Bettler und Diebe
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Three crafty card games full of tricks -- Beggars and Thieves, Cutthroat and "Snear". Thief cards are worth more than the lowly beggar cards. You need them for winning and collect them for points. But don't get caught with a good hand during a "safety play" -- if "junk" is played, you must have the lowest score and then it's almost impossible.
According to the game variants, you can compete alone or have a partner for reinforcement. However nobody -- neither you nor your opponents -- knows entirely who they can trust until the partner card is played... and then it can be too late! The winner is the first to reach the predetermined score.
I bought Beggars and Thieves once a long time agofor a couple bucks, and just recently found it in my game collection, reacquainting myself with it. I was mildly surprised to see that it is being re-released in a German ediition.
It is a partnership game, best with four players, but with alternate rules allowing from 2 to 5 players. It is not a terribly innovative game, but here is a brief explanation of the workings.
There are three suits of beggar cards, each identical with 8 cards. Certain higher cards in each suit have point values associated with them. There is also a long suit of 14 cards, the theives, which also serves as the trump suit. There are also poins associated with many of these cards, with the higher values associated with the mid-range numbers.
After the cards are dealt out, The players each have a chance to take the lead, and therefore be the player to score points. The player doing so can exchange cards with the kitty of leftover cards, possibly stashing away some valuable points. Play proceeds as any normal trick-taking game, with one exception. The leader is partnered with the player with the six of theives, and each will win or lose together. Since it is not known who has this card until it makes its appearance, there is a certain amount of bluff that goes on as players try to convince the leader who his partner might be.
After the last trick is taken, each player tallies the points he or she took, and the partners' totals are added. Points are scored for taking the most tricks, with higher points for higher totals. Partnerships change from hand to hand.
Nothing overly special here, but nothing too bad either. A nice little addition to your collection if you like trick-taking games.