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Subject: The strategic depth of trick-taking games rss

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I am looking for card games with simple rules but have very deep gameplay. I have recently set my sights on trick taking games. I usually prefer 2 player confrintational games, but sadly trick-taking games are usually for 3 players and above. Anyway, that doesn't matter. I made this thread so that I can try and understand how deep are most trick-taking games. Please note that I am not an avid gamer, and my experience with games are quite limited, so plaese bear with me.

Firstly, does trick-taking games have "yomi"? I am sure many of you have heard of the card game Yomi, which is basically a card version of street fighter combat. "Yomi" basically means that, if you can know what your opponent is trying to do, you can do something to counter them. For example, in rock-paper-scissors terms, lets say I have a "rock" move that is very good, and I want to do that all the time. Now you know that I like to do the "rock" move, so you counter by playing "paper". But what if I know that you know that I like to play "rock", and that you will play "paper" to counter me? In that case, I will play "scissors" to counter you. But what if you know that I will play scissors? Then you will play rock to defeat me. And what if I also know that........ You get the point. This then becomes a rather complex guessing game.

Another example of "yomi" is in Magic the Gathering:
There's a spell that gives a creature +3/+3. I have a X/3 creature I really want to hold onto. my opponent attacks with a 2/2 creature, and have enough mana to cast the +3/+3 spell. My opponent can choose to cast it after I declare a block. Should I block him?

There you go. In this case, you are actually guesing if your opponent has that +3/+3 spell. You will have to make educated guess about whether he has that spell by recalling what he previously played, or perhaps what deck is he playing (perhaps he is playing a particular deck which normally have a certain amount of that card in the deck...) or even his mind set (perhaps he is a player who doesn't like to take risk, or maybe he is easy to bluff...)

Another example is quite simple, which is from Yugioh:
You have 3 powerfull monster in play and all of them are in attack position. Your opponent has nothing on the field. Your opponent then play a face down magic/trap card and end his turn. Now it is your turn, should you attack?

In this case you are also doing what I just talked about in the MTG example. You are now trying to make educated guesses. Will that card be a mirror force (if my memory serves me well, this card destroys all your face up attacking position monsters) or will it be a bluff?

So now, do trick-taking games have this sort of "yomi" or perhaps, I call it "mental warfare"?

The next question is, how often do you try to read what your opponent have in their hand when playing trick-taking games?

And lastly, I would like you guys to recommend me a trick taking game that is beginner friendly. It doesn't need to be a two-player game, although it will be a plus if it is a 2 player game.

Thanks.
 
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Kaiwen Zhang
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tichu does.

not only does it have yomi against your opponent, eg. you anticipate the opponent to play the phoenix as part of a set and react accordingly.

it has the added dimension of yomi with your partner, eg. correctly evaluating the current state of your partner and playing correctly
 
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I haven't play Tichu.

How do you yomi your opponent in Tichu? Is there some kind of guessing or is it just reacting if your opponent play the pheonix?
 
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Peter Asimakis
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Triumvirate.
Sixty-six (Schnapsen).
Perhaps a little difficult for beginners but if you can work your way up to them it is well worth the effort.
Both excellent 2 player trick takers.
PLB.
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Adrian V.
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I'm only familiar with different traditional trick taking games (and excited about!), so I can't really say much about newer ones. Anyway, they are all not very "yomi", if I understood you correctly.

Usually, there is a solo player (the player with the strongest hand) who acts , or sometimes a team of players. All other players can only react. Given perfect play of the solo player, there is nothing the others can do to counter his play. Only luck will help.

The main tasks in all traditional trick taking games are to
a) evaluate your hand properly ( --> can you play solo?)
b) then make an educated guess of the cards in your opponents' hands
c) play your cards in the best order

Bluffing can help on occasions, but that requires some experience with the respective game, of course.

I can't think of a really fun 2-player trick taking game, but Schnapsen might do it.
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Kaiwen Zhang
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CCGer wrote:
I haven't play Tichu.

How do you yomi your opponent in Tichu? Is there some kind of guessing or is it just reacting if your opponent play the pheonix?


yomi implies guessing.

due to the way the play progresses, you realize, from the behavior of the opponent, that s/he intends to play phoenix as part of a combination and not as a single card. this allows you to play aces as winners once the dragon is out. but the opponent might be trying to trick you, in which case you shouldn't assume aces are high after dragon. this type of circular reasoning is the essence of yomi.

I agree that triumvirate contains yomi as well.
 
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What about Panzerknacker's claim that in traditional trick-taking games, there is this solo player who can't be defeated?
 
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Adrian V.
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CCGer wrote:
What about Panzerknacker's claim that in traditional trick-taking games, there is this solo player who can't be defeated?

In theory. In practice, it's often not that simple, of course. Guaranteed undefeatable hands are rather rare, and even very experienced players do make mistakes from time to time. Finally, depending on the specific game, there is a certain amount of randomness.

However, it's indeed an issue that some games feel like playing in auto mode. That's where bidding and scoring levels for taking higher risks come into play.

As a general comment: I do not think that traditional trick taking games, or traditional card games in general, are inherently superior to CCGs or more recent games. Their strength lies in their popularity among people. If I hadn't grown up playing those games, I don't believe I personally could develop real compassion for them.
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Panzerknacker wrote:
CCGer wrote:
What about Panzerknacker's claim that in traditional trick-taking games, there is this solo player who can't be defeated?

In theory. In practice, it's often not that simple, of course. Guaranteed undefeatable hands are rather rare, and even very experienced players do make mistakes from time to time. Finally, depending on the specific game, there is a certain amount of randomness.

However, it's indeed an issue that some games feel like playing in auto mode. That's where bidding and scoring levels for taking higher risks come into play.

As a general comment: I do not think that traditional trick taking games, or traditional card games in general, are inherently superior to CCGs or more recent games. Their strength lies in their popularity among people. If I hadn't grown up playing those games, I don't believe I personally could develop real compassion for them.


I am not trying to say that CCGs are superior to traditional games or any thing like that. I am just trying to look for games with more "yomi" to help me with my game designs. So far, only Yomi card game fits my condition well. It will be very unfortunate if the only way to test yomi is via rock-paper-scissors alone. So, I will keep searching...

Anyway, you said that even experienced player makes mistakes. But, are those mistakes results of failure to read your opponent's hand? Or is it just plain carelessness like doing a sum wrongly in your math test?
 
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David
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I don't know too many trick taking games. The one I'm most familiar is Jass so I'll be trying to explain what Panzerknacker meant using this game (specifically the Schieber variant) - it might even be the same he had in mind.

This is a 2vs2 game with partners sitting across each other. In each round one player has to choose a trump. This privilege goes from one player to the next with each round.

The starting player can choose:
* A trump suit
* Top-down
* Bottom-up
* depending on the group some special trumps
* or to "Schieben" ie. make his partner choose a trump

Making that decision is mostly a matter of evaluating your own hand. Judging how well you could lead any given trump yourself (in case your partner has nothing) and how many points you're likely to get out of it. If you've got a good hand for a valuable trump (each trump has a multiplier from 1 up to 4) you're probably going to choose yourself and hope your partner can support you.

The interesting part starts when you realize you do not have a good hand or it is for a low value trump. Because an almost perfect play x1 often is worth less than a medium play times 2 or 3. So you'll probably hand that choice to your partner who must choose a trump but you'll still have to lead the first trick. So his choice has a lot of yomi. Not only will he have to evaluate his hand but he also has to take into account that you apparently don't have a leading hand yourself but still will have to make an opening move. If the partner has all aces but very little beyond that he can still make a top-down trump and be sure to grab the lead. But if he lacks one suit and he starting player opens with one of those the opposing team might easily decide the round for them.

So to sum it up. In Jass your ideal situation is if you or your partner has a good hand. A team of experienced players can often turn that into a (almost) perfect round. But when you don't have that great hand you'll have to work together much more and learn to "listen" to each other's plays. But once a trump is chosen most of it is tracking cards and making educated guesses about what cards are where.

I think if you want that Yomi aspect in the extreme you're better off with games like Citadels, Lost Temple, Hoity Toity, Get Bit! which are all about that kind of thinking. But if you're looking for something not quite so intense you should be able to find that with trick taking games. Was sticht? and Wizard would be some examples I recommend you to check out.

EDIT: As for making mistakes. In Jass you only play 9 tricks (4 suits by 9 cards). If the trumps are distributed well they can be gone in 3 tricks leaving the majority of the round to be played with the remaining 3 suits. Tracking all those cards is difficult. Tracking who played (or more importantly did not play) those cards even more so. Since you're expected to keep the game at a reasonable pace errors and oversights are unavoidable. But that has less to do with reading the other players but simply with how much information you can take in so little time.
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There are a lot of trick-taking games with strategic depth. Your "yomi" concept has nothing to do with strategic depth. What are you actually looking for?

A game like Turn the Tide might suit you well, or especially something like Ziegen Kriegen where you have to guess whether your opponents are aiming high or low.

For that matter, the old standby Hearts might serve you well; guessing whether an opponent is trying to shoot the moon is a huge part of playing well.
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Adrian V.
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CCGer wrote:
I am not trying to say that CCGs are superior to traditional games or any thing like that.

Oh, I didn't want to imply that either.

CCGer wrote:

Anyway, you said that even experienced player makes mistakes. But, are those mistakes results of failure to read your opponent's hand? Or is it just plain carelessness like doing a sum wrongly in your math test?

Usually, the first and probably more decisive mistake happens in the misevaluation of the own hand (solo player/solo team). However, you can no doubt also misread your opponents hand, usually as a result of not paying attention, but also as a result of a bluff (in some games at least). It's always important to catch the big points, and if you miss a key card like a high trump, it may well result in the loss of those big points and lead to am unnecessary defeat.
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If you want to try something interesting, take a look at Ra. It is not a card game and has been billed as an auction game, but there are convincing arguments that it is really more of a trick-taking game.

You certainly have to try and pressure and manipulate your opponents based on what tiles (cards, if you like) they have left and what you can get away with.

As was mentioned above, sometimes you lead strongly such that you cannot lose the "trick." Other times, your tile is weak but might win the trick based on the stakes. You have to gauge what "card" you opponents are willing to play.

It's open information, so you don't have to guess what they have.

So, if you are doing this research to gather information on design, Ra might be an interesting stop for you.

Good luck.

Kevin
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for a couple 2P traditional cardgames not already mentioned, there is the trick taking game Pitch and non-trick taking Gin Rummy which might have some of this yomi you speak of.

Otherwise there's poker.

I don't think traditional card games have the "suprise" upon "suprise" + combo style of gameplay that CCG's do. If that's what you want to study, I'd say just study a wide range of CCG's and LCG's.

For a 3P or 4P game you might try Tien Len unlike many climbing games, if you pass you are out of the round...so there are moments where you have to make a tough decision to break up your hand to prevent an opponent from possibly going out super fast. And also the bombs only go over 2's (the high card) so sometimes if someone plays an Ace, you have to wonder if they are setting you up for a bomb.....

If you want a pure bluffing (not yomi) game check out Skull (not a traditional game but easily played with a traditional deck).

Also not a traditional deck but I've heard by a few BGGers is worth checking out is Indian Chief

And of course go visit pagat.com its got all the rules you can handle there.
 
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In my personal opinion, trick-taking games with two players are not particularly deep. For example, the two-player trick-taking game with a single suit has been solved.

Trick-taking games excel as four-player games in two-man teams. The team setting brings the dimension of playing in harmony with your partner. It also allows some tactical things not present in non-partership play. (See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squeeze_play_%28bridge%29 )
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Sluff Off! is interesting in that it adds a Saboteur to screw your plans up (I guess you could see this as Yomi).

You could also look at Chronicle which uses special cards to mess people around.

I also quite like The Bottle Imp which has alternate rules for 2.
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Ben Bateson
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It's not a trick taking game (although the hand-management aspect is similar), and it's not easily available, but I think you'd really enjoy Blue Moon if you got your hands on a copy.
 
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Steve Russell
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Strategic depth in these traditional trick taking games in this order (ascending)

Euchre
Pinochle
Spades
Rook
Hearts



Bridge


I separated Bridge from the pack because it's the epitome of card games.
 
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David

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Is yomi something real or is it just being used to how players you know play?

If it's something real, there are many games where there are certain approaches to blocking a certain victory method. Robbering someone's wood/brick source in Catan if you want to deny them longest route. Taking the council route to try and hoard the 6 cost violet cards for x,y,z bonus vp in San Juan. Blocking routes in Ticket. Eruptions in Tuluva. Taking key pieces or positions for blocking certain chess gambits.

I haven't played many games that involve what I would consider mental warfare other than Intrigue, Diplomacy, and Spades.
 
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theatre steve wrote:
Strategic depth in these traditional trick taking games in this order (ascending)

Euchre
Pinochle
Spades
Rook
Hearts



Bridge


I separated Bridge from the pack because it's the epitome of card games.


Hmm...I remember both Euchre and Pinochle feeling quite
lacking in depth. I've always been more of a bridge player,
but Oh Hell, Spades, Hearts, Pitch, 500 (NOT rummy - the trick taking
game) and even Tri-Corner Rat F**K seem to have more than the
heavy luck-based feel I got from Euchre and Pinochle (and yes,
I do fine in them - this isn't grousing).

A trick taking game without much real depth, but some nice variance,
is Guillotine. The selection method ends up with it being largely
luck though.
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David

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theatre steve wrote:
Strategic depth in these traditional trick taking games in this order (ascending)

Euchre
Pinochle
Spades
Rook
Hearts

Bridge
I separated Bridge from the pack because it's the epitome of card games.


How about 500 or belote?
 
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Karl von Laudermann
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It's not a trick-taking game, but Fish Eat Fish is one you might like. "Combat" consists of each player secretly choosing a card from their hand, and then simultaneously revealling them. Yomi is definitely a major aspect of the game. And as the game progresses, your hand of cards gets smaller as you use them, so it has that in common with trick-taking games.
 
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Adrian V.
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As there must be hundreds of old widely beloved trick taking games all over the planet, I find it difficult to make a fair comparative assessment of strategical (or tactical) depth here; even more when considering that many card players will enthusiastically call their own regional or national game the best in in the world.
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Panzerknacker wrote:
As there must be hundreds of old widely beloved trick taking games all over the planet, I find it difficult to make a fair comparative assessment of strategical (or tactical) depth here; even more when considering that many card players will enthusiastically call their own regional or national game the best in in the world.


42 is the national game of Texas the greatest state in these United States of America, the superpower of this planet. Thus objectively the best tricking game of the Universe!
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Quote:
42 is the national game of Texas the greatest state in these United States of America, the superpower of this planet. Thus objectively the best tricking game of the Universe!


And also the answer to the ultimate question of life the universe and everything..
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