I haven’t posted as much as I’ve wanted to in the last week and a half, but let’s close out National Game Design Month with the latest version of my rules for Tricks and Treats. There are some changes based on playtests, and this version of the rules is as of yet untested. I’ll be trying it out again sometime.
TRICKS AND TREATS
for 3-6 players
- 60 cards
- 5 suits: Bats, Pumpkins, Skulls, Slime, Spider
- Each suit numbered 1-12
- 80 tokens
- 60 trump tokens (matching the cards)
- 20 treats
- A cloth bag
- Put all tokens into the bag.
- Reveal tokens, placing trump tokens in a line until there are six. Treats should be set to the side. Once there are six tokens in the line, return all treats to the bag.
- Shuffle the cards, and deal an equal number to each player (20 with 3p, 15 with 4p, 12 with 5p, 10 with 6p).
- The player who has the card matching the sixth token in the line has the first lead, and must lead that card. That token is then returned to the bag (no one will win it in the first hand).
- For each hand, a player leads any card from their hand (in the first trick, the first player must lead the card that matches the sixth token in line).
- Each other player in clockwise order then must play a card from his hand. He must follow suit if possible. If he cannot follow suit, he can play any card.
- The player who has played the highest card in the led suit wins the hand. If anyone has played trump, the highest trump card wins the trick instead.
- Trump is determined by the line of tokens. The order of trump is determined by the order of tokens – the first is the highest, and so on. You may want to use a coin to indicate which side is the front of the line.
- If you lead with a card that matches a token in the line, it is not considered to be trump. It is considered to be a regular card of that suit, and is subject to being trumped even if it is closer to the front of the line.
- Likewise, if you play a card that matches a token in the line, but it follows the lead suit, it is not considered to be trump.
- If you win the trick, you may be able to claim tokens.
- If any cards in the trick match any tokens in the line, you may claim all matching tokens.
- If no cards in the trick match any tokens in the line, draw two tokens from the bag and look at them.
- If both of the tokens match cards in the trick, claim both. If only one matches, you may claim the matching token and return the other to the bag.
- If the tokens are both trump, and neither matches, choose one to add to the back of the line and return the other to the bag.
- If either is a treat, you may choose to keep one, returning the other to the bag. If you draw a matching token and a treat, you may only keep one.
- The player who won the previous trick leads the next one.
- Once all players have played all cards from their hands, the round ends. If the game has not ended due to the appearance of the third candy, shuffle the cards and deal a new hand to each player. The player who won the last trick of the previous hand leads.
- Each trump token is worth one point at the end of the game, each unused treat is worth two points, and each used treat is worth one point.
- Claimed tokens should always be kept visible, unless it is a treat that has been used.
- If there are ever fewer than five tokens in the trump line, shift all remaining tokens towards the front of the line and add new tokens to from the bag to the end until there are five.
Treats are special tokens that can be used at different times depending on the type. Each treat has a one-time use, and is flipped face down once used. There are eleven different types of treats included in the game.
- Candy (3): No special ability, but once the third has been claimed, the game will end at the end of the current round. Candies are never flipped.
- Compass (2): Flip the orientation of the trump line so that the last token becomes the first (and thus the highest trump).
- Evil Eye (1): Play anytime before the token claiming process begins to prevent another player from winning that trick. Cancels the effects of the Master Trump.
- Ghost (1): Play at any time to remove one token from the trump line from the game.
- Hand (2): Take all hands from all players, reshuffle, then redeal. This must be done between tricks.
- Master Trump (1): If you play this token, you will win the trick. Cancels the effects of the Evil Eye.
- Mixer (2): Return the entire trump line to the bag and draw a new line of five.
- Poison (2): Discard a card of your choice from your hand. All other players must discard a card randomly. This must be done between tricks.
- Spy (2): Draw three tokens instead of two when drawing from the bag after winning a trick.
- Switch (2): Switch the positions of two tokens in the trump line.
- Thief (2): May be used to steal an unused treat token from another player (but not another thief). Trump tokens can never be stolen.
The game is over at the end of the round where the third candy is claimed. Add up your points – one for each trump token you have, two for each unused treat, and one for each used treat. The player with the most points wins. If there is a tie, then the tied player with the most trump tokens wins. If there is still a tie, then the tied player with the most unused treat wins. If there is still a tie, then the tied player who returns to the table first with a piece of candy wins.
- Game design by Jesse Hickle
- Special thanks to those who playtested the game: Alan Ernstein, Steven Hein, Christopher Heinemann, Pamela Heinemann, SarahEllen Hickle, Brian Mola, Robert Noll, and Ryan Sterling
And that wraps up my month. It’s been a good experience. It was definitely a little nerve-wracking, especially the part about playing the game with others. But I’m glad I did it, and even if the game goes no farther than where it is now, I’m happy. I may even do it again next year. Thanks for reading!