Martian Whist is a pyramidal drafting and point-trick-taking game of perfect information for 2 players.

Preparation

Materials needed:

Setup

Place all of the Treehouse sets into an opaque sack. Draw from the sack one small, one medium, and one large and make a tree. Continue this until all of the pyramids have been used to make a row of complete trees. At this point, trump may be determined by rolling an IceDice color die, shown below:

color-die

The color rolled will determine the trump for the game, or if the atomic symbol is rolled there will bo no trump. If you do not have a color die then you may use the color of the last pyramid drawn as the trump.

The game is ready to begin.

Game-play

Martian Whist is played in two rounds: the first is meant to build a mixed stash of pyramids via drafting, and the second consists of a series of tricks used to build a set of final pyramids for scoring.

Stage one: drafting a stash

The player who drafts first will take any of the small pyramids from the top of the trees for use in their personal stash. If desired, the second player may choose to take the small pyramid drafted by the first player instead of drafting second.

After the draft order has been established, both players will continue alternating drafting pieces from the tops of the trees remaining. In other words, pyramids may only be taken from the drafting trees if they do not have pyramids resting on top of them.

Additionally, players may not take any pyramids that would give them too many of a particular size to be unable to build a complete set of trees in their personal stash. That is, with four Treehouse sets each player would have 10 complete trees consisting only of 10 smalls, 10 mediums, and 10 larges.

The drafting stage one continue this way until all of the pyramids in the drafting trees are gone.

Stage two: trick-taking

Using the pyramids in their drafted stashes, the players will play tricks to build a final scoring set. Starting with the person whom drafted last, a player will present a tree and the other will follow with one of their own. These trees can be built from any of the pyramids in their personal stash.

The following player must present a tree containing at least one pyramid of the same color as any of the pyramids in the leading tree if they are able. If they do not have a color to follow the tree led then they can follow with a tree containing any colors that they choose.

The player winning the trick will reserve their tree for final scoring, while the losing tree will be discarded. The player who won the trick leads the next trick. Play will continue like this until all of the players' pyramids have been used, after which final scoring will begin.

Resolving tricks

To resolve tricks the color of the pyramids used determines the higher-ranking tree. The ranking of the pyramid colors are: Trump > Black > Red > Yellow > Green > Blue:

color-ranks

Solid color trees of will resolve according to the color rankings or trump:

solids

Trees of a single color will always beat trees of mixed colors, even those containing trumps:

solid-v-mixed

Trees of mixed colors will resolve from bottom to top according to color. That is, players compare the base of the trees first:

base-res

Then the middle of the tree is compared:

mid-res

Finally, the top of the tree is compared:

top-res

The player who won the majority of the tree segments wins the trick; in the example above, the left-side player wins by winning 1 segment vs. 0 for right. However, if the two trees played are identical or they result in a tie segment score then the player who placed first wins the trick.

Final scoring

From the pyramids won in tricks the players can rearrange the colors to form as many solid trees as possible. Solid trees are worth 3 points each while the remaining mixed trees are worth 1 point each. The player with the most valuable set of trees wins the game.

Martian Whist is ©2015, Michael Fogus