Nate Straight

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"Work-in-progress" is too strong a word, but since others are posting undeveloped, untested games, I shall try my hand, as it were.

Conundrum

In Corundum, this game is called 'Conundrum Terrapin'. This may be because, as in Terrapin, something happens when every suit is present in a group of cards. But it may instead be because of court politics, which render people in Corundum unable to use the proper name for anything. People outside Corundum call the game 'Corundum Conundrum' - except the tongue-tied Bhargivians, who call it 'Conungrem'.

[Thanks, P.D., for the flavor text!]


Conundrum is a partnership game for 4 in teams of 2 sitting opposite each other.

The goal of the game is to take the most cards possible in the most tricks possible.

Game setup

Conundrum uses the entire extended Decktet, sans The Excuse, with the inclusion of either or both of the Pawns and Courts.

The game will probably be better with only one selection among these, but I'm not sure which [the Pawns have sympathetic suit combos, while the Crowns don't, and this could matter]. As a guess, I think the game would play better with the Courts than with the Pawns.

Shuffle and deal out the entire deck until each player has an equal number of cards. There will be one card left over, leave it face down in the middle of the table. Ranks are standard [A, 2-9, Pawn, Court, Crown]. Play order is standard. Deal passes to the left.

Pregame actions

Each player selects one card from their hand and passes it to their partner.

After the pass, the player to the left of the dealer will lead to the first trick.

After the pass, the holder of the Excuse [if anyone holds it] reveals it and exchanges it for the face-down card in the middle of the table [without revealing this card].

The player who held the Excuse will lead first to the first trick of each hand.


Game play

The game is played out in a series of tricks, the number of which and the size of which is uncertain.

Beginning with the lead player to the dealer's left, each player on their turn must play any 1 card from their hand.

Cards should be played in front of oneself and not added to a central pile [it will be hard to recall who played what].

You may wish to add chips from a supply to the center of table, one matching each suit on the card you play, as a play aid.

You may also wish to use a token or card [I suggest the Gypsy / fortune-teller card] to indicate who began each trick.


Play continues around the table, with each player continuing to add cards to the trick, until the trick is complete.

The trick is complete as soon as each of the 6 Decktet suits is represented at least once [on any card] in the trick.

[If it happens that the first 2 or 3 players complete a trick, the 3rd and/or 4th player must still play 1 card to the finished trick.]

Taking tricks

Each trick is taken by the player who played the highest card in the suit represented by the most cards [played by any player] in the finished trick.

If two or more suits have the same number of cards in the trick, the higher card among all of these suits takes the trick. If these are tied in rank, the first card played among them takes the trick.

When the first trick is taken, the card set aside in the deal is immediately turned over for inspection and added to the trick before it is taken in to the partnerships' scoring pile. It has no other function.

Partnerships combine tricks, and must keep track [criss-cross stacking style] of how many tricks they've taken. The trick winner leads to the next trick.

Ending the hand

The hand will end after one player runs out of cards [since tricks are of variable size, a player can run out "early"].

If a player runs out of cards in the middle of a trick, that trick is finished as normal and one more trick is played.

If a player runs out when leading to a new trick, that trick is played to completion and is the final trick in the hand.


If any player runs out of cards on their first play to a trick, that trick is played to completion and is the final trick in the hand.

If a player runs out of cards after playing their first card to a trick, that trick is finished as normal and one more trick is played.


When playing the last trick(s), simply skip over any players without cards. If this means someone should lead [by winning the penultimate trick after running out of cards in the middle thereof] and has no cards, skip them and the player on their left leads the final trick.

It may happen that all players run out of cards before the final trick is "complete". Simply score the "unfinished" trick.

Do not score any cards remaining in players' hands after the final trick is closed. They must have been played to count.

The Excuse

The Excuse is a special card that may be played to immediately cause a trick to be counted complete and be scored.

The Excuse itself has no rank or suit and cannot win a trick or otherwise affect which player will win.

If played as the 2nd or 3rd card in a trick, the 3rd and/or 4th players do not play to the trick. The Excuse cannot be led.

Scoring the hand

A partnership's score for each hand is the number of tricks they took multiplied by the number of cards they took.

Yes, this can get quite high.

Winning the game

The game is played to 1000 points.


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Nate Straight

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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Design goals

I was inspired by discussion of Battle of the Suits, a new trick-manipulating game for the Decktet to create a Decktet game that was emergent and ambiguous rather than imposing and directional.

Concepts such as "following suit" and "trump" are implied within the game's mechanics rather than imposed by them. You'll find that matching suits makes a higher scoring trick [since it will last longer], and increases the strength of certain suits over others. There is an incentive also to support your partner's revealed suits rather than your opponents.

"Following suit" is a very difficult concept to apply to Decktet. If you lift it directly from traditional games, about a third of the cards will be playable each trick! This is just too free... so I took it all the way.

Additionally, I wanted a game that gave some bonus to the first mover [hence the "first card played" tie-breaker and the ability to lead out a low card in a suit--or suits--you hope to win the trick with if it gets back to you] and that, generally speaking, let players make choices rather than having the game decide for them what to play or value.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Decktet Chips

Additionally, if you are just in love with your Decktet chips you may use them to make each trick easier to parse / grok.

Whenever you play a card, throw into the middle of the table from the supply a chip of each suit represented thereon.

This will make it easy to tell at a glance [without having to look at every card] which suit is currently winning the trick.

Obviously, this has no other game-play effect, it's simply an analogue to use to present information clearly to players.
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Nate Straight

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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Bidding Variant

If you're stoked about bidding, you may try this variant:

"Double Down"

If your score is half or less of your opponents' score, you may declare a "double down" before the first player begins play.

If you choose this option, each player [in both partnerships] must pass two cards to their partner secretly before play.

To complete a "double down" bid, your partnership must take twice as many tricks as your opponents, and the bidding player must take twice as many tricks as their own partner [in this case, partnerships must keep their tricks separate until end-of-hand scoring].

If you successfully complete the "double down" bid, your partnership's score is doubled for that round. If you fail, your partnership's score that round is cut in half.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Call me interested. And thanks for putting up your own unfinished work. I assume the player who won the previous trick starts the next.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
3-5 Player Variant

I doubt this will be any good, but here is how the game would be played with 3 or with 5.

Count 2 players to your left [in a 3p game, this is the person on your right]. They are your "other half", your scoring partner.

Note that your other half has someone else for their other half and that you, in turn, are also another somebody else's other half.

The 3p game is played with the Basic Decktet only. The 5p game is played with the entire Decktet, including The Excuse.

[The Excuse is a blank card. It contributes no suits to a trick, only a card while scoring.]

3-5 Player Scoring

The game is played as normal, except that each player takes in their own tricks and keeps them criss-crossed in front of them.

At the end of the entire hand, your basic score is your number of tricks taken multiplied by your number of cards taken, as usual.

You also receive a bonus from your "other half", equal to half of their basic score for the hand.

The player whose other half you are receives half of your basic score, of course. Ooooh. Sneaky.

[If you try this variation, please let me know how it goes, but please do not judge the partnership game based on it!

The 5 player game will probably require "2 cards in every suit" as the trick-ending rule, so you might want to try that.]
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Seabie wrote:
Call me interested. And thanks for putting up your own unfinished work. I assume the player who won the previous trick starts the next.


Yes. See the very last sentence in "Taking Tricks".

Thanks!
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Tips & Strategy

Scoring is not only accumulative and multiplicative, but exponential during any given hand.

Each trick you take adds to both the multiplier and the multiplicand [cards taken and tricks taken], exponentially increasing scores.

For instance, your first trick will be worth an average of 4 points. Your second trick will be worth an average of 12 points on the margin.

Going from 4 cards to 8 cards within a single trick is only a 4 point gain [at first], but going from 4 cards to 8 cards spread across two tricks increases your score from 1 x 4 = 4 to 2 x 8 = 16, for the gain of 12.

If you have the card strength, taking additional tricks will always net you more points than taking extra cards. This should direct your play.

If your hand is strong, you want to end each trick as soon as possible to squeeze as many tricks out of the hand as you can. However, if your hand is weak and you are in strong control of a trick, it behooves you to shovel cards it.

Tricks taken / withheld from your opponents decrease in value [in absolute terms] as you take more. This might direct your defensive play.

There are a maximum of 400 points to be had [at most 10 tricks, at most 40 cards], but these cannot be split evenly. The total score of both partnerships each hand will only be 400 if one partnership takes all of the points in the hand.

As the points begin to get split up, the total point pool diminishes, very quickly at first, and then more marginally as the hand goes on.

The first trick you take from your opponents, assuming they win the remaining tricks, is "worth" 76 "withheld" points [they can now only get 324 points, maximum... 9 remaining tricks, 36 remaining cards]. Note that you only "gain" 4 points.

The second trick you take from them is only worth 68 "withheld" points, on the margin [now they can get 256, or 8 x 32, points... 324 - 256 = 68]. In turn, this second trick is now worth 12 points on the margin to you as an absolute gain.

The third is 60 "from" them [7 x 28 = 196] and 20 "to" you [3 x 12 = 36].

The fourth is 52 from them [6 x 24 = 144] and 28 to you [4 x 16 = 64].

The fifth is 44 from them [5 x 20 = 100] and 36 to you [5 x 20 = 100].

And then you're even.

In terms of point differentials, instead of absolute totals, the breakdown is:

0 tricks taken away: They gain 400 on you
1 trick taken away: They gain 320 on you
2 tricks taken away: They gain 240 on you
3 tricks taken away: They gain 160 on you
4 tricks taken away: They gain 80 on you

Every trick you take away, on average, nets you 80 points less lost ground.

I'm not exactly sure this means anything, but it's worth knowing and considering at least as you plan your defensive play.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
In this game you'll probably score points every round, because it is very unlikely to get no tricks at all during a hand.

Suppose one team is leading big and the scores are: Team A 950 points, Team B 400 points. In this case it is not much fun to play the last game, Team A is probably going to win anyways. This is why I have a minor comment at:

NateStraight wrote:
Winning the game

The game is played to 1000 points.

This could be fixed by saying that only the score of the team with the most points gaithered during a hand will be added to their total score. Ofcourse, in this case you should lower the winning conditions to 500 points or something like that.
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Nate Straight

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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Seabie wrote:
In this game you'll probably score points every round, because it is very unlikely to get no tricks at all during a hand.

Suppose one team is leading big and the scores are: Team A 950 points, Team B 400 points. In this case it is not much fun to play the last game, Team A is probably going to win anyways. This is why I have a minor comment at:

NateStraight wrote:
Winning the game

The game is played to 1000 points.


This could be fixed by saying that only the score of the team with the most points gaithered during a hand will be added to their total score. Ofcourse, in this case you should lower the winning conditions to 500 points or something like that.


It could, but at least something should remain traditional, don't you think?

It seems it should be possible to keep a partnership under 50 points with a strong hand and strong defensive play. If you keep them to 3 tricks of 5 cards each [and 1 can even go to 6 cards], you'll have done it... and you could win potentially 6 x 25 = 150 points. Not great ground, but you're getting somewhere.

If you use the bidding variant prescribed above, that could be 300 points. 995 to 700's not so bad, is it? I like the traditional feel of battling to reach a threshhold, even if you have to squeak by it [Cinch, from the other thread, has this and special rules for it!], but I realize there's a need for catch-up in a swingy game like this.

I don't mind the "not much fun" last round. If a team is creaming you, they deserve the win.

Since it's very unlikely for a team not to take any tricks, I think it will probably turn out to be unlikely for there to be huge point gaps. See the math post above. Assuming a 2-8 or 3-7 trick split [and something like 2-6 or 3-5 is probably more likely], you're only losing 150-200 each round in the race to 1000.

To get to a deficit of 950 to 400, you'd basically have to lose 3 hands in a row [or epically lose 2], it would seem. My solo test-runs awhile ago had scores like 130 to 45 in a typical hand. I doubt the per-hand point gap will average more than about 100 points. If a team outplays you 4 or 5 hands in a row, they win!

Precisely because it will be a difficult game to pitch a shut-out [unlike, say, Tichu], I don't suspect this will come up.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
NateStraight wrote:
I don't mind the "not much fun" last round. If a team is creaming you, they deserve the win.

Oh, creaming should be possible (and it still is with my proposal), but even in your example the better team will win the next round, so the tension is still gone. Such a game could end like a game of Monopoly in which you already know who is gonna win, but you still have to go four times around the board before you are finally bankrupt. Well, it probably isn't as bad as this, but you know what I mean.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Seabie wrote:
NateStraight wrote:
I don't mind the "not much fun" last round. If a team is creaming you, they deserve the win.

Oh, creaming should be possible (and it still is with my proposal), but even in your example the better team will win the next round, so the tension is still gone. Such a game could end like a game of Monopoly in which you already know who is gonna win, but you still have to go four times around the board before you are finally bankrupt. Well, it probably isn't as bad as this, but you know what I mean.


This would be something I'd really have to see in practice rather than change on principle [because I like the principle of both teams scoring, and don't mind at all--for whatever reason--the possibility of a tension-less last round].

But, I just doubt that it will come up often enough in practice to be worth changing a rule and breaking the principle of the thing.

It's going to be quite hard to get a full 10 tricks out of a hand. I'd guess 8 as a typical result. Assuming a team doesn't get shut-out, but manages to take a single 4-card trick, that's only a 250 point difference between the scores.

What's more likely is one team will get 5 or 6 and the other team will get 2 or 3. Splitting the difference at about 5 cards per trick, this gives you a gap of somewhere around 100 to 150 points [6 x 30 = 180 - 2 x 10 = 20 ==> 160]. That doesn't seem severe, and you'd have to pull it off 3 or 4 times to amass such a huge lead. I just don't see it happening.

But, if it does, I think your idea is probably good, though I'm shooting for elegance and austerity here more than anything!
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Based on the calculations above, it seems something like a 200-point deficit in the final round is probably the threshhold for an insurmountable loss.

At -200 [say 990 to 790], you could almost win by taking all but 2 tricks and 9 cards: 7 x 31 = 217 for you, 2 x 9 = 18 for them => 1008 to 1007 final.

Close.

If they're further than 50 points from victory, you can probably hold them at bay for 2 hands [winning on the 2nd], so could make up maybe 300 points.

It doesn't seem so bad to be able to potentially [with great play] make up a 20% hail-mary deficit or a 33% deficit on back-to-back strong hands / play.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
I agree, it doesn't seem thát bad indeed, but it was worth thinking through.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
All said, though, the 1000-point victory was the only thing that wasn't particularly carefully thought out.

It's a nice round number, which is its chief selling point. It's also high enough for the game not to be won immediately on a couple of really strong hands.

Especially if using the bidding variant, however [which I'm liking more and more], 1000 is probably too high for there to be much of a chance at a last-ditch come-from-behind effort. You'd have to do it earlier [say, no later than 400 vs. 800], or you just wouldn't have time.

I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. I don't really want the game to be winnable on a bid. It would be exceptionally hard from sub-500 to pull a bid, make it, and get enough of both an absolute and a net gain to top 1000 and pass your opponent to victory.

If the game end score were 800 instead, for instance, it's not inconceivable for you to make it there on a doubled score of +200, and you might win on the margin.

Any lower, and it would definitely be possible to win from a bid, which would be exciting, but not what I want.

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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Seabie wrote:
I agree, it doesn't seem thát bad indeed, but it was worth thinking through.


Definitely. I am a dialectician at heart. Somewhere in my profile it reads "I like starting arguments". It's true, I love it. I especially love when people start them with me. Thanks.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Thinking more about the insurmountable gap problem, as it relates to strategy and calculation:

Before you find yourself in big trouble, there are things you can do to "cut your losses" in a bad hand.

Because of the way the hands play out, it's possible to implicitly deny the opponents further tricks.

You would do this by burning cards on tricks they're already taking. If you and your partner burn a card each [maybe one you don't think will help you win anything anyway] on a trick, you've all but made it impossible for there to be 10 tricks [the last one would be 2 cards... doable, I think?] in the hand.

If you burn a couple of cards here a couple of cards there, take a trick here, take a trick there, you can walk away with 2 x 8 = 16 points but give them only 5 or 6 x 32 = ~150-180 points instead of holding back your trash and giving them 7 or 8 x 32 = ~220-250 points. This could be a huge difference.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
NateStraight wrote:
All said, though, the 1000-point victory was the only thing that wasn't particularly carefully thought out.

Your basic game concept is pretty well thought out indeed, I can't find any flaws for now. Ofcourse, I have to test it with real people, but the concept is decent.

The only things that might need some tweaking are the variants and the x-point victory.

- 1000 points seems fair enough for now.

- The bidding variant seems to have some problems, which you've already adressed yourself. Maybe it is better to change it to "When you're more than 200 points behind, you may ...". Also, although it will work, it seems a bit fiddly with the personal collecting of tricks and the double 'twice as much'-rule. And as a last comment, the variant uses 'number of tricks' where the rest of the game uses 'number of tricks times the number of cards involved'. Maybe that's necessary and I don't think it's even criticism, but it just wanted to note that.

- I'm a little bit sceptical about your 3-5 player variant. In the 4 player game you have a lot of 'helping your partner' opportunities, but all of those seem to be lost in a 3 or 5 player game. I guess it will give me a non satisfying experience.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Seabie wrote:
- The bidding variant seems to have some problems, which you've already adressed yourself. Maybe it is better to change it to "When you're more than 200 points behind, you may ...". Also, although it will work, it seems a bit fiddly with the personal collecting of tricks and the double 'twice as much'-rule. And as a last comment, the variant uses 'number of tricks' where the rest of the game uses 'number of tricks times the number of cards involved'. Maybe that's necessary and I don't think it's even criticism, but it just wanted to note that.


"More than 200 points behind" keeps with the 2 theme [yes, I like funny things like this] and prevents players from attempting it early in the game when they're not "really" behind yet.

I like the double-double rule for thematic / explanatory reasons, but also because it necessitates good partnership play both within the partnership and in competition with the other.

Not only does the partnership have to play better than the other players [2x their tricks], but they have to play exceptionally well together in a unique way [1 member 2x the other].

It also gives some direction to the passing, which seems necessary when a "nil" or "all-in" type of extreme bid is involved. You can improve your odds by centralizing your power.

Additionally, since table-talk is a no-no and there aren't any other bidding / communication opportunities, it would be very hard to signal your partner that you think your hands together are strong enough to bid. You can, however, signal that your hand is strong, then they can help you out with the pass, then you can have a go.

It's just an option for a team that falls prey to a couple of really really bad hands [coupled with some bad play, probably, but still]. In games prone to large point swings [from 0 net change to 400 net change, however unlikely either is], these types of options seem to cut down on the perceived unfairness of the random draw.

Quote:
- I'm a little bit sceptical about your 3-5 player variant. In the 4 player game you have a lot of 'helping your partner' opportunities, but all of those seem to be lost in a 3 or 5 player game. I guess it will give me a non satisfying experience.


I would hope you'd be skeptical!

As a rule, I'm not nuts about 3/5p card games.

The concept came as a non-partner game, but the partnerships turned out to be required to make the whole thing stick together. Otherwise, like most Decktet games, it's way chaotic.

The "other half" is the corresponding collusory element in the 3 or 5 player version. It is intended to give you an out: If you can't help yourself, help them and you'll get something.

It's true that there won't be any back-and-forth partner play [as there are no 2-way teams, despite the "pairings"], only leeching off of another player's good fortune.

That's definitely a loss, and I'm not convinced the 3 or 5 player version would work. I included it because everyone [even Tichu players! Gah!] likes to have the option.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
Seabie wrote:
NateStraight wrote:
All said, though, the 1000-point victory was the only thing that wasn't particularly carefully thought out.

Your basic game concept is pretty well thought out indeed, I can't find any flaws for now. Ofcourse, I have to test it with real people, but the concept is decent.


Thanks.

I'm rather pleased with the concept myself, but unfortunately it's of the type of atomic game that tweaking mechanics won't help.

If it doesn't pan out as well as I hope it will in practice, there's not really much that can be done for it! That would be a shame!

Here's hoping.
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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
This looks fun and elegant, too. It would be a shame if it does not survive encounter with actual players.

I like idea of having the trick end when the cards in the trick make Turtle Butt.

The 'highest card in most numerous suit' might make for a single exploding trick: imagine both partnerships with a Crown in the trick, see-sawing back and forth over the most numerous suit.

NateStraight wrote:
I like that "Corundum", a here-to-fore titularly unused city in the Decktet world--see final page of Decktet book--sounds so similar, and if I didn't regard the world as belonging exclusively to P.D. himself, I'd probably call the game "The Corundum Conundrum"


It's strange, because the world doesn't actually belong to me. It's originally Ilya's, as developed by the whole gaming group over the course of years.

In any case, I'd be happy for it to be called "Corundum Conundrum". If you'd like it stitched into the world:


In Corundum, this game is called 'Conundrum Terrapin'. This may be because, as in Terrapin, something happens when every suit is present in a group of cards. But it may instead be because of court politics, which render people in Corundum unable to use the proper name for anything. People outside Corundum call the game 'Corundum Conundrum' - except the tongue-tied Bhargivians, who call it 'Conungrem'.


The last bit, about Bhargive, might be too much. In any case, you are welcome to use some, all, or none of that colour text.
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Nate Straight

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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
pmagnus wrote:
This looks fun and elegant, too. It would be a shame if it does not survive encounter with actual players.

I like idea of having the trick end when the cards in the trick make Turtle Butt.


Ha! I didn't even make the Turtle Butt connection. Perfect.

Quote:
The 'highest card in most numerous suit' might make for a single exploding trick: imagine both partnerships with a Crown in the trick, see-sawing back and forth over the most numerous suit.


I'm not sure. At some point, one partnership will close it when it becomes clear they can't win [because they're tied and their Crown was played last] I would think, either as a concession or to lead something else [remember, additional tricks are always worth more than additional cards, if you're winning the trick; there's little incentive to keep building a trick you're winning].

Quote:
NateStraight wrote:
I like that "Corundum", a here-to-fore titularly unused city in the Decktet world--see final page of Decktet book--sounds so similar, and if I didn't regard the world as belonging exclusively to P.D. himself, I'd probably call the game "The Corundum Conundrum"


It's strange, because the world doesn't actually belong to me. It's originally Ilya's, as developed by the whole gaming group over the course of years.

In any case, I'd be happy for it to be called "Corundum Conundrum". If you'd like it stitched into the world:


In Corundum, this game is called 'Conundrum Terrapin'. This may be because, as in Terrapin, something happens when every suit is present in a group of cards. But it may instead be because of court politics, which render people in Corundum unable to use the proper name for anything. People outside Corundum call the game 'Corundum Conundrum' - except the tongue-tied Bhargivians, who call it 'Conungrem'.


The last bit, about Bhargive, might be too much. In any case, you are welcome to use some, all, or none of that colour text.


That is perfect and more than I could ever have hoped for. It's all in!
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Nate Straight

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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
I was able to get in a 5p hand and four deals of a 4p game tonight.

The 5p game was chaotic, as expected. I suspect it might actually do fine with the standard 1-suit-of-each rule [we tried with what I had anticipated would be the better rule: 2-of-each].

I think your partner being two spaces to your right might be an interesting change. The problem with 5 is that you don't know if you'll be able to help your partner until late into the trick.

But, if they had already played when your turn came [if they were to your right, this would happen more frequently], it would be easier to decide between helping out yourself or them.

In any event, the 5p game is definitely not where the game will shine.

The 4p game, which we played a full four deals of, actually went pretty well. One player was a non-cardgamer, while the other three of us were very strong and experienced cardgamers all.

Just as an overview, the final score after 4 deals was about 205 to 155. I think we had one hand of 4 tricks to 2, and the others were all 3 to 3 tricks. Averaged about 50 points a take.

The gameplay was quite dynamic if a bit fragile. The scoring seemed to even out a little more than I would have liked, but I suspect good hands would separate themselves with stronger play.

At 1,000 points a game, this first test seems to indicate the game would take about as long to complete as Tichu [100 pts per deal or so, except Tichu can accelerate fast with aggressive bidding].

I think we tended to waste too many cards both on losing tricks and on winnable tricks. This game will reward very aggressive and bold card-play, to be sure. Otherwise, it will degenerate.

I'm not sure that's a bad thing. The gameplay will depend heavily on the players' style, and that's pretty much what I was going for. I could see defensive plays and giveaways being a big strategy.

In all, it's definitely not a light game, nor one for non-cardgamers.


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Nate Straight

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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
NateStraight wrote:
The gameplay was quite dynamic if a bit fragile.


This is something I'd see as a feature rather than a flaw, but I could certainly understand how some might feel otherwise.

The game could theoretically devolve into a 29-card trick competition between two Crowns [as P.D. suggests above]--all but the 11 closing cards.

It's up to the players to make sure this doesn't happen, by figuring out who's going to win the trick before it happens.

The winner has an incentive to close the trick as early as possible, which will probably require some very bold moves and risky gambles.

The loser has the incentive to not get rid of too many cards in the fight that will help them really win tricks later.

The balance of power is probably already decided in the first couple of cards, and if it's not going your way, you will need to do something.

But, if you can't see this and just keep hoping, you really could run out of cards and tricks before anything really happens.


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Re: "Conundrum": A work-in-progress partnership trick-taking game
I am wondering, too, if a standard 1-card pass every round [doubled to 2 in bidding rounds as above] between partners might improve the play.

It could provide a hint of information before play begins, and the game seems like it will really depend strongly on good partner interplay.
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