Mit List und Tücke
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Have you ever wanted to bite someone in the knees just for "fun"? Then this game is for you. In this malicious game, you never take a trick alone, you must always share it. Here you want to keep the best cards for yourself and give your opponent the worthless ones -- but you might not know which ones they want!
- 84 cards
The sixties were proliferated by pop groups whose (usually) fleeting success was built upon one hit, and several successive singles with the same tune and similar titles. So, the Swaggers would score with ``My Baby May Leave Me Tomorrow (But I Pray She Doesn't)'' and follow it up with ``She Left (But I Pray She Comes Home)'' and ``I Pray She Returns To Tomorrow (Now That She's Left)''. Gaming provides a similar opportunity. We now have game series built around a word -- Elf (Alan Moon), Bean (Uwe Rosenberg), Settler (Klaus Teuber) or notion. The latter is best illustrated by Klaus Palesch, whose manipulation of the fundamental constituent of a deck of cards has left me agog. And agog is not a state I often find myself in.
You will remember Herr Palesch's Hattrick as an unremarkable looking and sounding game which has become our house closer of choice. The denouement is simple. Try to collect one suit only and from the total number of cards in this suit subtract the total of the other accumulated cards. With Mit List und Tücke you try to collect two suits, multiply the two totals together and divide by the number you have picked up in the others. Adding and subtracting has been replaced by multiplying and dividing, but other changes mean that the two games are more different than that might make it sound.
The suit of the card led to a trick is trumps and a trick consists of one card from each player. You are not obliged to follow suit, but a trick can contain at most three of the four colours. The highest trump earns half the cards rounded up (eg, three in a five player game). The person who played the card chooses which to take. The player of the lowest non-trump colour receives the balance of cards and leads to the next trick.
Stacks are kept open and so it is easy to see who wants what and, just as importantly, who wants to avoid what.
MLUT works as well as it does, which is extremely well, because you are always anxiously awaiting a card to add to a growing pile or trying to avoid the unwelcome extra cards in the divisor stack that will bring your score for the hand crashing down. More anxiety is caused by the fact that for the first few tricks you are unlikely to be sure which are the best colours to go for and the mechanics mean that you cannot be dealt a ``bad'' hand, a sometime criticism of Hattrick. High cards, low cards, long suits, short suits: all can be dealt with if you get it right.
If Palesch is able to add further tweaks to this system, then he will be the next recipient of the ``Tarzan'' prize (for manipulation of a single idea) currently held by Klaus Teuber.