There often isn’t much of anything new to the trick-taking genre of card games other than different goals and a variety of card appearances.
That isn’t the case with Those Pesky Garden Gnomes from Rio Grande Games. The game was authored by JonMichael Rasmus, John Sams and Sean Weitner. The game is for three to five players 13 years of age and up and a typical game will likely take between 30 and 60 minutes.
With Those Pesky Garden Gnomes (TPGN) the allure isn’t that there is a different goal from other trick-taking games, but that the goal in this game changes from hand to hand and that each player has his or her own secret goal.
There are 10 different goal cards. Some goals involve trying to reach a certain number of points. The cards (50) that are dealt have values on them. They are in four colors with varying amounts in the deck. There are five green cards, 10 yellow cards, 15 blue cards and 20 red cards. They are numbered sequentially beginning with 1. But several of the cards have points on them, identified by positive and negative numbers inside red circles in the center of the card.
The goal for each player in a turn isn’t just determined by the goal card. There are 10 bid tokens, five with positive numbers and five with negative. When a hard is ready to be played, the bid tokens, which are randomized face down on the table and given to each player, are revealed. The player with the second highest number is the one to name the trump for that hand or to name no trump at all.
Each player has 10 cards so each hand with consist of 10 tricks being taken. The suit led must be followed and the high value in that suit takes the trick unless someone played trump and then the highest value in the trump suit takes the trick.