I also tried Medina. The way they’ve done it is much better than most of the games there, the user interface looks pretty much like the real thing (but, of course, with less wood). But I’ve come to realize that Medina is not for me. I don’t know why. It’s dry, that’s true, but I do like abstract games. There’s something in the waiting game that it is that turns me off. It’s a pity, because I’d like to enjoy it.
Then I played a quick game of Ra — nothing special there, except that I did fairly well. Then came the main treat: I got to play Sticheln. My friend placed an order at Adam Spielt and I joined in, buying Sticheln and Wizard, mostly because they were cheap. The order hasn’t been sent yet, so I tried to see if I could get to play at least Sticheln before it’s confirmed.
Well, at least Sticheln will stay on the order. It’s basically a fairly simple trick-taking game, played with a deck consisting of six suits with numbers from 0-15 (reduced if needed so that every player will get 15 cards). Every suit except the one led is trump. Highest card takes the trick (except zeros — zero can only take a trick when all players play zeros). Each card you take is worth one point.
But there’s a twist! Each player chooses, secretly, a pain or misery suit after cards are dealt but before the play begins. Each card in this suit is worth its face value — in negative points! Thus, a misery 12 will negate quite a few tricks if it ends to you. Of course, other players, such friendly people as they are, will use every opportunity to force you take high misery cards. Simple but nasty.
So, I played a game, consisting of five hands. I think every hand except the first had the same order of players, I was in the middle each time. Thus, I ended up being in the middle. Or perhaps I was last, can’t remember for sure — I do remember I took a heavy beating in the last round, even though I wasn’t in the lead. That’s unfair.
The tactics aren’t obvious, but still easy enough. Simple and familiar game with a clever twist. That’s what I’d expect from a cheap card game and that’s what you get with Sticheln. Not to mention getting a highly useful deck of cards! It can be used as a standard deck for most games, you can play Battle Line or Lost Cities with it…
But now I’m going to take a good book and a well-earned bottle of apple cider and retire to my bedroom. See you later!