Friday, August 20, 2010

Euchre vs Spades - The Suspense

Had a fun week of playing cards at lunch.  Heck, I always have a fun week of playing cards at lunch.  A couple days in particular though highlighted a sharp divide between Spades and Euchre for me.


My team was down significantly.  We had to make two loners in a row, or a loner without help.  (We play 6-player bid euchre)  My partner calls a regular loner, so I overcall with a no-help.  I get 7 of my tricks, but need the eighth one to fly.  I have a lowly 9, someone keeps a king and nails me.

Now, did I do anything wrong here?  Nope, not at all.  Was there any thought at all to playing my cards?  Nope, not at all.  Was it still fun?  Yea.  But on to spades.


Today we come to the last hand and our opponents are up by two tricks.  My partner makes a huge bid, forcing the other team to bid Nil to stand a chance.  His partner now has to not take all the bags and cover him.  So he's forced to somehow walk a thin line of playing high enough to cover, but not high enough to take slop.

Turns out the covering partner had to trump in one two many times.  Late in the hand I lead a 4 of spades, the covering opponent throws off, and my partner plays the 3 of spades.  The Nil bidder was forced to take it with a 5 of spades.

Now, again, he didn't do anything wrong.  And I wouldn't even say his opponent did anything wrong.  But somehow it was just a much more enjoyable experience.  Maybe some of that is because I won... but I hope that I'm at least somewhat objective about it.  No, I think the real difference was the conflicting goals that the covering Partner had in Spades.  He had a real challenge set out for him.  Two mutually exclusive goals of not taking too many tricks but not letting his partner take any tricks.  It just squeezed a lot more skill and interesting decisions into the game for me.

Still, too bad 6-player spades sounds rather crappy.  Oh well, on to next week!


  1. Y'know, Sheamus, now that you're a game designer, perhaps you could take a stab at designing a 6 player partnership trick-taker that you'll like. Just a thought....

  2. Hah, indeed Sean. I could give that a go.

    I think the real problem is that you just don't want to use so many cards that hand size gets interesting with 6 players. If 6 players each had 11+ cards, hands would just take forever.

    So I personally think it's more of a game style limitation instead of an issue with the games we play. 6-players is just going to be rough.

    Although, we did do some Shangyou the other day, and that was a fun change of pace.

    1. 6-9 players is ideal for oh hell. My family plays it ALL the time.


Behave. Your mamma could read this.