Another Thursday session, this time with plenty of people: we had three games running at the same time. It was good, because that meant I was able to skip Bang!. Instead I played Yspahan. The game included two newbies and Olli, who has played about 500 games of the PC version. Now, guess the order? Indeed Olli won (with over 120 points), I was second and the newbies were left in the end.
Olli did play well — he screwed me out of caravan points in the end of the game in a particularly beautiful way. There was nothing I could do. Well played, indeed. Yspahan continues to please me — it’s a fine game.
Slovenian Tarok was played next, for few rounds. Tero made history by scoring positive points in the end, whopping four points. So, at least some of us are improving. It’s definitely one of my favourite trick-taking games, even if I can’t play it well. One day, one day…
In the end, we had five, which called for Briscola Bastardo. A 40-card pack is distributed to the players, who bid to become a declarer. Declarer promises to score points (out of 120 possible, it’s an ace-ten game), gets to name trumps and calls for a partner.
What makes the game completely whacky is the freedom of play: by Parlett’s code, Briscola is ftr — no restrictions at all. For a scientific sort of game it’s way too chaotic. I didn’t like it — the free play works well and is a fresh way to play, when you have the three-card hands of basic Briscola, but this — well, at least now I know why most games have at least the requirement to follow suit.
So, five-player Briscola is out — I’d still play the three-player game, I’m willing to try the two-player game when an opportunity comes and I definitely want to try the four-player version.