Thursday session: Glory to Rome, Preference, Tarock

Our Thursday session was on Monday this week. That’s summer for you… I would prefer a fixed date, but sure, it’s pretty hard to fix when people have fluctuating schedules.

I started games with a two-player game of Glory to Rome. I’ve now played with two, three, four and five players — that’s fairly rare! The game works well with all different player counts, in my opinion. The poll in Geek recommends the game with all player counts, too. I would say the game is probably the best with four, but the two-player game was fun, too.

I totally dominated the game. I built a lot, collecting plenty of influence. However, when the game was scored, the results were surprising. I won, but it was just 30-24, since Mika was able to collect some bonus points from the vault.

The more I play Glory to Rome, the more I like it.

We had planned to play Dutch InterCity, but Mika was allergic to train games. We split in two, with Mika and Sami playing Glory to Rome while the rest of played cards. We started with Russian Preference. Now I’ve played the game twice, I can easily say it’s one of my favourite card games with three players. It has just the right amount of solid thinking required in the auction and good scope for tactical play.

Unfortunately my luck (and skills) weren’t any better this time. I ended up paying a lot — fortunately we weren’t playing for money. Hannu played an excellent game, as both me and Markus ended up in the red. The final scores were 199, -53 and -146. Once again I collected the largest amount of negative points. Hannu collected most of the contract points. Both me and Hannu played a successful misere contract for 10 points, but unfortunately mine was too late in the game, and I only gained four points for it.

I’m fairly sure we’ll play this one again, as Hannu seemed to like the game a lot.

After Preference, we also tried Bavarian Tarock. It’s not a Tarot game, but a variant designed for regular playing cards. This one had a simple bidding: play with widow or play without widow. No major complications. The play is fairly basic ace-ten-stuff: collect more than half the points in the pack to win. The trick play rules are similar to Pinochle: players must follow suit, then trump, then play any card, and if possible, players must play a higher card to the trick. This extra restriction makes for some nice variation from the norm.

This is a money game at heart and scoring is money-based. Winner of a simple game gets points from the pot, while a winner of widowless game gets points from both opponents. Loser pays to one opponent, while the other takes points from the pot. The amount of points depends on how well you play. It’s simple, yet we managed to play it wrong (we also played the bidding wrong; Tarock has Skat-style bidding, where forehand and middlehand first settle who bids highest and then the dealer competes with the high bidder)…

Anyway, Bavarian Tarock is a fairly simple, yet entertaining game. Not my favourite — with three, my first preference right now is Preference — but I certainly wouldn’t mind playing again. I want revenge, anyway, because once again I was dead last, while Make and Hannu were pretty close competing for the victory when we had to quit.

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