It has now been over a year since I created the Hoyle’s Six project, and in that time, 6 games have been created for it, and almost a dozen have been adapted. Because of that, I am combining two of my earlier posts to create a one-stop link for this project.
All games within the Hoyle’s Six collection have had revisions to the rules to reflect the last year of playtesting, and the addition of a 0 (zero) card. Most of the edits are extensive. The edits are listed in the following format:
Game Name (Game Genre) – summary of edits
Rummycross (rummy) – added rules for 0s and Jokers, did an extensive overhaul of scoring
Gambit (trick-taking/comparing) – changed actions for card/dice combos for balance
Damsels & Dragons (dungeon crawl) – V2 of the rules, extensive changes throughout
Jacob’s Ladder (shedding) – V2 of the rules, changing most of the gameplay and adding a draw mechanic
Klondike Six & Sudoku (solitaire) – No rule changes, but reformatted to Hoyle’s Six standards
This Side Down (4-in-a-row) – Removed from the Hoyle’s Six kit, as the game works better with custom components.
A month ago, I played a very intriguing game called Noble Treachery: The Last Alliance. I say “intriguing”, rather than “good”, because it is a brilliant concept that is way too complex for its own good. The core of the game is combining cards with dice to win tricks. I thought that if that base idea could be streamlined, it would be an excellent game. Last week, while reading through the rules for Knizia’s classic game Battle Line, the missing mechanic fell into place, and Gambit was born.
Gambit is part Trick-Taking (Euchre, Rook, Whist), and part Comparing (Poker, Blackjack), with elements of Yahtzee and Texas Hold’m. It is a game that fuses dice, cards, and poker chips to create an entirely new experience. By fusing all of these elements, this game is the most true representation of Hoyle’s Six yet created. Let’s dig in.
In an earlier post, I introduced the Hoyle’s Six project, talking about my inspiration and design choices. I have also posted games made using the project. This post is meant to be a breakdown of the kit for other designers’ purposes.
Hoyle’s Six is an open source card and board game kit, free for anyone to use, print, and modify in whatever way they see fit. The kit provides a collection of the most recognized tabletop components, all rolled into a single design schematic. It is meant to be that one thing that everyone grabs when leaving the house, because with it, they can play hundreds of games. For game developers, it is a kit that gives them the basic tools they need to create interesting mechanics and games.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Rummy. I love it because it’s Rummy; the very concept of collecting sets and runs to play your entire hand is one of the best mechanics in history. I hate it because the collections of sets and runs is statistically uneven. It is 2-3 times more difficult to create runs than sets because runs have to be in the same suit. The original seed of an idea for the Hoyle’s Six project was actually born out of a way to make Rummy balanced. (The idea was to make runs in colors rather than suits and reduce the available cards of each number from 8 to 6.) As I was working on this, a new idea came up that took the rebalancing of Rummy in a new direction.
So it is with great delight that I announce Rummicross. This was mean to be just another game in the Hoyle’s Six pack, but it has proved to be so good that it may end up being the main event. (I’ve had blind playtesters ask how they can pay me to get a copy.) Let’s dive in!
I vividly remember many summer afternoons sitting on the back porch with my mother playing Crazy 8s. We would go for hours, just enjoying each others’ company. Jacob’s Ladder was creating to capture that feeling in a way that only Hoyle’s Six can do. It is a simple game… get down to zero cards… but the options for play add a level of planning and strategy rarely seen in a game of its type.