Shuffle mode in Wodka

Thursday, 13th August 2020 ◆ Secret United Nations holds retreat in sew-on knitwear (7) ◆ Comments (2) Wodka

In Wodka, there are 14 specials assigned to the red suit. There have been hundreds of games with the same assignments: the 4 always skips the next player, the J always counts as a pair J, and so on. It's fun, sure, but sometimes you need to mix things up a bit.

I am planning to add some more specials into the game at some point, and people have had some really good ideas which are on their way... However, the operative word is planning; most of the specials I want to add are going to take significant time to develop. So, until that point comes, I thought I'd implement an easy and silly stop-gap: shuffle mode.

In shuffle mode, for each hand, every red card is randomly assigned a special. That leads to 6,227,020,800 possible variants. Spicy!

Here are some of the deformed children of shuffle mode:

Something isn't right...

It turns out that playing like this is a lot more fun than I had anticipated. You never know what barmy hand is just around the corner...

Playing this provokes the same feeling as when we do custom Magic drafts: busting open packs and not knowing what you'll be faced with. I love it, and it makes me want to play around more with "the unknown" when it comes to game design. Particularly, I want to show players things they've never seen before (and maybe, things no-one has seen before). I have been thinking about a card game (of the Hearthstone, Magic, Keyforge strain) in which all cards are randomly generated, and it's up to the players to decide how much mana they are willing to spend to cast them.

A game which wields the unknown in the most incredible way is Michael Brogue's masterpiece Cinco Paus. It equips you with 5 random wands, for each of which there are millions of possibilities, so it's unlikely you'll be faced with something familiar!


sunil. ◆ Monday, 17th August 2020 at 15:03

There's also a post further discussing the tactics of this mode over at wodka strategy.

tann ◆ Thursday, 20th August 2020 at 17:47

Wow, a post on a Thursday!

I'm a huge fan of shuffle mode; it's great how many exciting moments it leads to. Makes me wonder which other games could use such a mode.

Hopefully we'll get a chance to do another custom magic draft; the first one you hosted is one of my most treasured memories.