I played The Menorah Game with Tal. She beat me in both. The first game was rather close. In the second one, I imprudently bought an early Gold candle to prevent Tal from buying it, and I got nailed with a soldier on the next round, which forced me to toss it. That hurt.
Tal's strategy is to auction a lot, a lot more than I would. It is a sound strategy in a two-player game. It probably wouldn't work as well in a multi-player game.
Still a good game. Someone ought to publish it. ;-)
I was trying to think of the best card games using standard playing cards for N players, and this is what I've come up with:
1- Scaling cards, building card houses, scaling cards into card houses
2- 2-player Pinochle, Cribbage
4- Bridge, Hearts
5- ??? Cheat? Oh Hell?
8+ Haggle, Duplicate Bridge
Pretty pathetic, no?
I've got a few books with card games in them, like A Gamut of Games and Card Games Around the World, but I haven't tried to play many of these games yet.
There have to be better 2-player games. For three players, Skat looks like it might be interesting. Five or six players, anyone?
I played Spades many years ago, but I can't remember it. What essential card games am I missing here? I want to be prepared if I'm ever at a house that only has playing cards.