Pauntel's Got Talent
Designed by Kenny VenOsdel
Players 2
Length 20 minutes
Extra Material 10 color markers in each of the 6 suits

It is the first season of "Pauntel's Got Talent" and the competition is really ramping up! You are a badger, attempting to impress the 6 judges in order to get them to vote for you. It’s not as easy as it seems though because the judges are also competing against each other to see which of them gets the most influence over the competition. Make sure you get the right judges on your side or you don’t stand a chance!

Pauntel's Got Talent is an indirect trick-taking game largely inspired by Triumvirate (this may be a bit of an understatement). During each hand the players will play to tricks which will determine which of the judges, represented by the 6 suits, gains influence for that round. At the end of each hand player's can pledge one card face down. The player who pledges more cards to any given suit wins the favor of that judge and any influence, or points, they are worth.


Place 10 markers in each of the Decktet suits off to one side of the playing area to form a supply. Place the Excuse, or any alternate mat to hold tokens to the other side, this will represent the influence each judge has over determining the winner of the competition.

Remove the Pawns and Courts, if applicable, and shuffle the deck. For the first hand only, deal 8 cards to the side and all remaining cards to the 2 players. All subsequent hands you will deal 6 cards to the side and the rest evenly between the players.

Game play

Each hand will contain several tricks; a trick consisting of each player playing exactly one card to the middle of the table. Cards played to a trick will determine which judge gains influence.

The Tricks

For each trick the non-dealer begins by playing a card to the middle of the table. The other player may follow either suit on the card, but if they choose not to their card will not be used to calculate influence. After each trick is played, calculate the total value played for the suits shown on the cards. Cards played count their value for all suits that they show. The suit with highest total value gains two markers for this hand. The suit with the second highest value gains only one. Place these markers near the trick that they were gained from.

Note: Again, if a card played does not follow suit, its value is not used to calculate markers gained this trick.

- If the player following the lead does not follow suit, the person who lead may choose which of their suits gains two markers.
- If a card is played that matches both suits of the lead card (ex: The Cave, 7 W/Wy, followed by The Darkness, 9 W/Wy) then the player who played the higher value card may choose which suit gains 2 markers.
- If the led card was an ace or crown (and is not followed) only that suit gains two markers with no suit receiving 1.

Whichever player played the highest value card (irrespective of following suit) leads the next trick. If both players play the same rank, the same player leads to the next trick.

Note: The only exception to high card leads next round is if a matching Ace is played to a led Crown. In this case the Ace steals the lead.

Gaining Influence

Continue playing tricks until at least one suit has gained at least five markers in the middle of the table. The suit that gained the most markers places two influence (markers) on the Excuse. The suit with the second most places one. If there are ties, the suit that has the largest valued card that was played first wins the tie.


Once influence has been calculated return all remaining markers to the supply. Leave the tokens on the Excuse. These will accumulate round to round. Players may now pledge one card face down near the Excuse in their own pile. They may only pledge one card per hand, and a maximum of five cards per game. They may choose not to pledge and may reference pledged cards at any point.

Players retain any cards not played this hand. Pass the dealer, shuffle the cards played and the set aside cards together, and deal 6 to the side and the rest evenly between the players.

Game End
Play continues as described above until one suit gains at least five influence marker. It is possible for more than one suit to satisfy this requirement.


At the end of the game, each suit is worth as many points as it has influence on the Excuse. The player who has pledged the most cards (not the most value) of that suit collects those points. If players are tied in number of cards played, the player who pledged the largest card wins the suit. The player with the most points wins! If there is a tie here then players add the value of all cards played with the higher value winning. If there is still a tie then I'm dumbfounded.

The extended deck



Pauntel's Got Talent owes a large debt to the wonderful game Triumvirate designed by Travis Worthington. For more information on Triumvirate follow the link below to its BGG page.



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