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David & Goliath

Reviewed by Debbie Pickett
Reproduced here with kind permission from Funagain Games.

A card game with trickery

David & Goliath is Yet Another Trick-Taking Game, or so it seems upon a cursory glance at the rules. However, this one takes the standard whist-type game and adds one big twist, making David & Goliath a real gem.

Each player is dealt fifteen cards from a deck of five suits (the total number of cards thus depends on how many players there are). One player leads a card, and everyone else must follow suit if they can. There are no trumps as such, because once everyone has played a card, the suits become irrelevant and the only thing that matters is the numbers on the played cards.

The player who played the largest-numbered card - regardless of its colour - gets to keep all the other cards as booty. And now the twist, which is where the game gets its title: the highest-numbered card itself goes to the player who played the lowest-numbered card! It doesn't take long for it to sink in that of the fifteen cards you are dealt at the start of the hand, you will end up having none of them in front of you when the hand is over. Naturally this means that most of the trick-taking card tactics you already know are out the window.

The remainder of the twist comes with the scoring: sort your takings by colour; if you have two or fewer of a particular colour, you score the point value on those cards. If you have three or more in a colour, each of them is worth only one point! More cards are not necessarily better!

One of the delightful results of these rules is that there is almost always something to be done with every hand you are dealt; if you have a long run of a suit, you should be able to grab several more cards of that colour, or if you have only a few low cards in one suit you can earn big points by stealing the highest card in a trick. Contrast this to trick-taking games such as Bridge or Five Hundred, where if you are dealt a bad hand there is nothing to do except wait it out and hope that luck smiles on you next deal.

Along with other classics of the genre such as Schnšppchen Jagd and Sticheln, David & Goliath is a must-have for any fan of card games.

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