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Tavern Tricks

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bonsaigames's picture
Joined: 12/20/2010

Heya all!
I just posted rules and printable PNG files on my FB page for a trick taking fantasy tavern game I'm working on.
I'd love your feedback.

bonsaigames's picture
Joined: 12/20/2010
For those not on FB

Tavern Tricks Rules

Tavern Tricks
When the adventurers have delved all of the dungeons and slain all of the monsters they retire to the local tavern for good drink and company. One of the most popular tavern games in all of the realms is Tavern Tricks. Now you can roll the bones and play your cards just like the greatest adventurers of the realms.

Ages: 8+
Players: 3 - 6
Time: 15 – 60 minutes

• Dominance Dice
o Race & Weapon
• 54 Card Deck
o 36 Battle Cards
o 18 Specialty Cards
• 120 Coins
• 1 Left / Right Coin

Setup & Game play
• Randomly determine the First Dealer.
• Give each player 20 coins. Place all unassigned coins back in the box.
• Dealer shuffles the deck and deals 8 cards to each player placing all remaining cards out of play until the next hand.
• Dealer flips the Left / Right Coin.
• Players choose 3 cards from their hand to pass the direction indicated on the Left / Right Coin.
• The leader rolls the Dominance Dice. The resulting Race and Weapon have dominance for this hand.
• Each player bids from 1 to 3 coins on this hand by placing those coins into a central pile called the stakes.
• The player to the Dealer’s Left leads the first trick of the hand and play proceeds to the left until all players have played a card into the trick.
• The player who wins each trick takes the cards played for that trick and sets them aside, then leads the next trick.
• After 7 tricks are complete, the player who took the most tricks wins the stakes.
• Pass the deal to the left.
• The new Dealer takes all the cards and starts a new hand.

Which card wins a trick?
Tricks are won in the following order of primacy…
1. The Race and Weapon of your play matches the dominance dice
2. The Race of your play matches the dominance dice
3. The Weapon of your play matches the dominance dice
4. You played the highest number

What if we tie?
If a trick ends in a tie the cards remain in the middle and another trick begins. This trick is led by the player who led the tied trick. This may happen multiple times until someone wins a trick and takes all tied tricks as well.
If after the seventh trick has been played, there is a tie for most number of tricks taken, the eighth card (normally discarded) is played as a tie breaker. If this eighth trick ends in a tie, shuffle the deck and deal all players one card until someone wins a trick and breaks the tie.

How to Win
After a prescribed number of deals, the player with the most coins wins!
3 players Each Player Deals Twice
4 to 6 players Each Player Deals Once

Example Trick
In this four player game, Alex has dealt 8 cards to all players and they have passed 3 to the right. The Dominance Dice have come up Undead & Axe.
Bobby plays the 35 Orc Axe battle card.
Axe is dominant and the 35 is the highest ranked card in the game so Bobby knows this battle card will beat all other Axes, but knows any Undead will beat it.
Charlie plays the 13 Undead Mace battle card.
Undead is dominant and even though 13 is a middle number Charlie feels confidant the Undead play will hold out to win the trick.
Danni plays the 5 Goblin Sword.
With lower ranked Axes and no Undead cards in hand, Danni dumps a card and waits to pick up some tricks with those Axes later.
Alex plays the 0 Doppleganger special card.
Alex Copies Charlie’s Undead Race and Bobby’s Axe Weapon making his Doppleganger a 0 Undead Axe.
Matching both dominance dice, Alex wins the trick and leads the next trick.

Specialty Card Details
All of these cards are played instead of a battle card and in many cases cannot win the trick.

Bow (x3)
You may choose a player who has not played yet or one who has already played.

Chaos Crown (x2)
The battle card Chaos Races are Orc, Goblin, & Undead

Chaos Dragon (x1)
The battle card Chaos Races are Orc, Goblin, & Undead

Doppleganger (x2)
You may copy both Race and Weapon from the same card.

Fates (x2)
This reroll happens immediately when playing this card.

Order Crown (x2)
The battle card Order Races are Humans, Dwarves, and Elves.

Order Dragon (x1)
The battle card Order Races are Humans, Dwarves, and Elves.

Shield (x3)
All cards in the trick with the chosen symbol are treated as if they have no weapon symbol.

Thief (x2)
The lead player is defined as the player with the most coins in their personal bank. If there is a tie, the player of this card may choose which personal bank to steal from. If the person playing this card has the most coins in their personal bank, this card has no effect.

Joined: 01/17/2011
Looks good

This looks like a quick and easy game, with some elements of bidding, bluffing, and cardplay strategy.

How much have you playtested this game?
What kind of feedback have you received?


bonsaigames's picture
Joined: 12/20/2010
Much appreciated!

Thanks for your kind words.

I have personally only gotten to play the game about a dozen times. I have taken it to game nights and had other people teach it without me playing or being involved / available to answer questions a couple of times.

I am still tinkering with the specialty cards (redesigned Shield last night after a playtest session).

The feedback has been very positive so far, the hurdle has been that "trick taking" evokes a certain predisposition in players. This game does not promote a traditional TT game's emphasis on long term strategy and memory. It also has a good dose of "Take That" which some love / some hate.
The best part has been the engagement players have for each trick and the cheers and groans that have erupted over the way a trick plays out.

I would love to get more playtesting feedback from anyone interested in PnPing the game.

bonsaigames's picture
Joined: 12/20/2010
More Unique Specialty Cards?

After more play test feedback, I'm thinking of removing some duplicates of Specialty Cards and making more of them unique.

The Fates card will likely stay at 2 copies.
The second Thief will be replaced by "Tax Collector - Take 1 coin from each other player"

I'm open to ideas for the others.


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