Sunday, November 11, 2012

Trick Taking - redux

Apparently it's been two years since I made this post about trick taking. I guess I haven't given it too much more thought since then. This morning I was thinking about the new Eight Minute Empire by Ryan Laukat - a really great idea for a quick card drafting game that plays like a real game. Many fillers really don't offer satisfying decision making, where this one packs more of a punch for the time investment. Anyway, I was thinking about Eight Minute Empire, sorry that I didn't think of it myself, and somehow the trick taking ideas came back to mind. This time it wasn't so much about cards from tricks staying in play (though I guess that could still happen) so much as each card in the trick giving you a small action. Here's how I thought it might work:

* Leader plays a card. I'm thinking that other players need not follow suit, but the highest card in the leader's suit wins the trick. Then again, following suit is a quintessential part of trick taking, so maybe it's necessary.
* When a player wins a trick, that player resolves all of the actions on the cards in that trick.
* The larger the value of the card, the weaker the effect. The smaller the value, the larger the effect. In this way, when sloughing a card (because you cannot follow suit), you must balance strong actions with ability to win a trick..

Something just occurred to me - a player with a hand full of low cards could be severely hamstrung by never getting any actions. Perhaps players could get the effect of the card when played, and then the winner of the trick could get a mini-version of the action on each card as well - or a listed supplemental action which is like a weak form of the main action. For example:
Main action - Put X units into play (where "X" depends on the value of the card)
Supplemental action - Put 1 unit into play

* Actions could be anything, really. Perhaps the same sorts of thing as in an Empire Building game - movement around a map, harvesting resources, fighting battles, etc. I like the idea of having a board, in much the same way that I like how Eight Minute Empire uses a board.
* Action types could be grouped by suit, so for example Spades actions allow a player to add units to the board or move them, while Hearts actions revolve around resources, Diamonds actions are like technology, and Clubs actions are like warfare.

Somehow I feel like this sounds better than the cards-stay-in-play idea I had before (I'm not sure why). Maybe I'll think on it some more and see if I can come up with some useful actions for this.


Clive said...

Have you played Nightfall? The chaining mechanism - while not trick taking - allows for all cards to be activated, no matter who plays them.

While Nightfall is not a game that I particularly like, I think the chaining mechanism could be used more effectively on a different game. The chaining mechanism is very cool but for me has little to do with the theme of Nighfall.

Sean Ross said...

"Then again, following suit is a quintessential part of trick taking, so maybe it's necessary."

It isn't necessary. Watten is a great example of a trick-taking game where there is no requirement to follow suit. Note that this game uses trumps (two kinds); I believe trump is necessary if you want to allow players to not follow suit and you want the decisions to be interesting.