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Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

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Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

(Note: This Challenge has been completed.)

Game Design Showdown
July 2006 Challenge - "New-52: Gone Fishing"

Theme: Professional Fishing Tournament
Genre: Trick-taking Card Game

"New-52" Rules:

  • Based on a standard deck of cards - The game should primarily be based on using a standard 52-card poker deck. The game does not need to use the entire deck. Also, 2 or 3 decks may be combined (like in Canasta) if the game requires it.
  • Can add a few extras - The traditionally-available 2 additional "joker" cards can also be used ("New-54" just didn't sound as good as "New-52" ;-p). Also, standard score-tracking items, such as chips, markers, money, pen/paper, etc., can be used as well. A scoring track (like those used in cribbage) can also be included, as long as it's really just used for scoring.
  • It's a card game ... not a board game with cards - The game should not contain any other bits or boards. It should essentially be a group of people sitting around a table, "playing cards".

Start Date: 13-Jul-2006
End Date: 20-Jul-2006, Noon EST (approximately)
Voting: 20-Jul-2006 through 27-Jul-2006

This Challenge has been completed.

The entries are posted below (be sure to notice that the entries go on to a second page of this thread).

Critiques and comments on the individual entries can be given in this thread:

----- ----- -----

For an Overview on the monthly Game Design Showdown and how it works, check out this thread:

Questions and comments about this specific Challenge, were handled in this thread:



Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #1 - PIROGUE
(Admin Note: Word Count = 1360)

The Trinidad & Tobago Tarpon Tournament

INTRODUCTION: PIROGUE™ is a trick taking card game based on game fishing in Trinidad and Tobago. The name of the game, PIROGUE™, refers to the local hand-made wooden boats used for Tarpon fishing in the shallows off shore.

GAME: As in a game fishing tournament where prizes are awarded for both Best Boat and Best Angler, the game of PIROGUE™ is played in teams (PIROGUES) and as individual players (ANGLERS).
The goal of the game is to be the first team OR player to peg out. Thus there are two victory conditions: Either a team can win by pegging their required PIROGUE points (50No points). Or an individual player can win by pegging his required ANGLER points (60No points).
The first PIROGUE or ANGLER to score 3No game victories wins the tournament.

PLAYERS: 4No players, 2No in each PIROGUE sitting across from one another.

THE PEG BOARD: The peg board has 4No columns of 61No ANGLER peg-holes (one column for each player) and 2No columns of 51No PIROGUE peg-holes (one column for each team).

CARDS: 52 card deck, separated into 2No smaller decks:
DECK No.1: 2 thru 10, all suits.
DECK No.2: A, K, Q, J, all suits. (NB: Face cards never have rank or suit. They represent TARPON. The Aces are SHARK cards, and have rank and may have suit, see below.)

CARD DEFINITION: TARPON cards will refer to all face cards; SHARK cards will refer to all Aces.

RANK OF CARDS: Generally, card rank order is 10 high, 2 low, with the following exceptions:

Exception No. 1: If an ANGLER leads a card and any ANGLER follows suit such that the sum of all suited cards in play totals eleven (11), the ANGLER who played the card that made eleven (called the “HOOK CARD”) wins the trick and pegs 1No PIROGUE (team) point. Even if an ANGLER follows suit after the HOOK CARD has been played, the HOOK CARD still takes the trick, unless a SHARK card has been played. See Exception No. 2.

Example of Exception No 1:
Angler A: Leads 5 of hearts.
Angler B: Plays 4 of hearts.
Angler C: Plays 2 of hearts. (HOOK CARD)
Angler D: Plays 9 of hearts.

Result: ANGLER C wins the trick and pegs 2No PIROGUE points.

Exception No. 2: If a player cannot follow suit and plays a SHARK card (see GAME PLAY below), the first SHARK card played now becomes the highest card on the table. No other card can beat it. If a SHARK card is played either before or after a HOOK CARD, the player playing the HOOK CARD does not take the trick, but does instead pegs 2No ANGLER (individual) points.

Example of Exception No 2:
Angler A: Leads 9 of clubs.
Angler B: Plays ACE of diamonds.
Angler C: Plays 2 of clubs. (HOOK CARD)
Angler D: Plays 4 of clubs.

Result: ANGLER B wins the trick; ANGLER C pegs 1No ANGLER point.

THE DEAL: First Dealer is determined randomly.
DEAL No.1: Using Deck No. 1 distribute 9No cards in combinations of 1, 2, or 3 cards at a time, clockwise, to each player, beginning with the ANGLER to the left of the dealer.
DEAL No.2: Using Deck No. 2 distribute 4No cards, one at a time, clockwise, to each ANGLER, beginning with the ANGLER to the left of the dealer.

DEALER’S OPTION, TAG & RELEASE: After looking at his cards, the dealer can declare a TAG & RELEASE suit. If the dealer declares a TAG & RELEASE suit, the face cards of that suit have NO VALUE when scoring (see SCORING below).

GAME PLAY: Opening lead is made by the ANGLER to the left of the dealer after all the cards have been distributed and the Dealer chooses a TAG & RELEASE suit. The round is played out in a series of tricks. All cards may or may not be used for the round (see the THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY RULE).

The ANGLER must lead a non-TARPON card.
NB: TARPON cards can NEVER be lead. SHARK cards can be lead if they are the only cards left in an ANGLER’s hand. The SHARK card, when lead, is suited and counts as a one (1) when summing for the HOOK CARD. For example, if ANGLER A leads SHARK of hearts, and ANGLER B follows with the 10 of hearts, ANGLER A will win the trick, but ANGLER B pegs 1No ANGLER points.

A trick is won by the highest card each round (see CARD RANK above).
The winner of the trick leads the next round. If the winner of the trick holds only TARPON cards, he must declare so and he cannot lead. The ANGLER’s partner is then offered the lead. If the ANGLER’s partner cannot lead, the lead is offered to the ANGLER to the left of the original ANGLER, then to the opposing ANGLER’s partner.

Players must always follow suit when possible.
Notes on following suit:
a) If a player cannot follow suit, the player MUST play either a TARPON card or a SHARK card.
b) If a player can neither follow suit nor play TARPON or SHARK, the player MUST play any card of the same color as the lead suit AND peg backwards 1No ANGLER POINTS.
c) If a player can neither follow suit nor play TARPON or SHARK nor match the color of the lead suit, the player MUST play any remaining card AND peg backwards 2No ANGLER POINTS.

THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY RULE: If at any point in the game all four ANGLERS are holding TARPON cards alone, no one can lead. The round is ended; the unplayed TARPON cards are set aside and cannot be used in scoring.

Separate TARPON and SHARK cards from all numbered cards.
The following melds are scored AFTER the end of each round. The melds are made from the numbered cards “caught” (i.e. tricks taken) during the round. The points from the meld are pegged on the ANGLER’s column. Cards can only be used for one meld combination.


Caribbean Meld Points
2No or 3No Cards Totaling 11 (mixed Black and Red) = No points
2No Cards Totaling 11, All Red or All Black = 1 point
3No Cards Totaling 11, All Red or All Black = 1 point
2No Cards Totaling 11, All same suit = 2 points
3No Cards Totaling 11, All same suit = 3 points

Tobago Meld Points
2-2-2-5 = 6
2-3-3-3 = 6

Trinidad Meld Points
2-2-3-4, any suit combination (mélange) = 3
Red [2]-Black [2-3-4] = 4
Black [2]-Red [2-3-4] = 4
All Red or All Black [2-2-3-4] = 6
Red [2]-Black Suited [2-3-4] = 8
Black [2]-Red Suited [2-3-4] = 8
Red [2]-Red Suited [2-3-4] = 10
Black [2]-Black Suited [2-3-4] = 10

Tarpon Meld Points
2-2-2-2-3 = 15

SCORING OF TARPON CARDS: TARPON cards count as 2No points each, unless the suit has been designated as TAG & RELEASE, then the TARPON cards have no value. The points for all “caught” TARPON cards are pegged collectively on the team’s PIROGUE column. (NB: SHARK cards have no scoring value.)

a) An ANGLER may peg out during a round of tricks to win the game.
b) Any HOOK CARD points not claimed during the round, can be claimed by a member in the opposite PIROGUE before the play of the first card of the next round.
c) If two or more ANGLERS individually peg out at the end of the same round, the highest final point total wins. If still a tie, the ANGLER with the higher PIROGUE points wins. If still a tie, each ANGLER receives a game victory.
d) If both PIROGUES peg out at the same time, the higher final point total wins. If still a tie, the PIROGUE with the higher COMBINED point total of each individual ANGLER wins. If still a tie, each PIROGUE receives a game victory.

GAME END: The game ends when either one ANGLER or PIROGUE pegs 60 or 50 points, respectively.

TOURNAMENT END: The tournament ends when either one ANGLER or one PIROGUE has won three games.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #2 - King Fish

2-5 Players


1 x Standard Deck of Cards
1 x Scoring Pad and Pencil


Players are competing to catch the most fish in a tournament. The game will be played with one round for each player. Players will take turns being the dealer.

Setup for the Round:

1. Shuffle the deck.
2. Deal 6 cards to each player.
3. Deal 3 cards face-up (fish) into a group (pond). Create 3 ponds in this manner.

Playing a Round:

The round will consist of up multpile fishing excursions. During each excursion, players’ hand sizes will get smaller and smaller denoting their fatigue throughout the day. The round will end when all of the ponds are empty or at the end of an excursion when the deck has less cards than players. During each excursion do the following:

Choose a Pond

• Each excursion, starting with the dealer and going clockwise around the table, that player will choose one pond that all players will fish in.
• Each fish has a number and a suit. The number represents its distance from the boat. It suit represents the bait that will catch it.

Choose a Fishing Line

• Starting with the dealer and going clockwise around the table, each player plays one card face-up in front of him.
• This is his fishing line, and only the number is used. The number represents the distance your line will be thrown out. The higher the number, the more fish you will have in range but be careful because the lower numbered lines will reel in first and may take your fish!
• From lowest to highest, the numbers are: A,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K.
• King Fish Rule: The only way to catch a J,Q, or K fish is to use a line with a J, Q, or K. The order doesn’t matter. Example: A Queen Line can catch a King Fish.

Choose the Bait

• Starting with the dealer and going clockwise around the table, each player plays one card face-down in front of him.
• This is his bait, and only the suit is used. The suit represents which fish you are able to catch.

Reel ‘Em In

• Starting with the player with the smallest line card and going higher, each player turns over their bait.
• As a player’s bait is turned over, that player chooses one fish in the pond whose suit matches his bait AND whose number is less than his line. He keeps that fish card as a “trick”.
• If more than one player have the same line number, the highest bait number is used to determine who chooses first.

Back to the Tackle Box

• From the deck, turn over one card for each player. Starting with the dealer and going clockwise around the table, each player chooses one card to keep. If there are less cards than players, end the round instead.


• Each fish is worth one point.
• Each J, Q, or K fish is worth two points.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #3 - Bait & Tackle

Players: 3-7
Time: quick
Components: 2 decks of cards (no jokers)


Choose one person to be the dealer. They shuffle both decks together into one big deck, and deal out 12 cards to each player. Put the remaining cards in the middle as the draw deck (The Lake). The player to the dealer's left goes first.


The active player draws the top card from The Lake and places it in the middle of the table. This is the Fish. Going clockwise starting with the active player, each player lays down one card on the Fish. This is their Bait.

Whoever played the highest card of the Fish's suit catches the Fish, taking all cards played (Fish included). Playing a card of a different suit can't win the Fish (it is not interested in that bait), unless nobody played a card of the correct suit, in which case the highest card takes it (it's a hungry fish). In the event of a tie, the winner is the person who played their card first (their bait was closer to the fish!).

When you catch a fish, you have the choice of taking any number of the cards you won and laying them face up in front of you as Tools. Put the rest aside for scoring, in your Catch. The person who catches the Fish is the active player for the next round.

The game is over once everyone is out of cards (all will run out on the same hand).


You discard a Tool (permanently, it does not go into the play area or into your Catch) to use it. Each suit has a different purpose:

Diamond - bribe the judges with this lovely diamond, by discarding it when you play your card. It adds 2 to the value of the card you played, if it was the correct suit (e.g. making a 10 count as a Queen, making an Ace count as two notches better than an Ace).
Heart - You may not have the right bait, but by gum, you've got heart! You'll catch that fish anyway! Discard when playing your card to make an incorrect suit work as the correct suit.
Spade - dig up worms with the handy spade. Use this before a Fish is dealt to swap any one card from your hand with one card from your Catch.
Club - You may club any other player as soon as they play their card, forcing them to withdraw the card they played (returning it to their hand) and play a different one of their choice. If they only have one card, they obviously must just replay the same card.


When the game is over, everyone sorts their Catch into red and black. Red cards are worth 3 points each, black cards are worth 2. Most points wins!

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #4 - FLY vs. FLY

(4 players, two teams)

With the Cold War over, espionage agencies are taking some much needed R & R. They decide to have a Black/White Fly fishing tournament for a change of pace...But what's this, the Black spy seems to be using a weather machine and animatronic lures! And the White spy seems to be using a mind control device to influence the fish away from Black! In hindsight, we probably should've expected this...

1 deck of 54 cards w/clearly marked “big” and “lil” jokers
“Fish Scores” sheet

Teams are selected and teammates sit opposite each other. Players determine a score to play to. (Standard 300) A random player is selected to be the dealer. Cards are cut by player right of the dealer. Each player is given three chips. Dealer deals every card except the last two. He chooses one without looking and places it face down in the center of the table. This is the discard pile. The other he places face up on the discard pile. This card’s suit becomes trump for the hand. Note: No player may look at his hand before trump has been determined. If the card is a joker, the dealer randomly picks a trump suit. Players may now review their hands. Each player secretly selects 1-3 chips and places them in his physical hand. Players simultaneously reveal their chips. Add three to the total chips to find the “fish limit.” This is the maximum number of “fish” that can be caught without penalty.
The first hand is played to determine role. The player left of the dealer plays a card in front of himself. Trump need not have been broken to be played. Jokers are always trump. Other players play cards in front of themselves, following suit if able. If not, they may throw away any card or trump. Whoever played the strongest card wins(big jkr beats lil jkr beats Ace beats King…). All cards are placed face down in the discard pile. The winning team becomes the “fishermen”, the other team, the “fish”. The player leading may now change the “flow”, or direction of play. (CW/CCW) This may only be done when a player’s team first becomes the fishermen. The player’s partner cannot influence his decision. The leading player now plays any card and play follows flow until all have played. If the “fishermen” team has the winning card played, then they set aside the cards played by the “fish” for scoring, and discard the cards they played. If the “fish” win, then all cards are discarded, and the “fish” now become the “fishermen”. In either case, the player who played the winning card leads the next hand. Play continues until one team is out of cards. Hand is then scored and the role of dealer passes to the left.

If a player is on the “fish” team, and can’t follow suit, then he/she may pass, not playing a card. Play is normal for the rest of the hand. A player may pass as often as he/she likes, as long as he/she is unable to follow suit. Extra cards at the end of a hand score 1 pt each. A player may NOT score a point for an extra card if: 1) His team exceeded the fish limit OR 2) The point would cause them to win the game.

At the end of the hand, the value of each team’s catch is calculated. Scoring is as follows:
Lil Jkr- 20 pts
Ace- 10 pts
King- 9 pts
Queen- 8 pts
Jack- 7 pts
All others- 5 pts each
Fish Limit
If a team exceeded the fish limit, that team will only receive half of the points earned, rounded down.
Game ends when a team reaches the preset score.

When the dealer flips the card to determine suit, it also determines which cards win. If the face up card is eight of higher, then the hand is played normally. (Big J, lil J, Ace, K, Q…). If the card is seven or lower, then power is reversed. (Big J, Lil J, Ace, 2, 3, 4) Scoring becomes Lil J- 20pts, Ace- 10pts, 2- 9pts, 3- 8pts, 4- 7pts, all others- 5 pts.

Flow Strategy
Player A won the previous hand and wants to lead diamonds, knowing his partner can trump them, but he fears player D may also trump. (Trump is clubs.)

In example one he leaves flow clockwise, his partner throws away a card thinking they have won, and they lose control.

In example two, he reverses flow, forcing player D to try and trump high, and allowing his partner to climb player D’s card. By reversing the flow the team goes from 0 pts on the hand to 15 pts.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing


Wait for the right time, and you could be haulin’ in the Bass by the truckloads. But wait too long, and someone else is going to get your prime fishing spot. And look out for the Minnows; unless you get a full family of them, the judges don’t look too kindly on people catching those little guys.

For Four Players.

FISH OUT! is played in a series of games, until one player scores 50 points, who is declared King Fisher!

The center of the table is the LAKE.

The cards represent FISH.

Players “STOCK THE LAKE” with Fish by placing cards into the center of table. All Fish stocked to the Lake are played face up in any reasonable way so that card ranks and suits are visible.

Players “FISH OUT” the Lake by collecting all of the cards from the Lake which all match a chosen suit.

A game is played with a standard 52-card deck which is shuffled and dealt face-down to all players. After looking at their cards, players select three cards and pass them face down to a different player each round, as is common in Spades.

A game is played in a series of Tricks. The player with the 2 of Clubs starts the first round by playing the 2 of Clubs. A trick is defined loosely here, as some tricks will have no cards taken by players, and in others, multiple players will take up cards. Cards remain on the table until a player Fishes Out a suit.

During a trick, each player in turn plays a card face-up from their hand. Players do not have to follow suit. After all players have played their cards, players who have played the highest ranking card of each suit keep their card; all players otherwise must stock the Lake.
Cards are ranked as Ace low/King High.

Joe plays 10 of Hearts.
Wanda plays 3 of Hearts.
Anna plays 6 of Spades.
Marty plays Jack of Diamonds.

Joe has the highest Heart, beating Wanda; Joe keeps his heart while Wanda places her card in the Lake. Anna and Marty both have the highest rank in their suits because their suits are uncontested by other players and keep their cards.

For those players who still hold their card, they may decide to either stock the Lake with it, or Fish Out all of the cards from the Lake that have the same suit of their card. When Fishing Out, the player collects all of the cards of their matching suit (including the card they hold) and places those cards face up in front of them in a stack. Each suit should be in its own stack.

However, there are three restrictions to Fishing Out:
1) If the Lake has no cards with the suit of the card played, the player cannot Fish Out and MUST stock the Lake with his card.

2) A player can only Fish Out a maximum of 4 times per game, once for each suit (check the stacks of Fished Out cards in front of them).

Joe Fished Out spades on a previous trick in this game, all subsequent spades played by Joe in this game must be used to stock the Lake.

3) On the last trick of a game, the player does not have the option of stocking the Lake or Fishing Out. The player MUST Fish Out if the player meets the above requirements. Otherwise, he stocks the Lake.

The player who Fished Out the most cards begins the next trick. If no one Fished Out, then the player who started the last trick leads again. If there is a tie for the most cards Fished Out, then the player who tied for the most who is closest clockwise to the player who began the last trick leads.

After all cards have been played, players are scored based on the Fish in their stacks. There may be unclaimed Fish in the Lake.

SCORING (Pre-playtesting, first-guess):
Each Ace scores -9, unless a player has all four Aces, then the four Aces score a total of +18 instead.

Each Jack, Queen, and King scores +3 points.

All other cards score +1 point.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #6 - Jack (Dempsey)'s or Better

Overview: Four professional fishermen compete to collect the best
collection of fish in one day.

1 Standard Deck of Playing Cards w/Jokers

Divide the cards into two piles. Face cards (A,K,Q,J) into one pile called the “fish pile”
the rest (2-10,Jokers) into another called the “bait pile”. Shuffle both decks and remove
2 fish cards. Set them aside unseen. Now deal all of the bait pile cards to the
fishermen, set aside unseen any leftover cards. Fishermen do not look at their cards. They set them in a pile in front of them. They draw 5 cards from their own pile to start the game.

Game round consists of 10 turns.
Dealer turns over the top 3 cards from the fish pile.
Each player selects one of their bait cards and sets it face down
in front of them. When all have selected they simultaneously reveal(cast)
their cards. The successful fishermen are the ones
who best meet the finicky diet of the fish card(s).
As you can see at least one fisherman will not catch anything.
After resolving the fish each player draws a card if there are any left
in their piles.

Ties: If the fishermen have casted the same card their lines get tangled and both those cards
are discarded.

Multiple Bites: If a fisherman's card best fulfills multiple fish tastes he catches all applicable

No Bites: If no card fulfills a fish taste that fish just swims away and is reshuffled into the fish pile.

Game End: Game ends when all fish have been caught or the fishermen run out of bait(cards) in their hands.

Winning: At the game end fishermen reveal all the fish they have caught this round. The best
set of fish is determined by using the ranks according to poker. So 3 ace fish are worth more
than 3 jack fish. Etc..

Fish Diet
In general the fish will only go after bait of the opposite color.

Jack Fish- prefer lower even numbered cards.
Queen Fish- prefer lower odd numbered cards.
King Fish– prefer higher even numbered cards.
Ace Fish–- prefer higher odd numbered cards.

Special Bait
Jokers- Bobbers. Playing one of these will splash the water and scare the fish away.
Players who have played bait this turn discard those cards along with the bobber.
The scared fish are reshuffled into the fish pile.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #7 - Big Game Deep Fishing

for 3-4 players


One deck of 52 standard playing cards


To score the most points by catching fish cards with their bait cards over 10 rounds of play.


Shuffle the deck and deal 10 'bait' cards face down to each player. Players pick up their cards into their hands. Deal 10 'fish' cards in a row (the deep sea) on the table, all face up except the 5th and 10th cards which are dealt face down (mystery fish). Any remaining cards are put to one side out of play.

Sequence of Play:

The player who most recently went fishing (in real life or by playing a board game) begins the first round of play. Each subsequent round is started by the player who won the last trick (i.e. caught the last fish).

In each round, the starting player places a bait card from their hand face up on the table in front of them. Each other player going clockwise does the same. When all players have played a card, the trick is won (fish is caught) by the player who played the highest value card (ace=1, jack/queen/king=10). If the fish card for that round is face up then a 'trump' suit is applicable that matches its suit (face down fish have no trump suit). Ties are broken by the starting player going clockwise. The winning player takes the fish card from the central row for that round and keeps it in a face down pile by their side. All bait cards played in that round are then discarded.

End of the Game:

When the 10th fish is caught it is the end of the game. Each player reveals their caught fish cards and tallies up their score as follows:

1pt for each fish they caught
1pt for having the most weight of fish in each suit (ace=1, jack/queen/king=10). Ties get 1pt each.

The player with the most points wins the game.

Theme notes:

Each card in the central row represent different types of fish:

ace= anchovy
2 = sardine
3 = herring
4 = mackerel
5 = flounder
6 = plaice
7 = ray
8 = bass
9 = cod
10 = tuna
jack = barracuda
queen = swordfish
king = marlin

The suits of the cards played by players represent the different types of bait and the suit of each fish represents that fish's preferred bait (i.e. trump suit):

hearts = rag worms
diamonds = grubs
clubs = clams
spades = shrimps

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #8 - The Big One

Every year the old timers descend on the old fishin pond in an attempt to catch “The Big One”, an ancient catfish left over from the Paleolithic era.

This game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards.

This game is played for penalties. This can be drinks, spankings, 50 cents in the pot etc. Basically whatever the players are comfortable with.

Cards are ranked A, K, Q…4,3,2. The only special card is the ace of Spades, this is “The Big One”. There is no hierarchy of suits. There is no Trump suit.

Each player is dealt 3 cards. If they get “The big one” It is turned up and they are given two cards compensation. Players may then choose to turn in any of their cards for replacements; this is called getting fresh bait. If “the big one” is drawn during fresh bait, that player turns up “the big one” and pays a penalty. There are no replacement cards for turning up “The big one” in this manner. This may mean that player can’t play in the 3rd trick.

The player to the left of the dealer leads, playing any card from their hand. Players may play any card in response. Top card takes the trick. If there is a tie the trick remains on the table and may be won with the next trick. If all three tricks end in ties the tricks carry over into the next hand.

If a player takes 2 out of 3 tricks, they are dealt one extra card for the rest of the game. This can happen multiple times, there is no limit to the number of extra cards a player can have.

If “The big one” is on the table this is considered the hand for the game. If any player takes two out of three tricks all other players take two penalties. If no player takes 2 tricks everyone pays one penalty. (If playing for money the pot carries over to the next game.)

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #9 - Hook and Sinker.

A fishing tournament for 2 to 4 players.

The Deck:
Standard deck of 52 cards. The suits represent both different types of fish and the bait/lures and they prefer.
Cards are ranked 2 through ace. In cases of cards with the same rank, the eldest card counts as higher than later ones of the same rank.

The twos are called hooks. They're wild (can be played no matter what suit was led) and always trump. But they're low trump.
The threes are called sinkers. They're also wild and a kind of trump, but they hold the cards for the next trick rather than helping to take tricks.
Aces are trophies (the biggest fish) and also represent the secret sweet spots where they lurk, and which you have discovered. They're worth the most points, so try to pick the perfect time to go to that sweet spot to ensure you land the big one.

Aces are worth 15, the tens and face cards are worth 10, and the rest are worth 5.

The Deal:
Create a dummy hand in addition to the player's hands. Deal out all of the cards, giving any extra cards to the dummy.
2 players: 17 each, 18 dummy.
3 players: 13 each, 13 dummy.
4 players: 10 each, 12 dummy.

Beginning on the dealer's left, players bid for the privilege of naming trump (the bait that everything's hitting this hand) or pass. The bid represents the number of points the player must take in play. Continue around until all pass. If no one bids, the hand is played with no trump suit (but twos and threes are still trump). Tip: the more high cards you have in hand, the fewer "feeding frenzy" rounds (see below) will come up, so bid accordingly.

Each round begins with "the stocker" -- a card played from the dummy's hand, and play continues starting with the first player and going clockwise. The player to the dealer's left is initially the first player. Thereafter, the player who wins a trick becomes the first player for the next trick. Players must either follow the suit, if possible. Wild cards are suitless and are never forced to be played.

There are two types of rounds: regular and feeding frenzy. The stocker determines the type of the round.

Regular Round:
If the stocker is a number card, it is the lead card (for following suit), and it represents the fish that will be caught that round. It is the only card to be scored. The cards the players play are discarded; they only determine who gets the score card.

After all players have played a card, the trick is scored.

  • If any trophies (aces) were played (not counting the stocker), the last ace played is placed on top of the dummy's hand for the dummy to play to start the next trick. That ace doesn't count for determining who takes the current trick (although other aces do).
  • If any sinkers (threes) are played (not counting the stocker), the stocker is set beside the dummy's hand to be awarded to the player who takes the next trick. The player who played the eldest sinker becomes the first player for the next trick. Sinkers have no effect (except as being a three of trump) on the last trick.
  • If no sinkers were played, the highest trump takes the trick. If no trump were played, the highest card of the suit led takes the trick. If no cards of the suit led were played, then the highest card played takes the trick.
Feeding Frenzy Round:
If the stocker is a face card, this is a "feeding frenzy" round. The dummy's card is removed and the winner of the round scores all cards played by the players. The first player may play any card he or she likes. That card sets the suit for the round.

When all players have played a card to the trick, the trick is scored as before. If a sinker is played, all the cards are set aside for the next trick (except on the last trick). Otherwise, the winner of the trick gets all the cards played (but not the stocker).

Ending the Hand:
After the last trick (when the players' hands are exhausted), players score their score piles. If the high bidder missed his or her bid, he is set back the bid amount instead.

Play a set number of hands, or until a set score is reached.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #10 - Spadefish

A stratagy trick taking game based on fishing competition.

3 or more.

A pond is full of 4 kinds of fish, heartfish, clubfish, diamondfish, and spadefish. A competition is held to see who can fish the most tasty fish, which includes all the fish except spadefish (which taste and smell really bad.)

Standard Deck of 52 Cards

Each round the deck is shuffled and dealt evenly between all of the players. Everyone must start with the same number of cards, the remainder stay in the deck until the next round. Someone is randomly chosen to start the game as the fish.

A round plays as follows

The player who is the fish places a card from their hand facedown in the middle of the player, this is the fish card. The other players then take their turn in placing a card from their hand face up, these are the bait cards.

The fish card is flipped face up, and the player who placed the biggest bait card, that is less then the fish card (A fish can't eat bait bigger then itself), wins the trick (the fish card and the bait cards), and becomes the fish on the next turn. If all of the bait cards are bigger then the fish card, then the fish wins the trick. Repeat until everyone as exhausted their hand, at which the round is over.

Then apply scoring, and then start the next round, unless it is the 5th round, at which the game is over.

Aces are low, kings are high. If there is a tie between two cards in a trick, then apply spades > hearts > clubs > diamonds.

Everyone gains 1 point for every non-spadefish that they have won from the tricks in a round, and loses a point for every spadefish that they have won in a round.
Exception: If a player catches all of the spadefish in the lake then they recieve a reward of 20 points (for cleaning out the lake), and recieve no penalies for the spadefish.

Whoever has the highest score wins.
Tiebreaking: If 2 players have the same score, then play another round.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #11 - Go Fish!

A game for 3 to 5 players

The aim of the game is to have the best catch. You score for the quantity and quality of your fish (runs and sets) in your catch basket.

Take two decks of standard playing cards. Remove the Aces, Kings and Queens. Each player receives one Ace, King and Queen. These represent the lures they will be using to try and catch the best fish. Remove any unused Aces, Kings and Queens from the game.

Shuffle the remaining cards together. Begin by dealing X cards to each player (6 for three players, 5 for four players, 4 for five players.) The players keep these cards face-down in front of them but may look at them at any time – this is their initial “catch basket”.

Choose a starting player and give them some sort of marker.

Begin by dealing five face-up cards in a line - this is the display. Each player chooses a lure and plays it face-down. The lures are revealed simultaneously. Aces are resolved first, then Kings and then Queens.

A player that played their Ace may choose a card in the display OR the discard pile and add it to their pile. However, they must then add a different card from their catch basket to the display. They then return the Ace to their hand. If multiple players played Aces, then cards are resolved in clockwise order from the start player.

A player that played their King may take all but one of the cards in the display OR the discard pile and add them to the catch basket. They must then add their King lure and the remaining card to the discard pile. If multiple players played Kings then the first player clockwise beginning with the start player has the option to take the cards; if they do not, then the choice passes to the next King player. Once a King player has taken cards, the King phase ends. All King players who didn’t get cards return their King lures to their hand.

A player that played their Queen may take all the cards in the discard pile and add them to their catch basket. They must then add their Queen lure to the discard pile. If multiple players played Queens then the first player clockwise beginning with the start player has the option to take the cards; if they do not, then the choice passes to the next Queen player. Once a Queen player has taken the discards, the Queen phase ends. All Queen players who didn’t get cards return their Queen lures to their hand.

The start player marker is passed clockwise. If there are any cards still in the display, they are puttinto the discard pile and a new round begins.

There are twelve rounds. In a three-player game, two cards will be left over. They are added to the discard pile (and therefore may be claimed by a player using their Queen card.)

Players now sort their catches into runs (sequential series of cards) or sets (cards of the same type), although each card may only form part of one run or set. Scoring is triangular: 1=1,2=3,3=6,4=10 and 5+=15. King and Queen lures may be used in scoring but not Aces. The winner is the player with the highest score.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #12 - Fishing Quota

3 - 6 players, about 30 minutes.

Life can be hard on a fishing trawler, battling the open waters to make your catch. Not only do you have to battle with other fishermen to catch the scholes of fish available, but you have to contend with the arcane quotas that the government imposes. But these professionals don't let these problems get them down, and instead have instituted a competition to determine which of them is the best

Take the cards valued ace to 10 from one deck (fish cards) and shuffle them thoroughly. Deal them out to each player. Take the face cards, and give a set of one each of the suits to each player (quota cards) (e.g. one player may get the jack of hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs). With 4 to 6 players, you will need to use a set from another deck.

Each player should look at their fish cards. They should add up how much the values are for each of the suits on their fish cards. They should then order the quota cards so that the suits with the highest sum are at the bottom and the lowest sum are at the top. Their aim is to win as many of the low-sum suit and as few as the high-sum suit as possible.

The players now play a standard trick taking game with the fish cards [ie The player winning the bid leads the next bid. Players must follow the suit led if possible, and may discard any card otherwise. The highest card in the suit led wins the trick.]

However, no player may win more than the quota (4,3,3,2 tricks in a 3,4,5,6 player game). Once the player has completed their quota, any card they play is considered blank. If a trick is led with a blank card, then the first non-blank card determines the suit.

When all the cards have been played, each player assesses their catch. For each card matching the suit on the top of their quota deck, they score double face value, for each card matching the second suit on the top of their quota deck they score face value, matching the third suit they score nothing, and matching the fourth suit they score minus the face value.

Players not the score and have another round. When players wish to stop playing, they should compare the scores. The player with the highest score wins.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #13 - Drywater River Fishing Competition

3-6 players

Players compete in a fishing contest, trying to capture four different kinds of fish (represented by the four suits): rainbow trout (diamonds), catfish (clubs), carp (hearts) and pike (spades). Using the right bait (same suit as the fish to be captured) and placing their lines closer to the prey (the lower the played card value, the shorter the distance), competitors will try to beat their rivals. But some fish are small (J), some medium-sized (Q) and some big (K), and there are special point awards for different sets, so competitors need to manage their resources to get the most valuable prey.

2 decks of poker cards.

The cards are divided in two decks: A-10 and Jokers (bait cards) and J, Q, K (fish cards).
The bait cards are shuffled, and 8 cards are dealt to each player. The rest is placed on the table as a reserve pile.
The fish cards are shuffled, placed face down on the table, and the topmost is turned face up (this is the first fish to be captured).

Competitors play, clockwise, one face up card each. The suit represents the type of bait: to catch a fish you need to use the right bait (same suit). The card value represents how close from the fish the fisherman is throwing his line. Lower values beat higher values (Aces = 1). Jokers are special bait, and beat any regular bait (at any distance).
The player that wins the trick takes the fish, and a new fish-card is turned face up for the next round.
All players replenish their hands from the reserve pile.
The winner of the previous round plays first.
Turns go on until all fish are captured. If the bait-card reserve runs out, the played cards are reshuffled to form a new reserve pile.

Once the fish are over, scores are calculated:
Each fish has an inherent value: J=1, Q=2, K=3.
And there are some extra awards for special sets:
3 fish of the same type but different sizes (J, Q, K, suited) = 5 points.
4 fish of the same size but different types (4J, 4Q or 4K of different suits) = 5 points.
All the fish of any type (the 6 J, Q and K of any suit) = 10 points.
All the fish of any size (the 8 J, Q or K) = 10 points.

The player with the highest score wins.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #14 - IT WAS THIS BIG

Welcome to the Sandusky fishing Competition.

This is a four-player non-partner trick taking card game for all ages.

This game is played with a normal deck of 52 cards.

Separate out all the 2s through 9s. Shuffle and deal it into four piles in the middle of the table, one pile near each of the players. These are the fish to be caught and a 9 is the biggest size you can catch.

Choose the first dealer.

Play of one hand:
The dealer will now take all the remaining cards and deal them out to the players so that each player has all the cards of the same suit, ace through ten. The player’s suit reminds all who played what card.

Each player looks at the top card in the pile of fish in front of them. Then they should put the card back on top.

Now for a couple minutes the players can boast about how big or small their fish was that got away.

Now the dealer plays one of his cards next to any one of the piles and then can look at the top card of any of the piles and puts it back. All the players continue to do this until all 5 cards are played by all.

Now add up how many points each player has at each pile of fish; Tens are worth 1, Jacks are 2, Queens are 3, Kings are 4, and Aces are worth 5. The player with the most points gets the fish.
• If there is a tie the player with the next most points wins the fish.
• If there were no cards played at a pile or there is no clear winner of a fish the top fish of the pile is removed from play.

The new dealer is the player to the left of the old dealer.

After all 8 hands are complete. Each player adds up all the fish they caught. The one with the highest score wins.

===== =====

Admin Note: There is a 15th entry in the next page of this thread ... click here to get the second page.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Entry #15 - LUNKER

A trick-taking card game for four to eight players, playing in partners.

Success in a bass fishing tournament depends on finding a "pattern." You must recognize what's making the fish bite today and position yourself to take advantage of it.

In each trick, players strive to ensure their team has played the highest card in the trick's most-played suit.

Players are said to be pursuing a particular strategy, depending on the suit they play:

    * Spades ("Shad"). Find the prey and you'll find the bass. * Clubs ("Weeds"). Track the bass to where they lurk.
    * Diamonds ("Lures"). Clever flashes of colour can tempt the sleepiest fish.
    * Hearts ("Heart"). Finesse and the right attitude have carried many tournament challengers through to victory.
Each hand represents a single tournament.


You need 3 decks. Divide them into:

The Player's Deck. Two normal decks. Remove all face cards, aces and one set of hearts.

The Bite Deck. A small deck containing only the 3-9 in hearts.

The Bass Deck. A deck representing keepers and undersized fish. It includes all face cards from two decks, one Ace of Spades, and all 36 numbered cards from the third deck.

Dealing a Hand

Bite Deck

The dealer reveals 2 cards from the Bite Deck. If the cards are far apart, the fish are active and many will be caught. If the cards are close, the lake has shut down and every hooked fish will be precious.

Cards in your hand that match or fall between the values drawn from the Bite Deck are called "bites." For example, if the Bite Deck shows a 3 and 5, then the 3s, 4s, and 5s in any suit are "bites." Scoring is based on these cards.

Player's Deck

Deal 7 cards to each player.

Partners exchange 2 cards. This gives you some knowledge of your partner's hand.

Playing a trick

The dealer leads any card from his hand. Play proceeds clockwise.

Generally, you may play any card to a trick.

However, if you have a bite in the suit just played, you must follow suit.

For example, the Bite Deck shows 5-7. The dealer leads the 2 of clubs. The next player has no clubs, and plays the 9 of diamonds. The following player has the 4 and 5 of diamonds in his hand. The 5 of diamonds is a bite, so he must play one of these diamonds. He may pick which one.

What's this rule do? It can help you create the majority you want, expose the contents of your opponent's hand, or draw bites to a majority you're winning.

You cannot play a card to a trick if the identical card is already there. If you must, then slough it (play it upsidedown to no effect.)

Changing the Bite Deck

If you play a 2 in any suit, the weather shifts and you must immediately draw one Bite Deck card. Use it to replace one of the current Bite Deck cards.

Everyone will now have different bites in their hand, and the current trick will change in value.

Winning the trick

The person who played the highest card in the majority suit wins the trick.

For example, if three clubs, two hearts and a diamond are played, the highest club takes the trick.

Breaking ties

If there's a tie involving hearts, hearts wins. (There are fewer hearts in the deck, but they're more powerful in a pinch.)

Remaining ties are broken by:

    * the number of bites in the suit; * the sum of the card values in the suit; and finally,
    * traditional suit ranks (spades, diamonds, clubs).

Catching Fish

The winner of the trick draws one card from the Bass Deck for each bite in the trick. Draw one card at a time.

Each team may only keep four fish per hand, and you must decide immediately whether to keep or discard a fish. Think you can do better? Decide without consulting your partner.

Scoring the Hand

After the last trick, each team calculates its total fish weight in ounces. You can't complain about these ridiculous values unless your country uses the metric system.

The base weights are:
Jack-32 oz, Queen-48 oz, King-64 oz (a "lunker").

Suits provide bonus weight: diamonds (+6), hearts (+12), spades (+18).

The Ace of Spades is known as Ole Granddad. It weighs 80 ounces.

The team with the highest total weight wins the hand, scoring 30 points. The team with the heaviest fish scores an additional 10 points. Split the prizes in case of ties.

The game consists of seven hands. Hands 4-6 are known as the "regionals" and point values double. The last hand is the "national" and it's worth triple points.

2-Deck Streamlined Variation

Omit the Bass Deck. Tournaments are won by bites alone.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown July 2006 - New-52: Gone Fishing

Challenge Results

Based upon the votes I received, we have the following results ...

First Place (20 points on 7 votes) -- THE GREAT LAKES FISH OUT! by doho123 (Entry #5)

Second Place (14 points on 6 votes) -- Bait & Tackle by Hamumu (Entry #3) (yes -- he lives! ;-p)

Third Place (13 points on 8 votes) -- King Fish by Gamebot (Entry #2)

The rest of the scoring went as follows ...

  • LUNKER by yogurt (Entry #15) -- 12 points on 4 votes
  • Jack (Dempsey)'s or Better by DanogNellows (Entry #6) -- 10 points on 4 votes
  • Big Game Deep Fishing by DavemanUK (Entry #7) -- 10 points on 5 votes
  • IT WAS THIS BIG by Xaqery (Entry #14) -- 10 points on 4 votes
  • Hook and Sinker by LSJ (Entry #9) -- 9 points on 4 votes
  • FLY vs. FLY by Horoku (Entry #4) -- 7 points on 3 votes
  • Spadefish by Pt314 (Entry #10) -- 5 points on 3 votes
  • Drywater River Fishing Competition by seo (Entry #13) -- 4 points on 2 votes
  • Go Fish! by Scurra (Entry #11) -- 2 points on 1 vote
  • PIROGUE by bluesea (Entry #1) -- 1 point on 1 vote
  • The Big One by Jpwoo (Entry #8) -- 1 point on 1 vote
  • Fishing Quota by Sebastian (Entry #12) -- 1 point on 1 vote
Feel free to continue the critiquing of the entries here:

Please Note: The GDS will be on holiday in August, as we switch over to the new site ... it will return with a fresh Challenge in September.


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