Thursday session: Cego, Citadels

Yesterday’s session was the last one before the Christmas break is over and we can return to university. So, card games (not that we don’t play card games at the university). We started with Cego, a curious German tarot game.

In Cego, the widow (or blind) is 11 cards. The first bid is solo: you play with your own cards. You can top that with a bid of Cego, where you discard everything but two cards from your hand and pick up the blind as your hand. The higher bids add some restrictions to the cards you keep: either you keep only one card, one weak suit card, two weak suit cards, two weak suit cards from different suits or the pagat, which you must then immediately play on the first trick.

So, solo bids are like any other game, but the other bids you make with hands you most certainly wouldn’t bid up in other tarot games. Hand with four kings would spell trouble in many tarot games — in Cego that’s a killer hand, you can bid real high with a hand like that, even against someone’s solo. This reversal makes things interesting. I’m not thrilled by Cego, but it’s certainly something I’ll enjoy to play every now and then to get some fresh variation.

Our numbers had grown to six. We had a lack of six-player games, until I remembered that Troggu, another tarot variant, supports up to eight. Too bad I didn’t remember the rules: I’ve read and even translated them, but that was weeks ago. I came up with something — well, I checked, and it’s most certainly not Troggu, but it was certainly Tarot and actually worked pretty well.

Take a 78-card pack, deal 12 cards per player and six as the widow. If someone chooses to play, they choose a partner by calling a king, pick up the widow and discard six. Then play, with the regular Tarot rules (f, t,r). Use standard scores, count in threes, so there’s 78 points in the pack (I like that: 78 cards, 78 points). If declarer’s team gets more than half, declarer scores 2 points and the partner scores 1. If they lose, they lose as much.

Simple, but works. One addition is needed: when nobody bids, playing misére is of course the right thing to do. In misére, player with most points scores -2, perhaps -1 for the second most. That’s it, there’s a quick and simple Tarot game for you. Works well with six!

Citadels box

We played few rounds, then switched to Citadels. Last time I played Citadels was in 2003 (looking at my blog, it was at FinDipCon V with William Attia). Well what do you know! Eiska’s game had the expansion, so there were some new districts and we used two new characters (Abbot and Diplomat, both quite nice).

This didn’t change my opinion of the game, really: nice, but… not bad, in any case, and there aren’t that many games that work well with six players, so considering the situation it was a good choice. But it’s not a game I’d actively want to play.

We played a round of Fairy Tale, after which I had to go. Board games next week, that much is certain. But Agricola, Cuba or Age of Steam? Who knows…

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