spade symbol

Short Exercise: MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun – Elyse

Spades is a card game I used to play a lot with my family after dinner or while waiting for our food at restaurants. It’s perfect for us because it works best with 4 players and my mom, dad, sister and I love playing together.

Mechanics: Dealing, shuffling, taking turns placing a card face up in each round, winning a “book” of cards each round, tallying total books won to figure out the winner.

Dynamics: Bluffing about how good your cards are, signaling to your partner whether they should play low or high (which is cheating), coordinating with your partner to avoid wasting a high card, remembering which cards have already been played, playing aces early, playing just one card higher than your opponent to beat them by a small margin. My family tends to save their best cards for the last few rounds just for dramatic effect.

Aesthetics: Fellowship and competition (not an official core aesthetic). You’re teammates with the person across from you, so you try to coordinate (perhaps with some amount of cheating) how to win each round cooperatively. Since the winning card for each round could come from either of your hands, you somehow want to coordinate to save the good cards without being able to see each others’ hand. You are competing with the other pair of players, so you want to sabotage them by forcing them to play high when they don’t need to, or beating them by a small margin to avoid using your best cards.

These mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics are great because I can team up with my sister to compete with my parents! How fun!

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.