Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tuesday March 14th - The Bottle Imp/Der Dreizehnte Holzwurm

Originally uploaded by coljen.
This week as it was my choice I thought we would have a change and play some trick taking card games. I took three along with me, David & Goliath, Flaschenteufel (The Bottle Imp) and Der Dreizehnte Holzwurm (The 13th Woodworm). The Bottle Imp is a game I bought at my first visit to Essen in 2004, this is the first time it’s hit the table. Garry and myself hadn’t played before, Steve had played a couple of times and Richard had played it too according to Steve, but when he arrived he said that he hadn’t so there!!

As trick taking games go I think is right there at the top of the pile. I had read a bit about the game on the geek and was looking forward to playing. Basically you have 37 cards, 36 of them divided into three colours, blue, yellow and red. The yellow cards are predominately low numbers, red are high and blue are more middle range. The nineteen card starts on the table under the bottle imp, a nice wooden bottle shaped dobber. The cards are shuffled and dealt equally, with four players that’s 9 cards each. Then you select one card to discard under the imp, one card you pass left and one card you pass right. The four cards under the imp become the trick won by the player who ends up with the bottle imp after the last hand and these count as minus points. So the player to the left of the dealer leads and plays goes clockwise, you must follow suit (colour) if you can, if you can’t you can lay anything. If all the cards played are above the value of the bottle imp (nineteen on the first hand), the highest card wins the trick regardless of colour. If any cards are below the value of the imp, the highest card under the value of the imp wins the trick. That card becomes the new value of the imp and is placed in front of the player with the dobber on top. As you can see the value of the imp will gradually fall and getting rid of any low cards you have gets increasingly harder. If after the last trick you end up with the bottle you do not count any cards from tricks you have won, normally these count as positive points, but you take the imps trick and count those as minus points.

We decided to play first to 150 points, and I was looking good for the win on 137 points. But then Garry, who was to my left, passed me the one card three hands on the bounce. Doh! Garry played the perfect game, managing to avoid ending up with the bottle imp altogether. I really like this game, there’s a bit of depth to the play but it plays smooth and fast.

Final Scores (running total of hands)

Steve -18 -2 -2 22 0 32 61 68 49
Richard 32 15 -4 -20 -16 19 43 49 90
Colin 0 51 75 106 137 117 99 87
Garry 11 20 41 62 82 82 107 139 155

Next up was Der Dreizehnte Holzwurm. I have had this game a while and played it a couple of times. The cards are in suits of six colours (red, blue, yellow, green, purple and grey). The cards are numbered from +10 down to -11. There is a -13 card that is set aside. The rest are shuffled and five are dealt off the top, these are laid out lowest to highest. The rest are dealt equally. Basically on your turn you lay a card to a trick on the table or start a new trick. You have five tricks on the table (not grey). The grey cards are wild and can be laid on any colour. The positive and minus values are not considered when you lay the card only the number. The card you lay must higher than the number of cards already in the trick. If it is equal or lower then you have to pick up all the cards in the trick and the highest card from the cards previously set aside. These go into your hand to be used again. That is it really, the game ends when one player lays his last card or the -13 card is won. If you get rid of all your cards you get 30 points. Otherwise you count the values of all the cards you have in your hand at the end, this is when the minus cards count against your score. Again an interesting game but not as good as the The Bottle Imp.

Final Scores (we played 2 hands)
Colin 29 + 18 = 47
Richard 9 = 37 = 46
Garry -9 + -28 = -37
Steve 50 + 10 = 60

We had run out of time so no time for David & Goliath, maybe next time.

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