I really like the game Kakerlakenpoker (Cockroach Poker) for how it delivers such a fun and direct game about bluffing. I especially like how you are personally challenging the other players to call your bluff, and how you have an option to not call someone out if you would prefer not to, instead having to pass on the card you were passed and taking the risk on yourself. This idea is a small riff on this game, and is more of a half idea really.


Day 57: Numerical Cockroach Poker

There is a deck of numbered cards, and for each number there are several copies of that value, each with a different colour.  Some cards also have a negative value. The object of the game is have the highest value of cards in total in front of you when the game ends. The game ends once one player has collected 4 cards of the same colour in front of them, at which point they lose (even if they had the highest total of cards), and the winner is determined.

The cards are completely dealt out to the players at the start of the game, and someone is determined to go first. They choose a card in their hand and offer it to another player face down, challenging them to play either a higher valued card, or a lower valued card. That player then has a choice – they can either accept the other player’s challenge, and try to play a card of the appropriate value, or they can switch the player’s challenge, and then play a card. In either case, both cards are then flipped, and whoever won the challenge claims both cards and takes them in front of them. The third option is a player can refuse the challenge, and instead force the player who offered the card to place it in front of themselves. Play then continues to the next player clockwise, who makes another offer.


I think this idea is missing the magical twist that makes Kakerlakenpoker so good, but it would be interesting to try out anyway. Having negative cards in the mix means that sometimes calling a player out and forcing them to take their own card could be a good move, but it would be nice to have a way for the challenges to move from player to player in a more organic way (without simply copying Kakerlakenpoker!). Any ideas?