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busy busy: jack of dimaonds

i've had a few LJ entries toiling around the mental drawing board for a few days, but things have been crazy busy so i haven't had a chance to write any of them.

here's me catching up on one. Recently i downloaded a new hearts app for my smartphone. the computer AI isn't perfect, but it's definitely the best i've played. Recently to mix it up i decided to add the jack of diamonds option rule, and i think i've come to the conclusion that that rule would work better if there were five suits in the game instead of four, or if the negative jack were the jack of hearts.

The reason that i state this is that with the jack of diamonds rule, every suit now has a characteristic - clubs are the one you have to lead with, diamonds has -10 jack, spades has +13 queen, and hearts are points - and that makes gameplay and passing much more straightforward and less strategic. Without the jack rule, the role of the clubs being the forced initial lead is diminished and the entire spectrum of diamonds is neutral. That makes for more interesting pass strategies and guesswork when it comes to play with those neutral suits, convincing me that having a neutral suit other than clubs is important.

making the jack of hearts -10 instead also creates more interesting decisions because based on your opening hand you may want to hold on to one of the upper heart cards knowing that it's a fair trade to take 3 pts in hearts if it means that you'll get a net of -7.

what i want to do is gather a small group of people to play hearts with a fifth suit; take the blue diamonds or green clubs from my four color deck and add it to a regular two color deck, see how all of that plays out. I bet it would be a better game for the jack rule which should otherwise probably never really be used in a serious hearts game. i'll probably keep it on when i play the app though out of sheer boredom.

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