|Designed by||Kenny VenOsdel|
This game is a work in progress but I believe it is near completion. If you try it and have feedback please contact me on BGG. Username is kvenosdel. Thanks
Players - 2
Time - 20 minutes
Components - 1 Extended Decktet
Growing up with a twin is no laughing matter. It's hard to concentrate on the historical essays you are reading when the sound of maniacal laughing is always floating through the windows. You never understood why your sibling liked burning ants with a looking glass anyway. Those creatures are much more interesting alive and under your study.
Now, to make matters worse, you are both being set up with your own dominion! Mother should know that you may be ready for that but your brother's kingdom is only going to suffer! Didn't you hear him say "I think I'll need a bigger lens" as he gazed greedily at his subjects during your joint coronation? You can't let this happen. You can't let [i]him[/i] rule…
Suzerain is a 2 player trick taking game about a sibling rivalry for ultimate control over a kingdom. Both players start with nearly identical hands and will play tricks to attempt to claim the best cards. Cards that are played and cards that are gained are placed into a player's private discard pile. When a player's hand gets exhausted they pick up their discard pile and it becomes their new hand.
Remove the aces from the deck and randomly deal each player 3 of them. One player starts with the 2, 3, and 4 that contain a Moon. The other player takes the 2, 3, and 4 that contain a Wyrm. These are their starting hands, they begin with all six available to use. Return the other cards to the deck and shuffle it. Place it near the middle of the table and reveal the top two cards of the deck. The non-dealer leads the first trick.
Each turn players will play to tricks. A trick consists of each player playing a single card to the center of the table. The player who has the lead will play the first card and the other player must follow one of the suits shown on that card if possible. It is not necessary to follow both. If they cannot follow suit they may play any card but they will not win the trick no matter that card's rank. The player who played the higher card (if the suits were followed) wins the trick.
Regardless of who won the trick, whichever player played the highest ranked card leads the next trick. It is therefore possible to not follow suit but play a higher rank card, losing this trick but leading the next. If both cards are the same rank the player who lead the current trick leads again.
Winning a trick
The player who won the trick must claim one of the face up cards or a random card from the top of the deck, and place it in their discard pile. Discard piles are kept face down and are not open information but you may look at your own at any time. When a face down card is claimed, the player claiming it may look at it first but does not need to reveal it to the other player.
Losing a trick
The player who lost the trick must claim one of the face up cards and place it in their discard pile. They may not choose to take a random card. After this they may discard 1 or 2 cards from their hand. They do not need to show the other player what they are discarding but should communicate how many cards they are discarding, even if it is zero.
Winning the Pawns and Courts
If a player claims a Pawn or a Court it gets set to the side, it does not enter their deck. Anytime after taking a Pawn or Court (including immediately) they may remove a single card from their hand that shares at least one suit with the Pawn or Court. This card may be kept secret if a player wishes. Any cards removed this way are returned to a players deck at the end of the game for scoring.
Clean up and Redrawing
After both players have taken their card they make sure to place all cards gained and any played that trick into their discard piles. The player who lost the trick must discard 1 or 2 cards or announce that they do not wish to discard anything. They need not reveal the discarded cards to the other player. Next, turn over cards from the deck until there are 2 face up cards again. If a player has no cards left in hand at this point they pick up their entire discard pile; it is their new hand and play continues as before.
End of the Game and Scoring
The game ends when the final two cards in the deck are claimed. Players then reveal their decks, sort them by rank, and score points. All ranked cards from 5 to Crown that you have a majority in are worth 1 point. If you have all the cards of that rank you score 3 points. For example: There are 3 cards of rank 5. If you own two of them you will score 1 point, if you own all 3 you score 3.
Pawns and Aces are scored together. Each of your aces is worth one point for every Pawn you have that shares a suit with it. Therefore, aces can be worth 0-2 points.
Courts are scored with 2's, 3's, and 4's. For every suit you have on a 2-4 card that matches a Court you score 1 point. If a card matches 2 suits on a Court it is worth 2 points. Therefore, each card of rank 2-4 can be worth a maximum of 4 points.
The player with the highest score wins. If tied, whoever has more 5's wins.
None yet but I'm toying with the idea of a few major changes to the trick playing to make different versions of the game you could play. I won't be doing any work on them until this base version is finished though. Here's the ideas as spoilers and to keep them recorded in case I forget what they were.
1. Escalation Mode allows multiple cards to be played to a trick as long as they share a single suit between them. In this version only the winner gains a card but whenever you pick up your discard pile the other person draws a random card and puts it in their discard pile. This creates tension between winning a trick and playing your hand out too soon. It would possibly need suit restrictions removed or at least altered.
2. Deckbuilding - Players have a hand size of 3-6 (undecided on amount until playtests can happen) and will redraw only when they play or discard their last card. When you gain a card it gets placed into your draw pile. Before you draw you always shuffle that pile. If the draw pile runs out and you still need to draw to reach your hand size you shuffle your discard pile and put it in your draw. This obviously only works since you usually discard 1-2 cards when you lose a trick. The thing that I think makes it potentially interesting is that gained cards will be drawn right away but then get diluted into the starting hand eventually.
Thanks to PD for suggesting the name Suzerain.
Entry for the 2013 2 player PnP contest: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/941949/wip-2-player-pnp-design-contest-suzerain-playt