Play of a hand revolves around a sequence of finite rounds or units of play, called tricks, which are each evaluated to identify a winner or taker of that trick. Trick-taking games are card-or tile-based games. The goal of these types of games can then be directly related to the quantity of tricks taken (as in contract bridge, whist, and spades) or to the value of the cards that are taken into tricks (as in pinochle, the tarot family, briscola, and most evasion games like hearts).
Trick-taking games are a type of trick-taking game where players can accumulate points for each successful trick. In the early stages of the game, players can play any card into a trick in the majority of variants; however, they have to stop as soon as the stock runs out. The object of trick-avoidance games, such as polignac or reversis, is to prevent taking any or all of the tricks.
I like trick-taking games for a variety of reasons, including the freedom of choice they provide and the simplicity of playing so many of the genre’s classics with just a deck or two of cards. If you were stranded in the desert without your favorite deck of cards, you could easily proximate many contemporary trick-takers with those decks. (Or maybe something similar; I’m not sure.)
The main point is that a lot of trick-taking games have a similar genetic makeup, which can facilitate easier and more accessible instruction in those games. It is simpler to learn a second, third, or even fourth game once you have mastered the first one, and many individuals have played Pinochle, Rook, Bridge, Spades, Hearts, and a host of other classics. There’s a real magic there, something that few card and board games can claim to have.
Some thought-provoking trick-taking games
One of the list’s more creative applications of trick-taking is High King of Ireland, mainly because it incorporates it into a more comprehensive idea. An area majority mechanic is based on trick-taking, and completing winning courses gives you influence over the map. There’s enough of temptation to lose a trick because it gives you access to a suit-based action.
With a large following, euchre is the ultimate trick-taking game. There must be four participants, who are divided into two teams of two.
You will only use a partial deck when playing this quite easy game. While some prefer to use 32 cards or, in British euchre, 25, many others stick with the 24-card deck.
Euchre comes in a variety of forms. The number of players and the rules are slightly different. Three-handed euchre, for example, is a variation for three players. Most, however, include the objective of having the partnership (or individual) attain a predetermined point total first, which is accomplished via grabbing tricks.
Almost a prototypical game of the category, Haggis is a traditional ladder-climbing/shedding game designed by Sean Ross for two players. 2010 saw the initial publication of it through Indie Boards & Cards. Playing higher variants of melds, where certain cards are worth points and others are useless, is akin to Tichu in many aspects.
Each player begins with three face-up wild cards, which they can use whenever they want to finish a meld or even play as a “bomb,” which is a special kind of meld that, unless a higher bomb is played, usually terminates the hand. Players bet a predetermined number of points at the start of each hand, gaining those points if they shed first or giving those points to their opponent if they don’t.
This game has a great push-your-luck component. Trick-taking enthusiasts are working on a new version, since the Indie Boards & Cards edition is no longer available. Portland Game Collective, the folks behind Bridge City Poker and the just released fantastic Five Three Five. The Discord channel community that PGC has established feels a lot like the core of trick-taking both domestically and internationally.
Diamonds may evoke images of hearts and spades, but in reality, it refers to tiny plastic “diamonds,” which provide points at the conclusion of the round. The main twist is that both winning the majority of a suit and playing out of suit give you the chance to take a “suit action” using those diamonds. Figuring out how to design your hand to succeed is one of my favorite features of the genre, and it’s always entertaining when trick-takers incentivise playing out of suit.
Pitch, often known as auction pitch or setback, is yet another fantastic game. You can modify it to play as a single-player game with three to seven players, or as a two-team game with two players each.
You’ll play with a full deck in this game, which also has trick bidding. As implied by the game’s name, the player who places the largest bet becomes the pitcher.
Pitch has the drawback of having several regulations and potentially difficult scoring. To make the regulations easy to refer to, you might need to print them out. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile learning experience and an entertaining game. For a regular card night with the same set of players, it’s a solid option.