I am touring by stagecoach throughout the French countryside from card recreation to card recreation as my mentor teaches me methods to cheat. Posing as his valet, I peek at his opponent’s playing cards whereas refilling their wine glasses, then sign the swimsuit of their finest card to him by wiping the desk with a fabric utilizing a sure movement. It is a crude, fundamental cheat, however it’s simply the tip of the iceberg in con-artist journey recreation Card Shark.
Earlier than every recreation I study a brand new trick or a complication on an outdated one. Quickly I am able to passing extra info to my mentor: I can inform him his opponent’s excessive card by the style by which I elevate a glass off the desk, or what number of playing cards of the identical swimsuit they’re holding based mostly on what number of instances I transfer the fabric. Finally I am sitting at a desk alongside him, holding observe of an ace whilst I repeatedly shuffle the deck and he cuts the playing cards. Moments later that ace winds up in his hand.
I do not even know what card recreation we’re taking part in. And it does not matter! Our pot of swindled cash is rising as we slowly grift our manner into 18th century excessive society. So long as my mentor wins, I win, and he solely wins once I assist him cheat.
Card Shark’s elaborate dishonest is dealt with by minigames and memorization, and sometimes each on the similar time. And it is actually tough. Hell, I’ve even goofed on the easy wine-pouring trick by overflowing the mark’s glass whereas watching their playing cards. A few of the minigames are acquainted: palming an ace, as an illustration, is the outdated dot transferring shortly forwards and backwards throughout a bar, with a click on on the proper second which means a profitable palm. However there’s loads of new methods to study, too, utilizing totally different mouse actions to shuffle, to mark the placement of a card within the deck, and to select up playing cards from the desk in a sure order after a hand so that they’re dealt favorably to my boss within the subsequent one.
And the dishonest grows an increasing number of advanced as you enter extra high-stakes video games. Sneaking playing cards out of a second deck to create a successful hand sounds easy, however then you must bear in mind what these playing cards had been so you may sneak them again out once more earlier than anybody notices. I’ve a little bit dry erase dice on my deck and I’ve lined it with notes, mouse motions, and reminders of what duplicate playing cards I’ve dealt to who so I can take away them earlier than anybody notices.
Fortunately there’s at all times an opportunity to follow methods with my mentor repeatedly earlier than utilizing them in a stay recreation. And through stay video games, you may’t take your candy time. The longer you’re taking to cheat, the extra your opponent’s suspicion meter fills, so not solely do you must be exact along with your dishonest, you must be fast. It is loads nerve racking if you’re attempting to casually calculate methods to deal your boss three excessive playing cards and everybody else junk whereas the suspicious seconds tick by. We have been discovered a number of instances and thrown in jail as soon as. However we’re at all times invited again to the desk for extra.
Once I’ve screwed up and misplaced all the pieces—and it is occurred greater than as soon as—it is again to conning locals with a recreation of Three-card Monte subsequent to a barn. It isn’t glamorous, however it’s a fast technique to win a small stake so we will purchase again right into a high-society recreation. It is also the place I bought stabbed within the intestine after attempting to con the improper man one too many instances. Stay and study. Or, do not—there is a permadeath mode in Card Shark in the event you actually wish to gamble along with your life.
Card Shark actually makes me really feel like a talented card cheat, particularly when I’ve an incredible run at a desk, pulling off my strikes flawlessly, elevating the guess to win an enormous pot, and ending the sport with out the opposite gamers turning into fully suspicious. I’ve realized about 8 alternative ways to cheat, however there are practically 30 within the full recreation, and since sure strategies wind up getting mixed with others I think about no two card video games will ever actually really feel the identical.
And Cark Shark does not pull its punches. Conning fabulously rich people out of a handful of cash is not an ethical drawback for me, however not everybody we cheat appears to actually deserve it. My mentor has no limits: He needs to take each final coin from everybody he cheats, irrespective of who they’re. There are typically extraordinarily ugly penalties because of this con recreation (a disclaimer in the beginning warns that Card Shark contains depictions of suicide, demise, and violence, and I’ve already seen all three). At the least twice within the demo I used to be left feeling like a horrible particular person for collaborating.
However there’s at all times one other recreation taking place someplace in France, so we’re racing off within the stagecoach once more, my regrets fading shortly as my mentor teaches me one other cool new technique to cheat at playing cards. If you wish to learn how good a cheat you’re, a demo of Card Shark will probably be obtainable throughout Steam Subsequent Fest this week.