A couple of months ago, I created the Trick-taking Guild on BoardGame Geek with the goals of (1) having a forum to discuss trick-taking games, (2) giving an annual award to the best trick taking games of that year, and (3) enjoying the camaraderie of enthusiasts of the genre.
After discussion and nominations, the Guild — which now has more than 120 members — opted to give an annual award to the best trick-taking game of the year. All trick-taking games released in 2017 were eligible. The guild’s annual award is called The Golden Trickster, a nod to David Parlett, who called games in the genre “tricksters” in his book A History of Card Games.
After nominations, we had an initial round of voting, and the following three games were deemed finalists:
- Cobras, Designed by Chris Zinsli & Suzanne Zinsli, Published by Cardboard Edison
- The Fox in the Forest, Designed by Joshua Buergel, Published by Renegade Game Studios
- Voodoo Prince, Designed by Reiner Knizia, Published by Schmidt Spiele
All guild members that had joined as of the start of final voting were eligible to cast a ballot in the final voting.
In the end, Voodoo Prince captured the award, winning with 63% of the vote. But all three games are excellent examples of the trick-taking genre.
Voodoo Prince has not yet received a worldwide release, although it can be ordered easily enough from Germany. Hopefully a North American publisher will pick it up.
As a matter of personal opinion, I think Reiner Knizia’s trick-taking game is likely to go down as a classic. The game is truly something special in that it is (a) easy enough that anybody can play it, but (b) it is quite strategic. It also has the somewhat rare distinction of being a trick-taking game that works well at 5 players. Gameplay wise, every player except the final player will capture a number tricks, which is 3 in a 5-player game. After you capture your last trick, you get as many points as the other tricks captured around the table, but if you’re the last person standing (i.e. you’re the person who doesn’t capture three tricks), you only get as many points as tricks you’ve captured. That means you need to really time the tricks you win: you want to go out second-to-last. It’s tense, and it’s clever. I’ve repeatedly said that good trick takers avoid an “autopilot” feeling while also not coming across as chaotic, and Knizia’s latest design does both.
Congratulations again to Dr. Knizia and Schmidt Spiele!!!
If you’re interested in joining the trick-taking guild, it is Guild #3366 on BoardGameGeek, which can be found at this link.