Artist: Ryo Nyamo
Publisher: Hammer Works
Playing Time: 20 minutes
Times Played: 5 with a purchased copy
Everyone’s Served is billed as a “trick-taking” game, though it has a single suit with cards numbered 1 to 48. It’s not the only monosuit “trick-taker” I picked up in the Spring 2019 Game Market. Both do feature gameplay where the players each play a card in turn order and then resolve. The other one feels more like a trick-taking game, but this one feels more at home in whatever the 6 nimmt! type card games are to be categorized as.
CAR-07: Single suit deck of x through y. Players have a hand of cards, do not draw more, and play them in some manner. No additional components required.
In the way that they refer to Agricola as “farm placement” and Bamboleo as “stable table”, my family refers to this one as “lemurs drinking matcha tea”. (When I took that photo I was having a mocha, and when I’m typing this a sencha tea.)
It even has the points at the top of the card in thematic symbols the way a Kramer card game would, though here, some will be positive points (that you want) and others will be negative (that you do not want.)
It’s a game about card laundering (and so is the other as-yet-unnamed-here monosuit game). The cards that the players play in one hand, become the cards they compete for in the next. You can, in a sense, strategize your hand by planning what’s the optimal order to play them in, because the card you play to one “trick” will be in a pool (that we’ll get to in a minute) for the next turn. (Once it’s in the pool, you may be able to play something to pull it to your score pile.)
To set up the game, you deal most of the cards out, and place most of whatever remains face up on the table in ascending order (the exact numbers will vary depending upon the player count, and there is a handy reference card that provides details.)
Starting with someone, each player plays a card face up in turn, and players must follow suit. (That was a joke. There’s only 1 suit.)
Once everyone has played a card, we resolve, again, in ascending order. Check the lowest played card. Any cards in the pool that are less than the value of that card are put in the corresponding player’s score pile. Then we proceed to the player with the 2nd lowest card, and they take any cards now remaining in the pool that are less than the card they have played. And so on. The player who has played the highest ranked card will take all remaining cards, regardless of their value relative to the card that person played. (They also earn the ability to go first for the next “trick”.)
The cards the players have played will then be sorted in ascending order and make up the pool for the next “trick”. Repeat the process until the players are out of cards. (There is also a mechanism for distributing the cards played to the last “trick” that would otherwise remain in the pool, uncollected.)
Some cards you’ll want. Some you won’t. You can plan a little by considering the order of the cards you play. (You can plan a lot more if you can count cards.)
This is around the point in many posts where I type: “That’s it!” and then offer some sort “but” to explain why there’s more there there.
But, not this time?
I really enjoyed my first play of the game, but with each play, my feelings have slowly descended. Many times there’s nothing creative that can be done with your hand. That’s not to say it plays itself, but some turns it’s hard to be invested in what you play.
It’s lacking in some of the tension of “what can I get away with?”, as you know that all of the cards are essentially available at the start of the game. That’s a feature I generally like in trick-taking games, but for 6 nimmt! style games, I think they’re better served with a material amount of cards out of play for the added mystery.
The card play is not un-reminiscent of a distilled Shikoku.
When I play a new board game (as opposed to card game), the barrier to entry into earning a spot on my shelves is practically unreachable. I have a slew of games I like and limited space and am generally a curmudgeon. But card games take such little space –how can I say no! This is the first time that I’ve thought a card game won’t earn a space on my shelf, but would’ve earned –and deserved it– years ago.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the game, but it didn’t have the strength to break through the fortifications of the card games that have come before it.