http://www.sheepshead.org/doppelkopf.cfm has all of the rules.
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nikolaos Kamoudis
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Check also this cool new game Creekos: The Card Game
You can try it and online http://creekos.com/index.php?lang=en
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Ralph B
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Thanks everyone! You have given me a lot to think about and research.

TimK, so answer some of your questions....

I'm not yet sure whether I'll be learning on my own or with experienced players. I have only just started looking around in my area to see if I can find others who play trick-taking games. I know that I can easy find bridge players, but I don't want to take on bridge at this time (maybe later), since it has been quite awhile since I have played cards.

I have a local friend for board games, and she also likes card games, so at the moment I think she and I will give WYSIWYG a try.

If I like WYSIWYG, I'm sure I'll branch out and try some of the games that scale up to more players.

I prefer to play with a partner to playing on my own. I play a few board games solitaire, but I much prefer to play with others, and I am fortunate to work at a large company where there are lots of possible game partners.

All of the games that you folks have recommended sound like great suggestions!

Craig, thanks for pointing out the guild. I'll check out that link.

Thanks again, everyone. You've been very helpful.

Ralph
 
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Tim Koppang
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reviewboy wrote:
I prefer to play with a partner to playing on my own. I play a few board games solitaire, but I much prefer to play with others...

Just to be clear, Ralph, I didn't mean solitaire games. I simply meant games where you play for yourself rather than as part of a team.

In any case, I'm happy to hear you have a direction to take.
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Todd Redden
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tckoppang wrote:
reviewboy wrote:
I prefer to play with a partner to playing on my own. I play a few board games solitaire, but I much prefer to play with others...

Just to be clear, Ralph, I didn't mean solitaire games. I simply meant games where you play for yourself rather than as part of a team.

In any case, I'm happy to hear you have a direction to take.

The term used in card play is "cut-throat".
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Ralph B
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Tim, thanks for clarifying. I guess my ignorance is showing....
 
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Ralph B
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Todd, I knew that, but I apparently had a brain-fingers disconnect. Thanks for the correction.
 
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Tim Koppang
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tmredden wrote:
The term used in card play is "cut-throat".

True, and a good point. Depending on where you are, and what game you are talking about, people also call them "alliance" games or "solo" games. Anyway, you get the picture.
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George Leach
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cdunc123 wrote:

Jugular wrote:

I'm a big fan of depth in my games so take the following with that in mind. Some of my favourite trick-takers are:

WYSIWYG - best with two
The Bottle Imp - best with three
500 - best with three
Ninety-Nine - best with three
Hearts - best with four
Mu - best with five


George, I'm curious:

What do you think the best trick-taking game for 6 people is? Mu, maybe? What about the best regular card deck game, in your opinion?

Oh Hell! is our standard game with 6. I've tried Pitch with 6 and it's OK, but not as fun as Oh Hell! in my opinion. I've been meaning to try Cancellation Hearts (a google search will turn up rules for this) with two decks and 6 people but I haven't found the occasion yet.


6 players is starting to get too many for a good deep game of any sort in my opinion. Mu may play well with that many but I've never tried it at that number. So I'd either go light (Indian Chief, Ligretto) or social (The Resistance). The Resistance can be a brain burner with the right groups and I think it's most forgiving, and therefore accessible with 6-8 players.
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Tim Koppang
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Jugular wrote:
6 players is starting to get too many for a good deep game of any sort in my opinion. Mu may play well with that many but I've never tried it at that number. So I'd either go light (Indian Chief, Ligretto) or social (The Resistance). The Resistance can be a brain burner with the right groups and I think it's most forgiving, and therefore accessible with 6-8 players.

I agree. Six players is a lot. However, none of the games you suggest are trick-taking games.
 
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George Leach
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Sorry to not be clear I would try Mu as a trick-taking game but otherwise I wouldn't even try another trick-taking game for 6 unless I saw a recommendation suggesting it had some depth.
 
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just a plug for 42 a partnership trick taking game that is the national game of Texas...using dominos. If you want some quirky but is definitely a legit trick taking game, though not at Bridge level of fanatcism, this is a great game.

As for some of the initial responses, I too love climbing games, but they aren't trick taking games, though close enough that if you are just looking for good traditional card games that are trick taking ish then yeah, they are definitely worth checking out. I'll do my usual plug for Tien Len which is a favorite game among vietnamese and a good clean elegant climbing game, though its maybe a bit lighter than what you are looking for.
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Todd Redden
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aaarg_ink wrote:
just a plug for 42 a partnership trick taking game that is the national game of Texas...using dominos. If you want some quirky but is definitely a legit trick taking game, though not at Bridge level of fanatcism, this is a great game.

As for some of the initial responses, I too love climbing games, but they aren't trick taking games, though close enough that if you are just looking for good traditional card games that are trick taking ish then yeah, they are definitely worth checking out. I'll do my usual plug for Tien Len which is a favorite game among vietnamese and a good clean elegant climbing game, though its maybe a bit lighter than what you are looking for.

42 is a favorite of mine also, but is definitely a "dominoes" game, which - as dominoes certainly exist in deck form - certainly qualifies as a trick taking card game! I'm still standing by my two favorites: Four Dragons and Flaschenteufel. I'm surprised nobody else chimed in on those.
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Craig Duncan
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Readers of this thread might be interested in this post I made in the card players' guild. It asks people to recommend their favorite regular deck card game for 6 or more players. It was inspired by my queries on this thread on that subject:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/815938/best-regular-deck...
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Ralph B
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George, a friend, an experienced tournament bridge player, and I played WYSIWYG for the first time yesterday, and we liked it a lot.

It will be fun developing the competent strategies required to bid and play hands.

Thank you again for the recommendation!

I'm also going to try out some of the other recommendations. Probably, Ninety-Nine is next.
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