Tri (game)

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Tri is a two- or three-player matchingcard game in which players attempt to achieve at least 65 net points in one suit. The suit is not verbally declared; players select a suit by using plays, discards, and pick-ups as signals.


Game history

The game was developed in March 2001 by Will M. Baker and Pete Richert, in an attempt to create a card game that was entirely cooperative. The game went through many revisions and much playtesting, seeing crucial rules added and ineffective rules dropped. The game reached its final form sometime in April 2001.

Tri was created using the 5-suited "Instinct" deck produced by Wizards of the Coast. The suit names (Stars, Fire, Skulls, Drips, and Brocs) were derived directly from the images on the "Instinct" cards. ('Brocs' is, perhaps, the only obscure suit title; the true suit image is that of a tree, but it has an uncanny resemblance to broccoli.) The title comes simply from the game's process of "trying" to select a suit.

Tri was developed by Will M. Baker and Pete Richert in March 2001. A computerized version is in planning stages.


Played in a format similar to Gin, players each take turns drawing from either the discard pile or the deck, then discarding, all the while attempting to isolate a suit in which to collect as many high-ranking cards as possible.

The game ends when any player, after drawing a card, has four cards of the same suit in one's hand; that suit becomes the "Tri", i.e. the attempted suit (even if the player did not intend that suit!). The players' ending score is calculated by summing from their hands the face values of all cards in the Tried suit, and subtracting from that sub-total half the total face value of any cards in hand that are not in the Tried suit. Players win if their net total equals or exceeds 65.


Tri is played with a special deck containing five suits (Stars, Fire, Skulls, Drips, and Brocs), each with cards numbering 1 through 12, and one wild card. Each player is originally dealt 6 cards. On each turn, a player:

The game ends when any player, after drawing a card, has in hand four cards of the same suit. This suit becomes the Tried suit, and the player declares "Tri."


If the purpose of the game is to collect as many cards as possible of one suit, then the danger of the game is discarding cards of that same suit. This is where the communication is essential, and since there is no talking in this game, information must be conveyed through the play of cards. The most important part of the game is the beginning in which players suggest and reject suits to Tri by drawing cards from the pile and discarding. Once a card is discarded and then rejected by the next player ('rejected' meaning the player draws from the deck, rather than from the discard pile), it is gone forever, and a high value in the suit will guarantee that this suit can never win. Since there are 11 cards removed from the deck and no one knows what they are, it is essential that players communicate what high cards of a suit they have. If two relatively high cards of one suit are in the hidden cards pile, that suit will not be able to win. While it is possible that suits not represented by any player at the start are simply in the deck waiting to be drawn, it is also possible that a few key cards are already discarded in the hidden cards deck. Hence there is some risk involved in chasing after suits that are not represented strongly by a few dominant high cards. However, suits that are well represented in the start may also be dangerous since a few middle value cards may be lost at the beginning through discard while players attempt to solidify a suit to capture.

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