Wait a sec, didn’t I just write about trick-taking games the other day? Yes, yes I did.
But publishers have been dealing out announcements of new trick-taking games — and new versions of old games — on the regular, so here’s another round-up of these tiny treasures:
• New publisher Mind’s Vision, founded by Brazilian expats Otavio and Renata Lessa, will release a new version of Günter Burkhardt and Wolfgang A. Lehmann‘s Potato Man using the same artwork and graphic design as in the 2021 edition from Brazilian publisher Geeks N’ Orcs.
The hook of this game is that when you play a card in a trick, it must be a different color than each card already played. (Exception: In a five-player game, one color can be played twice.) In general, the highest card played wins the trick, and the player of that card takes a reward in the color of the played card.
However, only three rewards are available in a color, after which you take more valuable rewards — but the round ends when a player is forced to play a color already present in a trick, so you want to hold out good cards to win the more valuable awards, yet that opportunity might be snatched away from you.
Mind’s Vision expects to have this game available in May 2023. Says Otavio Lessa, “We just approved the proofs, and it is being manufactured in the U.S. We are still working on pricing and sales channels, so we are encouraging people to visit the website to subscribe to the newsletter. That way, they can be updated when all the details are finalized.”
• Aurum is the first published design from trick-taking fan Shreesh Bhat, with Pandasaurus Games planning to release this 3-4 player game in August 2023, and it shares a design element with Potato Man:
Aurum is a trick-taking game for three or four players, with two teams of two competing in the four-player game. After all cards for the round have been dealt, you bid on how many tricks you think you/your team will win. (In a four-player game, the higher of the two bids on a team becomes the team’s bid.)
During the round, you can lead with any non-gold card. On your turn, you must not play a suit that has already been played (unless it is a gold card). The highest number played wins, but gold is the trump suit and always wins. Whoever played the lowest non-gold card adds a gold card of the same number from the supply to their collection if it is available. All gold cards played in a trick are returned to the supply.
The round ends immediately when a player cannot play a valid base metal card and does not have a gold card to play or chooses not to play a gold card. If you win more tricks than you bid, you earn your bid value as points; if you met your bid exactly, you earn twice your bid value as points. Additionally, you earn points for the number of gold cards in your collection. The player/team with the most points wins a gold nugget, and the first to collect two nuggets wins!
Player must follow suit in a trick, and the winner of the trick receives a crown worth -2 points, then places one card from the trick in each player’s court, then leads a new trick. Odd-numbered cards have special abilities on them, and the power on the lowest card in a trick takes effect, if one exists. The deck also contains a few character cards that automatically win a trick and use a power, and they cannot be reclaimed by whoever played it.
At the end of a round, you score points based on the cards in your court, then you use those cards to play a second round. After the third round, whoever has the lowest score wins.
• If you start looking at titles coming out at Tokyo Game Market in May 2023, you can spot many trick-taking games, although details might be light for now.
For example, Savage Bowl: Trick Taking Game is a game for 4-5 players from designer URiO of ぶれけけゲームズ (Burekeke Games), and in the game cards represent players on a soccer team, with high-ranking cards being forwards, middle-ranking cards midfielders, and low-ranking cards defenders. URiO has been detailing the origin of the game in blog posts on their website, but so far I’ve seen only concepts, not a breakdown of what gameplay is and how you score and win.
• 割算: １・２・３からはじめるトリックテイキング was originally titled “÷”, but designer TAQ of 出汁巻亭 (Dashimaki tei) liked the textbook look of the cover below, so decided to go for a more academic title, which roughly translates to “Division: Trick-taking starting with 1, 2, 3”. Here’s an overview of this 3-4 player game, the details of which might not be accurate given my reliance on automatic translation:
Whoever has the largest quotient wins the round, scoring points equal to the divisor they played, then for each player the second numeral in the dividend drops down in front of the divisor to create a new two-digit number. The winner then leads a card, and everyone follows.
Keep playing tricks until the cards run out. Whoever scores the most points wins.