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Subject: Sell me on a trick-taking game. rss

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Tim
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I've oft been accused of hating euro games. But when I see a new euro game on the market I always give it a cursory overview to see if it does anything that interests me, and there have even been a few that I really enjoy.

What I really detest are trick taking games. I think I just have too many bad memories of playing Spades in school. I never knew how to bid (hence my other hatred of auction games?) and I hated having a partner who relied on my poor play. High school kids get MEAN when you make a stupid bid/play.

So, BGGers. Convince me that there are good trick taking games out there for someone who doesn't like trick-taking games.

Requirements:

Partnership games are a deal breaker. So everyone's beloved Tichu is out (I know, I know, it's a climbing game... semantics).

Theme and a custom deck of cards is a big plus. I'm a board game geek. I prefer to play with attractive specialty cards depicting spaceships, dragons, or even 16th century merchants.

There have been some interesting sounding games like TSCHAK!, and Chronicle (Z-Man games), but I can barely bring myself to read the back of the box once I see the words "Trick-taking".

Let's see what you folks come up with... and Thanks!
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Joe Huber

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The Bottle Imp. Definitely.

There's a theme that fits well with the mechanisms, no partners, and it's good with either 3 or 4.

Another good option for 3 is Schnäppchen Jagd...

I wouldn't recommend either TSCHAK! (not really a trick taking game, and not that interesting anyway) or Chronicle (lots of complexity in the play, making it a poor starting point).
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Scott Awesome
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Myth: Pantheons was interesting enough. I played it with Roy a few times. You should try it.
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Tim
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Thanks for the recommendations, Joe. Complexity (re: Chronicle) isn't necessarily a bad thing. My gaming group are all hard core gamers who are quite at home playing Eclipse or Agricola and the like, so it doesn't need to be particularly light or anything. And my favorite card games are RFTG and Glory to Rome, both of which have fairly steep learning curves as card games go.

I don't even know why I'm interested in finding a trick-taking game. It's not like I don't have plenty of great games to play already. I was enthralled by some discussion last week about an old game, Coup d'État, and I'm tired of picking up a box that looks interesting, reading the word "trick" and shelving it without any further inspection. I guess I figure if I can find one trick-taking game that I enjoy, it might open the door to others.
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Brian Bankler
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No sale. They aren't for you.

I do think you'll respect The Bottle Imp, since it's a semi-hybrid and has great theme. I don't know if you'll like it. I personally think it's a stretch to call it trick taking, since trumps are variable, but that's my personal pedantry).

I could be talked into playing 99 (http://www.pagat.com/exact/99.html), which just requires a deck of cards. It's a clever little game, no teams.
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George Parker
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huber wrote:
The Bottle Imp. Definitely.


thumbsup The Bottle Imp

However, I think the art on the cards is bad. But don't let that stop you from trying the game. Every time I introduce it I hear snide comments about the artwork on the cards, but they soon overcome that and really enjoy the game. Good luck!
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Rich Shipley
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I don't like trick taking games in general either, but Atlantic Storm and Pacific Typhoon are very good with lots of theme. There is an element of cooperation, but who you are cooperating with can change each round.
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Tim
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Bankler wrote:
No sale. They aren't for you.

I do think you'll respect The Bottle Imp, since it's a semi-hybrid and has great theme. I don't know if you'll like it. I personally think it's a stretch to call it trick taking, since trumps are variable, but that's my personal pedantry).

I could be talked into playing 99 (http://www.pagat.com/exact/99.html), which just requires a deck of cards. It's a clever little game, no teams.


Bankler has known me for over two years, so he's probably right in his assessment. I'm still interested to hear what sort of recommendations we would give to me, or someone like me, about these games for people who are predisposed to dislike them.
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Moe45673
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whistle
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Tim
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Moe45673 wrote:


whistle


Played at BGG.CON last year. Didn't care for it. Didn't hate it, just didn't do it for me. Thanks for the input, though.
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Manchuwok
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thumbsdown The Bottle Imp

I love trick taking games, and detest that one with a passion.
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Sick with hatred, sick with pain, / Strangling -- When shall we be slain? // When shall I be dead and rid / Of the wrong my father did? / How long, how long, till spade and hearse / Puts to sleep my mother's curse?
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My favorite card game, and it features bidding and trick taking. It's a 3 player game, with a team of 2 against 1, but which 2 will be continually changing: Skat
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Dave C.
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Alright, I know I'm violating the rules because this is a card only game with standard playing cards - but I think you owe it to yourself to try Pitch (aka High, Low, Jack). Simple rules but GREAT gameplay, easy bidding, partners optional. It's a GREAT game. Good luck!

[geekurl=http://www.pagat.com/allfours/pitch.html][/geekurl]



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Duncan Anderson
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This is by far my favorite "trick taking" game. It's got a funny retro Sci-Fi theme, interesting decisions, and lots of replayability. Seeing your enjoyment of Party Games like Werewolf and Pit, I think that there's definitely some interesting bluffing elements you'll enjoy and it's light enough that it can definitely be pulled out at parties.

It certainly blurs the line between trick taking and bidding, but it's an awesome game and a comfortable transition for friends that might be more familiar with Spades or Hearts.
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Tim
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Wobbles wrote:


This is by far my favorite "trick taking" game. It's got a funny retro Sci-Fi theme, interesting decisions, and lots of replayability. Seeing your enjoyment of Party Games like Werewolf and Pit, I think that there's definitely some interesting bluffing elements you'll enjoy and it's light enough that it can definitely be pulled out at parties.

It certainly blurs the line between trick taking and bidding, but it's an awesome game and a comfortable transition for friends that might be more familiar with Spades or Hearts.


Shame. I once saw this in the bargain bin at a local store that deals mostly in Magic. I guess they had it because of the Garfield name, but it didn't appeal to their audience. I remember just taking a quick glance at the game page from my phone and then passing. I wonder if it's still sitting there.
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Sam Collard
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I'm very partial to Arcana, which has a lot of (indirect) theme and some interesting mechanics. Though it is strictly a hybrid trick taking/deck building game, it's never really felt quite like either of them to me. Might be worth a shot.
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Shawn Fox
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The Mu game which is part of Mü & More is a good five player trick taking game. You do have partners but partners are different each round. Each player bids to be the Chief who gets to pick the top trump (which can be one of 5 colors or a number 1 through 9). The player who bid the second most is the Vice and gets to pick the secondary trump (same rules, can be a color or a number). The Chief then picks a partner from among the 3 remaining players (not the Vice) so it is now 2 vs. 3.

The bidding is done by putting cards down in front of you, whoever plays out the most cards is the Chief, the 2nd most is the Vice. Much better game than Tichu in my opinion although it requires 5 to work well (which is also a big plus for Mu since most other trick taking games require 4 players). It is also each player for themselves since only one can win in the end, there aren't any teams just temporary alliances each round.

Scoring is somewhat complicated as it is based on looking up your bid in a provided chart to see how many points you need based off how many cards you bid. Each card has a value (0, 1, or 2 points). All of the 7 cards have 2 points on them, all of the 9 cards have 0 points, etc. If you get the required number of points your score increases by the value shown in the provided chart.

Anyway, it is a nice trick taking variant where one player wins and it works with 5 instead of 4. To me it is a must have for any group that likes trick taking games since it works with 5 players. There is no theme to it and it involves partners (sort of) so maybe not exactly what you are asking for, but just thought I'd throw it out there.
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Remus Rhymus
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Haggis is a climbing game similar to Tichu, but no partnerships. For 2 - 3 players. No theme (but the cards are nice) and minor bidding. Bidding is simply a 15 or 30 point bid that you will go out (deplenish all your cards) first.
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Tom
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Stichlen
Chronicle

Both require a sense of humor, can get mean (should be played this way) and take a bit to wrap your mind around the game. Late night tequila fueled games of Stichlen are classic with many humorous tales of epic games making people scream in both delight and frustration.
Wizard

Some of the other games are ladder games...Haggis is a great game but it is not a trick taking game in the strictest sense. However, I would still recommend Haggis.
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manchuwok wrote:
thumbsdown The Bottle Imp

I love trick taking games, and detest that one with a passion.


Me too. "Oh, you were passed the 1 and the 2? You're not getting out of that one..."
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Dave Wilson
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While I'll acknowledge that it doesn't have a themed deck, I do think that Rage is a good choice for an introduction to trick-taking. It's a proprietary version of the public domain game Oh Hell!. Basic game play is the same between the two. Rage adds special cards that increase the chaos some: they can mess with trump during the trick, or simply add (or subtract!) five points from someone's score. It's not partnership. It can get a little mean, especially Rage, with it's trump manipulation (it is called Rage, after all ).

So I guess I'd suggest either Oh Hell or Rage, depending on whether you want that extra chaos or not.
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Michael Stone
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I love hearts, Spades, Penochle, and Euchre but my favorite trick taking game of all time is pitch, the cool thing about pitch is you can vary the number of players and it can be partners or call for your partner, there are also variable point scales 10 and 13 point pitch. I love to play 5 or 6 player call for your partner pitch. I could play it 99 times in a row and still have room for another 60 games.
 
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Zheng Fen

Pros: No bidding, no partners, plays well with 3 people, 15 minutes to get the hang of it.

Cons: standard card deck. sorry. (I view this as a plus, personally)

 
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Bill Eldard
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tofarley wrote:
What I really detest are trick taking games. I think I just have too many bad memories of playing Spades in school. I never knew how to bid (hence my other hatred of auction games?) and I hated having a partner who relied on my poor play. High school kids get MEAN when you make a stupid bid/play.

So, BGGers. Convince me that there are good trick taking games out there for someone who doesn't like trick-taking games.


There aren't any.

What other types of games do you like?
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Karl von Laudermann
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Well, since you already ruled out Tichu, which is my favorite trick-taking game, I'll suggest my second favorite: Reiner Knizia's Too Many Cooks. No partnerships, and it's absolutely dripping with theme: you represent soup chefs, putting ingredients into a pot. The card suits are chili peppers, mushrooms, peas, and onions. That is, French onions, wearing berets.
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