I don't get as much of a chance to playtest the trick-taking games as I'd like, but I've been thinking about some possible rules changes. I have a post about possibilities for Chicane over in the game's forum, but I've also been thinking about Ace Trump.
Ace Trump was one of the first two games I invented for the Decktet, but I ultimately grew unhappy with it. The crosscutting suits made it very hard to tell how good your cards were, even ignoring trump. Knowing how good 8s or 9s are requires counting cards for almost every suit, which is just too much. If I lead a 9, for example, then there are two Crowns (one for each suit) that can beat it. An 8 can be topped by one or two 9s and two Crowns.
Moreover, it is possible for there to be ties. If someone leads a number card, two later players can follow suit with higher cards or the same rank - two Crowns, for example. So there had to be a rule for resolving ties, and I never found an elegant solution.
Recently, I played the game Xactika, which inspired this possibility: When a player leads a card, they pick one of its suits. Subsequent players must follow that specific suit if they can. The high card that follows suit wins (assuming no trumps are played). Trumps work as per Ace Trump, so it may still be possible to follow suit and trump in.
This makes 8s and 9s better. If I play a 9 (the Diplomat, say) I can call Moons and so there is only one Crown that can play over it.
This eliminates ties. Only one card at each rank can follow suit. (Except if Pawns or Courts are included, but I don't mind if the extended deck requires new rules.)
Any feedback would be welcome.