Saturday, May 02, 2009

A Complicated Card game

I grew up in a card playing family. We enjoyed Whist, Gin Rummy, Bridge and many other games but the perennial favourite was the traditionally Irish game of Twenty Five. Twenty five is a trick taking game like bridge or whist but the ranking of the cards is quite bizarre, it goes like this:

Trump Cards (Trump suit is selected by turn of card at the start of each round)
5 of Trumps
Jack of Trumps (more generally called the Knave)
Ace of Hearts
Ace of Trumps (bonus of allowing the holder to "rob" the card turned over to indicated trumps)
King of Trumps
Queen of Trumps
The remaining trumps in natural order (10,9, 8 ...) for red suits or in reverse order (2, 3, 4 ...) for black suits. ("Highest in red, Lowest in black).

Non Trump Suits
King
Queen
Jack
The remaining cards natural order (10,9, 8 ...) for red suits or in reverse order (A, 2, 3, 4 ...) for black suits. ("Highest in red, Lowest in black"). The Ace of diamonds is therefore worthless unless diamonds are trumps and is often referred to as the worst card in the pack.

Joker In some parts of Ireland one joker is added to the pack and it counts as the highest trump card outranking even the five of trumps. Most players however refuse to play with the joker believing that it signifies the devil and will bring bad luck.

Twenty five is a very enjoyable fast paced game that combines skill and luck and makes a great party game. You can get a more complete explanation of the rules here.

Why am I giving such a long explanation of a complicated card game I mastered in my youth? Well ... it's because I feel a strong need for personal affirmation after discovering that I can't make head nor tail of the trading card game built into Free Realms? Are all these trading card games so complicated with similarly arbitrary rules?

I really like the demolition derby though.

3 comments:

Martin Richard said...

I if hadn't played other TCGs in the past I probably would have given up on the cards in Free Realms.. The "tutorial" could be a LOT better. They picked bits and pieces from other existing games for a lot of things.

First you have your ressources, which in some other games would be called mana. You can add one a turn to your, either from a card that is there for that purpose (forgot the name, the icon is a chest), or any card turned down. This means you always have more resources to work with each turn, so you can't be "mana screwed" like in Magic The Gathering if you don't draw any/enough "lands" to cast your other spells or creatures.

Then you have a deployment phase - you can "summon" creatures from your hand using your resources. There's only 3 creature slots available, but you could replace an older/smaller critter with a bigger/more powerful one down the road.

After this you have the hunting/combat phase. If a creature doesn't have an enemy in front of it, it simply goes hunting, and scores one point. If there's an enemy in front, there's a fight.

During the fight you can play "trick" cards. You resource pool is now used for trick points.. It doesn't matter how many resources you used to summon critters, it kinda resets for that phase, so just count the cards. 5 resource cards = 5 star points to use for tricks.

Added to that, you also turn a card to add to your creature's power, adding a bit of randomness to the calculations.. Some cards have gem triggers to boost even more, etc. If you beat the other creature, you score a point.

First player with 12 points wins.

That's in short how I understand the FR Card Game ;)

Tesh said...

It sounds easier than MTG, anyway. I do love that game, but its ruleset can be pretty byzantine.

I'm looking forward to spending mroe time with FR's card game.

...but I do still love me some good Rage or Rook with the family 'round the table. :)

mbp said...

I must put my hands up and admit I have never played MTG. I assume a lot of this would make more sense it I had. Your explanation certainly gives me a a better idea of what was going on in the tutorial Martin. I may give it another go.