Texas Showdown is a very good trick-taking game for five or six players. The point is to avoid taking tricks. The main twist in the game is the suit-following rules: you have to follow suit, but if you can’t, you play anything, and other players can then follow your suit. The trick is won by the highest card in the most common colour in the trick. This can surprise players!
There’s a new edition coming from Rio Grande Games with a sailing theme and the name Seas of Strife. This edition introduces a new rule, which we tried yesterday. It was a blast, and I recommend everyone to start using the new rule.
Originally, the highest card in each suit had a special power: if you win with the highest card and get the lead, you can choose who leads to the next trick. This can be useful, as you generally don’t want to lead tricks. However, the new rules drop this rule and replace it with something more delicious. Now the highest card in the suit cancels that suit in the trick.
When a suit is cancelled, it is ignored completely. If a trick has three blue cards and two orange cards, the highest blue would take it. If the highest blue card is the top card of the blue suit, the blues are cancelled, and the trick goes to the highest orange card in the trick. If all the cards in the suit are the same colour or every colour gets cancelled, then the trick is played as usual.
This leads to delightful situations. You can take a trick with the lowest-value card of the game if all other suits are cancelled! Nothing is safe anymore! I will no longer play the game with the original rules; I will insist on the new rule. It was good enough to make me change my rating from 8 to 9.