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six handed hearts

when i was in hawaii, there were six people interested in playing hearts, so we all played hearts together.

beacuse it was six handed, i ended up taking out four cards to make sure that everyone had the same number of cards, leaving 48 cards in the deck and 8 cards to each player. i also modified the passing rule to make it a 2 card pass instead of a 3 card pass.

as we played, we discovered that the game turned out to be vastly different than when you play four handed; in your hand it was fairly typical to only have 2 or 3 of a particular suit in your hand, and since six cards were eliminated per trick, that meant that each suit would usually only last for two rounds before being eliminated. it was also very easy to eliminate a suit in your hand by passing, and it was a coin-toss whether or not you'd get that suit back.

resultingly, the game a) took longer because the 26 points had more people to distribute to, b) the strategy of passing was much different than in a four-handed game, c) relative position was much much more important than in a four-handed game, as in you only ever wanted to win a trick or have the person on your left win a trick, and you never wanted the person on your right to win a trick, and d) the actual gameplay was less in the control of the player as it was easy to trap them into a situation where they were forced to play a particular card.

as we were playing, i started to contemplate ideas of making the game more playable for six people. the easy answer is "use more than one deck", but that brings into it some logistical issues of ties and how to deal with them. push comes to shove, that may be the only option, but the more ideal solution involves using six suits instead of four, including [blue diamonds and green clubs. The other piece of that is to maybe make one of the other suits double points, as in you would make hearts 1 point each and red dimaonds 2 points each. (assuming you're not using the jack of diamonds rule. i chose red diamonds because then it makes it easier to think that "all red cards are points". maybe the blue diamond jack would be negative 10.)

but four color decks are hard to come by, so the other solution i think is to use maybe six suits by using three suits from one deck and three suits from another (or six like-backs; i say three and three just to make it harder to count cards based on card backs). i'd probably make it two sets of clubs, two sets of spades, one set of diamonds, and one set of hearts. i'd keep the diamonds double points. maybe i'd take out one of the queen of spades and replace it with a joker, which can be played at any time to win a trick. this also messes up the jack of dimaonds rule, but i can't figure out a good way around that.

anyway, just a thought. time for bed. big couple of weeks ahead.

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dr4b
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
Nono, two decks is TOTALLY the way to go. Ever play "Cancellation Hearts"? It works with 6, is best with 7 people. Two decks, and on a trick, if the same exact card is played, it's cancelled for both players... for the purposes of taking the trick, but not for counting for points. So imagine with 7 people:

Person 1 leads the King of Spades.
Person 2 plays the Queen of Spades.
Person 3 plays an Ace of spades.
Person 4 smiles at person 3 and ALSO plays an Ace of spades. The King is now high.
Person 5 plays a 4 of spades.
Person 6 smiles at person 1, giggles at person 2, and plays the King of Spades. So that Queen is now high...
...until Person 7 also plays a Queen of Spades. Person 5 just took the entire trick and 26 points with a four.

That's an extreme example but it gets really interesting. Sometimes people purposefully don't cancel a card in order to screw someone else over, sometimes they cancel it to get rid of a high card, etc.
lifeofmendel
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
interesting. i have to think about it more, but instinctually i don't know if i like it. cancellation puts even more power into the hands of the person in last position. in regular hearts the only thing they can opt to do from a trick perspective (not a points perspective) is play a card to win the trick or not win the trick. giving them the power to change who else wins the trick adds a level of manipulation that i'm not sure i agree with.
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