I think we ended up with 22 folks being able to attend for some period of time, and here are a few of us prior to some folks taking off Sunday afternoon.
I’m so grateful for those that came and made this reality, and also those who couldn’t make it, but helped out in other ways – like Rand letting us borrow some of this games, and @kumagoro_h and @_kazuma0221 for, well, what we did on Sunday.
Like I think I said a few days ago, @kumagoro_h had organized an event called “Is This a Trick-Taking Game?” to be held in Japan on Sunday, and you can read a good recap (in Japanese) here:
He and I conspired in recent weeks to arrange so that we could play the same games at T5 as the more than 60 people were playing at これはトリテなのか？I am very thankful for the translation work that @_kazuma0221 did, and to the designers for giving their permission.
One of the games I arrived most excited to play, was ジンバブエトリック (Zimbabwe Trick), from Taiki Shinzawa (新澤 大樹), the designer of luz, Maskmen, and dios. I had only just found it in the rules’ folder we share Sunday morning, with these in Japanese, but a quick toss into Google Translate made me confident we could roll with its output.
Zimbabwe Trick is somewhat Q.E.-the-card-game. Using a deck of one 1’s, two 2’s, three 3’s,…ten 10’s, players are dealt 12 cards, and will bid on how many tricks they take. The first trick will be one card, and the suit here is irrelevant: the highest rank will win.
The first tweak to the standard trick-taking formula here is that the cards are not wiped: what if each additional card you played, was simply added to the previous cards? That is, if a player plays a 2 the first round, and a 4 the second round –their second round number is 42. Ten’s are “10” the turn they are played, but “0” for the following turns. Your tricks will be something like seven hundred seventy-six billion, four hundred thirty-three million, eight hundred nine thousand, five hundred eighty-one. Whoever has the highest number wins the trick.
Saying the numbers is pretty fun.
The player who took the most tricks loses for devaluing their currency, and the other players score based upon their bids.
I played this twice, with one game devolving oddly due to a player being dealt an abundance of 9’s and 10’s, and the other being a good time. (OK, both were a good time.)
I also got around to playing Die Sieben Siegel today, which I’ve wanted to play for years, but never gotten to. The gist here is that you are bidding on the specific colors of tricks you’ll take, with minus points for bidding too high, and more minus points for bidding too low. However, during the bidding phase, one player can choose to play the saboteur instead, hoping to ruin the other players’ bids and pass out negative points that the player starts with.
It was a great game, but playing the saboteur was certainly the most fun. My Pikoko review is scheduled sometime in the coming weeks, and I find a lot of similarities between the saboteur here and every position there. Namely, how engaged I was in the results of other players’ bids.
Up next was Laplacian from @rikkati, part of the これはトリテなのか？event. This game asks the question: what if the choice(s) in the game were boiled down to a real-time speed decision of which hand to play?
Off the top of my head, I think we used a standard deck of cards, dealing most of them out, and maybe all. Once ready, each player lays down their hand of cards on the table, face up, and the players grab the hand they want to play.
The resolution of the tricks after this is algorithmic, with instructions for how the cards are to be sorted, led, followed, and sloughed. These rules follow some, but not all, of the general strategies you would expect a human player to follow if they were attempting to win the most tricks.
I wasn’t able to join in on all of the これはトリテなのか？games, but other players tried Revoke!, which asks questions about small hand sizes, bluffing, and calling others out for not-following suit, and Black Black Lady, another bluffing game, with rules similar to Hearts, but that the start player lays their card face down, and verbally claims a suit.
There was a point in the day where I was working on cleaning up, we were down to 9 folks I think, and when I was finished, I was the only one not playing, so it was the perfect chance to try Follow-the-suit Solitaire, also from @rikkati.
Yes, a solitaire trick-taking game. Deal yourself a hand of cards, discarding as many as you like, but replacing them with twice as much. You may declare one suit as trump, and regardless will remove 10 cards from the deck. Each trick is two cards: the deck and you. The deck goes first each trick, flipping over the top card. Standard rules of following-suit and trumping apply, and if you win, both cards are discarded. If you lose, both cards are added to your end. You win if you are able to empty your hand before the deck runs out.
I played this twice Sunday, and had played it twice earlier in the week in preparation. It’s an interesting puzzle, not unlike 11 nimmt! where you have to ask yourself how much do you push increases in hand size before there isn’t enough game left for the payoff? Do you choose trump based upon what you have the most of or what you have the lowest of? I’m 1-3 against myself in this, and each has come down to the last two or three cards of the deck.
Okay, I think it’s OpinionatedEaters from here on out. (Maybe some emotions and sentimentality.)
Up first, we played a variant of Pairs that I think we’re currently calling Rotten Pairs, and taking inspiration from what Luke does with his group: adding a little something on the line for lighter games with one loser. Here, we let Luke create a snack for the winner: mustard and sugar on a pepper. Not gross-out gross, but also not especially appetizing. It certainly upped the pressure of the game!
For dinner, we were down to 8 or 9 and so had a group dinner at Hofbräuhaus, which was new for me. I had never been, and didn’t realize that they had food when Dale suggested it. I’m always down for pretzels, mustard, and sausages, and it turned out that was exactly an item I could order.
I was also surprised to learn that I could go here to hear live polka and oompah several nights a week. Tonight this included polka covers of Johnny Cash and Depeche Mode.
They also had a TV where Tery could watch the Patriots game.
Things didn’t go perfectly this weekend: funerals, a break-in, a hospitalization, a mouse, a broken chair, a car accident… It’s interesting the things you become aware of when it’s your party. Things that probably happen routinely at other cons, but it’s more in the shadows.
I’ve probably said it everyday, but I am so grateful for everyone that came and played and played games they love and played Japanese conceptual art titles and filled out the bingo cards and ate chili and were part of this.
I’m going with this having not been a mistake. :)