T5: Day Three

I think my view of the roll of pastries in other adults’ lives is probably skewed by watching too many episodes of The West Wing where there was inevitably a plate of pastries in the center of every table at a meeting, so when it’s my turn to host a meeting of sorts for adults, well, there are pastries.

What I’m saying is, wheat domesticated us.

Anyway, I started of the morning with 7 Symbols, and 7 Nations, one of my favorite trick-taking games, and one of my overall favorite games.

7 suits, with 7 cards each, ranging from 1-7, 2-8, 3-9,…7-13, and your goal is to collect 4 of the 7’s in one hand. Alternatively, if you take 7 tricks, without taking four 7’s, then your team loses. You score a number of victory points equal to the difference of the teams’ number of 7s, and the first team to you guessed it, 7 points wins.

It’s a brilliant game. The different suits’ placement of the 7 within its own ranks is an understated nice touch.

Record keeping got more difficult today, so I may have missed some things, and some things might be out of order. I also don’t have a list of everything we’ve played today, but at times we had 4 different games going on, and Foppen and Skull King: Das Wurfelspiel seem to be in the highest rotation.

Sometimes titles were added to the spreadsheet that I wasn’t aware existed. In this case, Joe’s Transportation Tricks. In the coming weeks you’ll see a review from me where I talk about a trick-taking game getting a reprint this year called dios where the ranks and suits are on separate cards, but what I didn’t realize, is Joe had included this in his earlier Transportation Tricks (though that review will be updated before you see it.)

Here the rank cards also have a share value and prior to the start of the hand, players assign a value to each card taken of a suit. The suits form a circular relationship with each one trumping another. When playing, the players play a combination of two cards: one rank and one suit. The highest rank of the lead suit wins, unless trumped.

This was interesting. Given it’s unpublished nature, there are some UI/graphic design tweaks that would make it easier to play, but it presents some nice puzzles.

After that, we played another from @kumagoro_h’s Trick Taking Party: Mischievous Yokai, which uses a set of double-9 dominoes. The dominoes can be played in either orientation, with each domino giving you a choice of rank and suit. There are no positive points to be gained here, only negative points: don’t be the last person to not follow suit, or the last person to win a trick that contained a double.

Honestly, we didn’t finish this one. I think as with Double yesterday, multi-suit cards which force me to follow suit are chair-pulling pranksters. Unfortunately, there was not much agency here.

The general pattern of the day was good game, let’s try a mystery game, and then back to a good game pallet cleanser.

So up next was Potato Man, another favorite of mine. It uses a number of twists, with the most prominent likely being that you can’t follow suit. The suits have non-overlapping ranges, and taking a trick with a suit that has a lower top end will award more points. The lowest 3 cards in the game also act as “super trump” if played in the same trick as the 3 highest ranked cards.

It’s a good time. Delightfully, it also has those moments when one player suddenly won’t be able to play due to the not-follow restriction – resulting in a hand ending mid-round, and the trick you were hoping to win, not even being resolved….(not that that happened to me twice this game….)

Up next we played Quacksalbe. If I had a list of “grail” games, it would be for trying them, not owning them, and Quacksalbe might have been at the top.

Each player represents a doctor who administers different medical treatments. Each round a patient has arrived sick at a hospital. Players each play a card from their hand representing how much of a certain treatment the doctors have administered. The treatment with the highest value will either get credit for saving the patient or the blame for killing them.

Each patient has a target value, and if the highest treatment value is equal or less to this value, that doctor takes the living patient and scores a point or two. However, it the treatment value is larger than the target, the patient dies and the player takes it face down for a negative point. Naturally, there are also some patients with twists, such as one that is already dead and you are trying to re-animate them, so you want to exceed the value.

I expected to be glad I played it, but was expecting more of an interesting theme and less game play, but mechanically it was above average! Very grateful Joe brought it.

I also had a chance to play Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. This is a partnership game with one suit of cards for each team, and you can only play cards of your team’s suit. The cards show their suits on the back, and you don’t need to play a card from your own hand –you can tell another player to play a card from their hand of your suit.

Scoring is tricky – with many cards awarding points, but by default, each team has a score multiplier of x0, and their scores will be erased if they don’t also capture one of their team’s score multiplier cards.

I really enjoyed this one. The other players weren’t as enamored, but I might give this one another shot today.

One of the other Trick Taking Party games I was looking forward to trying was Trapezista – which messes with who you want to win a trick after. (And yes, I need to clean my printer’s ink heads.) Thematically, you are trapeze artists, and you need to not fall to the ground or drop your partner (though you aren’t technically partners in the game).

When you win a trick, you follow the movement of the arrows, or move to the top of a stack you are on the bottom or middle of. But if you ever win a trick with no one to land on, each player not involved in the falling or dropping earns a point. Otherwise, if the players end the round in a stack, the players towards the top earn an increasing amount of points. The game also uses 2 jokers, and when one joker is played, the ranking of the cards is reversed, and the second joker reverses the reversing.

I really enjoyed this one! A sort of press your luck influence with a lot of stress.

Several years ago my friend Renee requested that we organize a Cincinnati Chili Con, and while I hadn’t told Dale this, he independently decided we should have a Cincinnati Chili Con in the middle of T5, so we did! Renee and the other out of town folks unfamiliar with the Cincinnati chili customs got a tutorial from Dr. Chili and I think everyone enjoyed it?

I can’t remember if I said it yesterday, but of those games Luke brought, there are only a few he hadn’t played, and I seem to have an uncanny ability to suggest the ones he hasn’t. This time being Junk yard.

Junk Yard is a game system that comes in a bag and uses tiles as the cards with the games being tile-layers. We played the eponymous Junk Yard.

Here, players start from specific locations on the edge and use tiles won from a trick to lay paths on the board, hoping to surround territories and score points.

Unfortunately, this ruleset fell a little flat for us. It was difficult to break into winning a trick and several players felt fairly hamstrung by the hands they were dealt.

Up next was another recent Tokyo Game Market release, Tricky Billy. Here, each suit has a card in the center of the table to show the current lead suit, and the current “rule” suit. Players can lead either suit, but the first player not to follow either suit causes the rule to switch to that suit. The various rules involve creating a trump, reversing ranks, and whatnot.

It was fairly chaotic, but I found it enjoyable. Don’t take it too seriously, and it does some interesting things.

I’ll leave you with the second set of coneys I had today. (I would’ve had a croiss-oney, but the croissants were scarfed up early today.) These were apple, pretzel, and chili, and will make more sense when you read my Peter’s Two Sheep Dogs review in a few weeks.

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