Thursday, October 12, 2006


The best games that primarily use bluffing as a mechanism...
Also nominated:
We didn't have this category in 2002.

The Apple Pickers preferred the original Undercover to the more recent Top Secret Spies (the extra cards are pretty much despised), the original Royal Turf to the newer Winner's Circle, and Beyond Balderdash over Balderdash.



Blogger mark aka pastor guy said...

Let's start with the main complaint I know I'm going to get - why no Poker?

Simply put, I choose in all of my "special projects" (the Five & Dime lists, The Apples Project, etc.) to focus on proprietary games - in other words, games that can not be played with "standard" gaming equipment.

I bear Poker no ill will - though the last time I played, one of the guys I was playing with kept insisting on games like "even cards are wild"... sigh. It's just out of the scope of what I want to do here.

In different news, two sentimental favorites made the lists: Drunter & Druber evidently is liked by more of us than I realized, as it made the top five. And In Teufel's Kuche is possibly the coolest game ever that I mostly refrain from bringing to church socials, as the title translates "In The Devil's Kitchen."

12:21 PM  
Blogger David Fair said...

The way to stop an idiot in dealer's choice games is to have the dealer ante for all players, then fold when he calls an idiotic game on his deal.

He wins nothing, since he anted for all, and you can get back to playing sensible poker.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

This was a frustrating category for me, just because "bluffing game" covers a lot of ground for different people. Personally, I would not consider either Royal Turf or Ys bluffing games really. They have a touch of bluff in them, maybe, but it's very much ancilliary - not like Balderdash or Liar's Dice, where bluffing is such a core element. And Werewolf to me is just not a bluffing game at all, unless Diplomacy is a bluffing game. I don't think many people would call Diplomacy a bluffing game.

So, I had a record number of write-ins in this category; I nominated Aladdin's Dragons, Liar's Dice, Adel Verpflichtet/By Hook or By Crook/Hoity Toity, Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation, Basari/Edel Stein & Reich, Hera & Zeus/Blitz & Donner, and Fury of Dracula (I've never played Top Secret Spies). All but the first two were write-ins. While I wouldn't argue that many of these are pure bluffing games, on the other hand I think all of them have a lot more bluffing than Ys, Royal Turf, Sternenhimmel, or Werewolf, just to pick on some obvious ones.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan Degann said...

"Even CARDS are wild?" What a concept! Ohhh. "EVEN cards are wild." Now I understand.

I had some gripes with this category because I don't think that a game like Drunter & Druber or Royal Turf is a "bluffing" game just because you don't know who is representing which color(s). A bluffing game, to me, means one in which active deceit is a central game mechanism. So Liar's Dice and Werewolf were, to me, right in the middle of the category while I excluded other games that won.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Nick Danger said...

At the risk of driving this thing head long into the exact direction Fluff didn't want it to go I'll offer the following David rebuttal:

Poker is a game of bluffing, knowing odds, and reading people. As such, no matter how "idiotic" a game might be I'll submit a poker player worth his or her salt can tilt the game in their favor and make it a lucrative affair.

(apologies in advance to Mark for grabbing the steering wheel)

1:39 PM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

As such, no matter how "idiotic" a game might be I'll submit a poker player worth his or her salt can tilt the game in their favor and make it a lucrative affair.

Sure, but I would argue:

a) Are you trying to have fun, or just take people's money?


b) An "everything but 2s and 3s are wild" game will take a lot longer for the good player to make money on, to the point where he might as well just get a job, if that's all he's trying to do.

Obviously, there is a line between a poker game and a totally pointless poker game, somwhere between nothing wild and everything wild. Even cards wild would seem to be comfortably on the pointless side.

2:40 PM  
Blogger mark aka pastor guy said...

"Comfortably on the pointless side" doesn't begin to cover it... since we weren't playing for money (I choose not to gamble for reasons I refuse to go into right now on the grounds that they might hijack this comments section even further) there was no check on being silly in naming your games and/or in bidding like a bug-eyed freak. Not the best night of Poker ever...

I will say that, even with no cash involved but played with folks who want to play the game and not see how insanely creative they can be, Poker offers some very interesting exercises in card-counting, bluffing & people-reading... but if I'm going to do that, I have a lot more fun playing Euros.

3:21 PM  
Blogger huzonfirst said...

Getting back to the Apples Project...

Okay, I'm a lousy person to be commenting here, as I hate bluffing games, but here goes. The only one of the Top Five games I have any interest in playing is Ys, which works for me because there's much more information available than the average bluffing game (and I agree, there's much more to it than just bluffing). Drunter is decent (but kinda chaotic), I'll tolerate Heimlich and Liar's Dice (but tend to avoid them), and Royal Turf is one of the few Knizia games I actively dislike. So no hosannas from me, although I didn't expect to give any out.

The other games I voted for besides Ys were Coyote (just about the only classic bluffing game I really like), Kuhhandel (much better than I thought it would be), Werewolf (but only with a dozen or so good friends; avoid the late night Gathering games at all costs), and Sternenhimmel (getting close to the bottom of the barrel). My nominations included the first three of these, Aladdin's Dragons (like Ys, a blind bidder that works because of the info available), Hoax (a marvelous and unique game with the right crowd), Crazy Race (one of the better blind bidding games out there), and Vabanque (which is pretty enjoyable for a bluffing game). There's a few of these I look forward to playing, but if they disappeared from the face of the earth tomorrow, I wouldn't be too distraught.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Garry said...


Decent picks for this category but I'd just point out Grand National Derby (assuming you mean the Piatnik game) is not the same game as Royal Turf.

1:18 AM  
Blogger Mark Haberman said...

I really like Dschunke in this category. Shazamm! is very good too. I can't really argue with any of the winners though.

6:44 AM  
Anonymous estoote langobarden said...

I am a big fan of Royal Turf, and while I have to admit that bluffing is not a LARGE part of the game, I can offer on the other hand that it is a PIVOTAL part of the game. If you've tried running the game without the zero bet and all bets being made face down, you know how empty and dry it is without the small element of bluffing. Put it in, and the betting rounds turn into the magnificent mindgame that make Royal Turf a party worth showing up for.

Stven Carlberg

7:23 AM  
Blogger Mark Haberman said...

I almost forgot to mention Liar! It's an excellent 2 minute deduction/bluffing game. Play best of 7.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

My Top 10 Bluffing Games:

Hera & Zeus
Lord of the Rings: The Conforontation
Aladdin's Dragons
Cosmic Encounter
Fellowship of the Ring (published by ICE)

9:42 AM  
Anonymous josh miller said...

Garry wrote:

Decent picks for this category but I'd just point out Grand National Derby (assuming you mean the Piatnik game) is not the same game as Royal Turf.

Yeah, I think that should probably read "Turf Horse Racing," Mark. Grand National Derby is the Titan: The Arena predecessor.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Havoc wasn't mentioned unless it was considered too "pokerish".


5:12 PM  

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