Mü & More
English language edition
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from 8 customer reviews
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A collection of five different card games from Doris & Frank:
Mü: a tactical, trick-taking game for 4-6 players.
The Last Panther: anti trick-taking game for 3-8 players.
Wimmlün: trick-taking game where each player estimates how many tricks he will take for 3-6 players.
Rummü: card laying game for 3-6 players.
Safarü: card catching game for 2-4 players.
I have to concur whole-heartedly with every 5-star review of Mu. The shifting alliances, the bidding structure (with increasingly steep goals as the bids escalate) ... this game is as good as everyone has said or better.
During a recent D&D session, the DM introduced this game as 'a giantish card game.' By the end of the first hand, we were shouting in surprise and dismay as the play unfolded. The bidding became ruthless and a mini-game of Diplomacy seemed about to break out as alliances were formed. This game is fast to play, quick to learn, subtle in its depth and rewards both alliance-builders and aggressive players.
Outstanding. And the cards are beautiful, too - lovely to look at and coated well, so they should be fairly durable.
Maybe I am not a trick-taking malcontent, but the truth is that, other than spades (and Frank's Zoo for those of you who think it counts), I am just not into trick taking games. Sieben Siegel was okay, Great Dalmuti was a Great Disappointment, Rage was one of the biggest disappointments of my gaming career, and so on.
And then there was Mu.
Why do I like spades? I like the partnerships; I like calling bids; I like the ability to really gun for big points (in a Nil or Double Nil). So Mu took all those things I do like in trick-taking added even more levels of strategy and then knocked me over with its depth!
In Mu there are 5 suits. And though numbered from 0-9, there are two 1's and two 7's in each color. That's a little different -- but I've only just begun. The big change is that the trump changes from hand to hand! Big deal, you say? What if I told you that players BID to choose trump? And that there are two trumps? And that there are partners, but they change constantly...and you advertise to become a partner...and that the two trumps combine for a 'supertrump'...and chief has to make a sliding target depending on his bid with a bonus rigged to how scarce his trump is...AY CARAMBA! Let me catch my breath ... *pant, pant* ... and cover that *gasp* a bit more slowly.
First off players will bid cards face-up in front of them. You still get to use them in the game, but what you are doing is advertising what you have in your hand and aiming to become chief or vice-chief. The player with the highest bid (most cards bid) is chief, next most cards bid is vice chief. First the vice chief picks a trump (color or number), then the chief picks a trump (color, or number, or nothing). The two trump combine into one supersuit, in which the chief's trump trumps the vicechief's trump. Then the chief looks at all the advertised cards, and chooses a player that he thinks will help him most (he'll probably being looking at the score too, and since he doesn't want to share bonus points with the leader, chief will often pick a lower scoring player.)
Now the game begins. Players may play cards from their hand or from their bid (bid cards stay face up the whole hand), but many normal-trick taking conventions apply. Players still must follow suits if at all possible. Because of the 'supersuit', if vice trump is led, then trump can be played, and vice versa, and if a number was called as a trump, it no longer belongs to its 'suit' color, but instead belongs to the supersuit color.
Players are still trying to get points for themselves (in the form of small triangle 'pips' on the cards, making cards worth 0, 1, or 2 points each) by winning the trick with the most valuable card. So Red 5 beats Red 1, 2, and 4. But if trump is Blue over 5, and Red 5 is led, with Red 2, Black 5, and Blue 0 following, then Blue 0 (being chief trump) beats Black 5 (which was vice trump).
At the end of the round, the chief and his partner total their points to see if they made their target point value. This is another ineteresting part of the game because the target changes depending on how many cards the chief bid. The more cards he bid the higher his target goes. But he has even more flexibility. Not only does he choose his partner, and he chooses the chief trump, also, in choosing the chief trump he also is choosing what sort of bonus he qualifies for. If he picks a color as trump his bonus points will be minimum, then 1's & 7's, then any other number, with NO trump being the way he can get the most bonus points. So the scarcer his trump call, the more points he gets, and the more cards he bid, the higher his target, but ALSO the higher his bonus with that already tiered bonus scale. (If this seems way too confusing, fear not! The game comes with easy to use reference cards too.) The cheif can also lose points by missing his target, and there is a sliding scale: the more points he misses by the greater the penalty which, appropriately, is not levied on the innocent partner of the chief.
This game is tight and tense and tricky. And I like it a lot. There is so much going on in the bidding round AND the trump call round AND the actual gameplay that players will have to tread carefully. This is a trump game I can enjoy!
And that's not all! It comes with rules for 4 more games! The best of which are:
Safaru: A very light card game for 2-4 players. Players can claim cards in the center of the table in one of three ways. The bonuses and penalties seem a bit too high, but still fun.
Wimmuln: Another interesting trick taking game where players get to make 2 bids one what they think they can get and depending on how they arrange those bids (for they must be played out of a players hands secretly) then can score bonus points.
The other two are mediocre, but Mu is so good that if you enjoy trick taking games, you need no other reason to buy it. It's a bit confusing for light gamers, and would be WAY over the heads of children, but for trick-takers and card gamers around the world, this is a lot of fun to play. Perhaps the best game of its type.
Recently I reviewed Xactica, calling it a one-trick eight trick pony. Mu & Mehr is the antithesis of that game, in that it does not revel in its own cleverness to little effect. Xactica used unusual cards which belonged to all four suits and then built a mediocre game around them. Mu takes the basics of trick-taking and creates a game that feels both classic and new and original at the same time, with a plethora of interesting mechanics.
The deck consists of five suits, which changes tactics right there. Bidding involves actually showing cards from your hand, which makes for very interesting choices. The choice of partners is more interesting than in standard games like bridge, and the choice of trumps is equally novel.
This is an excellent game, no question, and stands up remarkably well in comparison to games like bridge. If this game received as much attention as bridge does I could easily see it spawning Mu clubs and tournaments. It really is that good.