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Auf falscher Fährte
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This game reached an honorable 3rd place in the Hippodice Design Competition 2000 under the title "Drunter oder Drber" (Over or Under). A classic trick-taking card game with a few twists: you must follow suit, highest cards wins the trick, and a Joker changes the color of trump. The game becomes interesting because players must suppress a card before the game. The sum of suppressed cards determines the type of round played, either Plus or Minus--that is whether the winner is the player who took the most tricks or one with the fewest tricks. Following the second trick one of hidden cards is revealed after each subsequent trick, slowly revealing what the players are playing after. The game proves once again that small changes can create new interesting variations of the classic mechanism.
Average Rating: 4 in 1 review
My family loves trick-taking games. This game introduced a real challenge: should you be trying to take tricks, or avoiding them?
It puts a real twist on the strategy. I often found myself assuming that I should take tricks, only to be surprised later in the hand.
Interestingly, once the true goal is discovered, the player who is currently losing may change the trump suit. This makes each hand exciting down to the final card.
The illustrations on the cards are bizarre, and yet strangely intriguing. And for reasons beyond my comprehension, we enjoy the game much more when everybody speaks in a bad German accent. 'Sprechen sie deutch?'
Four colored suits with cards numbered 0 to 12 are shuffled and dealt. Play starts with everyone discarding a card facedown, influenced by their expectation of winning many or few tricks. Shuffle the discards into a pile. With red as trump, traditional trick-taking rounds follow. A facedown card is revealed at the start of the second and subsequent rounds. The total of the discards announces whether most or fewest tricks wins! You might get back on course four tricks before the end--the trailing player can change the trump color. Fast and fun!
Will you win with the most or fewest tricks? This is exactly the question posed by the game designer. The title is "On the wrong track" in English and arises from the uncertainty as to whether the aim of a round of cards is to lose or win tricks.
The cards are straightforward -- four sets of 0-12 in four colours -- and you begin by placing one of your cards in the middle of the table. In the four-player game all cards are dealt, so there is perfect information about the cards apart from the cards that you and your opponents have just played into the middle. After the second trick, these cards are revealed one at a time at the end of each round, until the last trick of these cards is known. The value of these cards determines whether everyone is trying to win or lose tricks. For example, in the 4 player game if these cards total over 23 points, the round is about winning tricks; below this, the round is won by the fewest number of tricks. By the time you know of course, you are into the sixth trick, so you may play conservatively, by picking up one trick or more aggressively by trying to win or lose tricks. Of course, by going for one extreme, you will probably have played a 0 or 1 (to make the chances higher that the face down cards add up to 23 or lower, but this will have weakened your hand). The reverse is true for high cards.
Each round lasts only a few minutes, when the winner of the round scores points and the other places score a lower number of points.
A final twist in the game is that after 8 tricks the person in last place can change trumps to another colour. If all this sounds a touch random, I'd agree, but since the game is simple and quick, it has a certain charm and you feel that the next round may see a change in your fortunes. This produces a level of addictiveness that will ensure Auf falsche Fährte joins the group of card games that fill the opening or closing slot of many game sessions. Light, but fun.