Critical Play: Competitive Analysis: Euchre

After looking at our game, our TA suggested that we take a look at Euchre, since it seems like Euchre is able to balance the team aspect in a way that is not just easily replaceable by one person with double the amount of resources. Something that I marveled the most about Euchre was its designation of teams: each person was in a team with the person sitting diagonally across (mechanics), which made of a very interesting dynamic playing the game. When I was playing, I noted that it was a lot like Bughouse, another very successful multiplayer version of an increasingly popular single-player game–chess. Communication in Euchre and Bughouse were public and available to both teams, but it was also disincentivized due to the fact that it would be more disadvantageous to disclose perfectly your hand, just like how in Bughouse clearly enunciating your strategy is often not the best course of action (dynamics). However, in our game, team talk is localized to the team, and could simply be replaced with one person, as we observed that a lot of the time it was one person that comes up with the best strategy for the round, which then all of the other players agree to. Thus, I think something that could be fleshed out more in our game is how to make the team aspect actually valuable, where every person on the team feels like they can contribute rather than simply agreeing to the person with the sharpest eye.

One aspect where I thought that Euchre underperformed compared to our card game was in the area of theming. Euchre is played on a standard set of playing card, which while democratizing it, makes it also hard to develop a narrative and lore around it. In contrast, we are actively trying to develop a connecting theme that is able to coherently tie the mechanics up–more like Ramen Fury rather than Euchre in this respect. While I had played similar games before, I noticed that the lack of a familiar theme confounded others, since there were no help that they received from the game to familiarize them with the core mechanics, such as trump suits, taking tricks, and even the win condition. Thus, I wonder if theming it would provide a better playing experience, both in terms of immersion (it would add fantasy onto the list of fun that it provides), but also lets new players have something to grasp onto before they get the rules.

Nonetheless, I think that Euchre is a game that we can learn a lot from, evidenced by its longevity. One other aspect that I wanted to touch on was the benefits of its trick mechanic. Our game currently has a. system where all cards are revealed at once, which puts a lot of information out all at once. Comparatively, Euchre has a trick system, so although players are working together, only bits of information are released at once (mechanic), making for a much more digestible and cognitively easier time to play, which allows for better strategizing (dynamic).

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