David Parlett's
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ORIGINAL CARD GAMES
"You can teach an old dog new tricks"
"Parlett's creativity is as ordered and precise as a Swiss watch. His games mesh so well with the structure of playing-cards as to give the impression that the pack was created specifically for his inventions."
(See more unsolicited testimonials.)
Inventing card games is one of my favourite recreations. It's a relaxing hobby: it means I can think up the basic ideas without having to get out of bed - or even, if I'm very lucky, without having to wake up - which is more than you can say for actually playing cards.
 
My idea of a good game is one that uses an ordinary 52-card pack and has very simple rules, but gives you plenty to think about. If you find that idea appealing, have a look through the following. I've arranged them in order of number of players, that being the natural primary selection factor, then by type of game. So start by choosing your number and then click, as appropriate, on Right arrow2   Right arrow3   Right arrow4   Right arrow5   or Right arrow6 as the case may be.
 
Know what you're looking for? See alphabetical index at the foot of this page.
 
No one to play with? Try my patience - and see my original solitaire games.
 
Games for 2 players   Right arrow3   Right arrow4S   Right arrow4P   Right arrow5   Right arrow6
 
tricks
 
Duck Soup  - A trick-taking game that'll drive you both quackers
Parity  - a skill-demanding game of perfect information
Cross Purposes  - one of you chooses a trump suit, the other a trump rank
Ninety-Nine  - bid to win an exact number of tricks (adapted from 3 players)
Counterpoint  - A fiendish point-trick version of Ninety-Nine (best for two)
Umbridge  - A perversion of Bridge for two
Colour-blind  - choose whether to win red cards or black (adapted from 3 players)
hybrid Galapagos  - three games in one: win tricks, make melds, get rid of your cards
arithmetical Dracula  - an arithmetical game with a bloodthirsty count
Fosco  - a game of perfect information with another villainous count
Addenda  - aim to win tricks counting 17 points
Caterpillar  - a simple add-it-up-as-you-go-along game
Limbo  - get as low under the bar as you can by deducting and dividing
Prime Time  - make primes from three-card combinations (better for 3)
bluffing Counterbluff  - bluff with constantly-evolving Poker hands
Sneak  - a bluffing game playable by any number
matching Stucco  - a match-and-go-out game of perfect information
nim Abstrac  - a nim-type game of perfect information
rummy Brummy  - two-dimensional Rummy with Brag hands
Multiplicity  - for players who like to go forth and multiply (better for three)
tableau Get Stuck  - a quasi board game on a grid of 7x7 cards (also for 4 in partnerships)
Romeo & Juliet  - a romantic card-board game on a grid of 7x7 cards
Ganderpoke  - a 5x5 tableau game with Poker hands
Garbo  - a 4x4 tableau game where each card "vants to be alone"
Spec  - a silly guessing game (or is it ESP?) on a 5x5 grid
 
Games for 3 players   Right arrow2   Right arrow4S   Right arrow4P   Right arrow5   Right arrow6
 
tricks
 
Ninety-Nine  - bid to win an exact number of tricks
Naughty Nun  - as above, but with silly bits
Counterpoint  - like 99, but bid to win an exact number of card-points
Farrago  - with a different trumping rule at every deal
Triathlon  - aim to perform three trick-taking feats
Tracktrick  - three-in-a-row quasi-board game requires accurate trick-play
Gooseberry Fool  - divide and rule by winning the middling number of tricks
Flunk  - it looks rather like three-handed Bridge, but isn't quite...
Colour-blind  - decide whether to win red cards or black
Hamlet  - a game with supporting roles for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Who's Who  - in which you have to discover who your partner is
Welsh Whist  - a fun game with lots of Jokers and no cheating (by order)
Tantony  - win tricks, then give them away! (better for four)
Anarchy  - play as you please and score how you like (best for 4 or 5)
Snark  - a wilder version of Anarchy (best for 5)
hearts-type Minimisère  - if you can't lose every trick, win as many as possible
Trigami  - decide which suit not to win cards of in tricks
gops-type Throps  - a three-player variant of Gops
Bouncers  - a sort of cross between Gops and Hearts
tableau Spec  - a silly guessing game (or is it ESP?) on a 5x5 grid
rummy Brummy  - two-dimensional Rummy with Brag hands
Crummy  - Rummy with a trick-type method of play (better for four)
Multiplicity  - for players who like to go forth and multiply
arithmetical Dracula  - an arithmetical game with a bloodthirsty count
Prime Time  - make primes from three-card combinations
 
Games for 4Solo players (4x1)   Right arrow2   Right arrow3   Right arrow4P   Right arrow5   Right arrow6
 
tricks
 
Collusion  - hilarious game of (mis)alliances and double-crossings
Twyst  - more like Solo Whist than anything else... (see also Squint for five)
Ninety-Nine  - bid to win an exact number of tricks
Mismatch  - the anti-combination game
Farrago  - with a different trumping rule at every deal
Tracktrick  - three-in-a-row quasi-board game requires accurate trick-play
Welsh Whist  - a fun game with lots of Jokers and no cheating (by order)
Minimisère  - if you can't lose every trick, win as many as possible
Tantony  - win tricks, then give them away! (better as a partnership game)
Chwech  - in which you needn't play to a trick if you don't want to (best for 6)
Anarchy  - play as you please and score how you like
Snark  - a wilder version of Anarchy (best for 5)
hearts-type Bugami  - announce in advance which suit you'll take none of in tricks
Agony Aunt  - avoid taking various penalty cards; requires also counters and a board
rummy Brummy  - two-dimensional Rummy with Brag hands
Crummy  - Rummy with a trick-type method of play
Rummage  - Another Rummy with a trick-type method of play (better for 5)
tableau Spec  - a silly guessing game (or is it ESP?) on a 5x5 grid
memory Memoranda  - which cards were you originally dealt?
 
Games for 4Partnership players (2x2)   Right arrow2   Right arrow3   Right arrow4S   Right arrow5   Right arrow6
 
tricks
 
Tantony  - in which you win tricks but may give them away
Seconds  - in which only the second-best card wins the trick
Plonk  - a deceptively simple-looking game
Cross Purposes  - in which one side chooses a trump suit, the other a trump rank
Flashpoint  - in which you win tricks and make melds from them
arithmetical Dracula  - an adding-up game with a bloodthirsty count
Addenda  - aim to win tricks counting 17 points
tableau Get Stuck  - a quasi board game on a grid of 7x7 cards (also for two)
unclassifiable Concerto  - game of skill in which you and your partner construct Poker hands
 
Games for 5 players   Right arrow2   Right arrow3   Right arrow4S   Right arrow4P   Right arrow6
 
tricks
 
Squint  - a sort of Solo Whist for five (see also Twyst for four)
Anarchy  - play as you please and score how you like
Snark  - a wilder version of Anarchy
Chwech  - in which you needn't play to a trick if you don't want to (best for 6)
Welsh Whist  - a fun game with lots of Jokers and no cheating (by order)
Minimisère  - if you can't lose every trick, win as many as possible
Farrago  - with a different trumping rule at every deal
hearts-type Bugami  - announce in advance which suit you'll take none of in tricks
bluffing Sneak  - bluffing game
memory Memoranda  - memory game
rummy Rummage  - Rummy with a trick-type method of play
Brummy  - two-dimensional Rummy with Brag hands
Crummy  - Rummy with a trick-type method of play (better for four)
memory Memoranda  - which cards were you originally dealt?
 
Games for 6 players   Right arrow2   Right arrow3   Right arrow4S   Right arrow4P   Right arrow5
 
tricks
 
Chwech  - in which you needn't play to a trick if you don't want to
Minimisère  - if you can't lose every trick, win as many as possible
Snark  - a wilder version of Anarchy (also for 4-7 players)
hearts type Bugami  - announce in advance which suit you'll take none of in tricks
rummy Rummage  - Rummy with a trick-type method of play
Brummy  - two-dimensional Rummy with Brag hands
bluffing Sneak - bluffing game
memory Memoranda  - which cards were you originally dealt?
 
Alphabetical index
Abstrac
Addenda
Agony Aunt
Anarchy
Bouncers
Brummy
Bugami
Chwech
Collusion
Concerto
Counterbluff
Counterpoint
Cross Purposes
Crummy
Dracula
Doubleduck
Duck Soup
Farrago
Flashpoint
Flunk
Fosco
Ganderpoke
Garbo
Get Stuck
Galapagos
Gooseberry Fool
Hamlet
Head over Heels
Limbo
Memoranda
Minimisère
Mismatch
Multiplicity
Naughty Nun
Ninety-Nine
Parity
Plonk
Prime Time
Romeo and Juliet
Rummage
Seconds
Snark
Sneak
Spec
Squint
Stucco
Tantony
Throps
Tracktrick
Trigami
Triathlon
Twyst
Umbridge
Welsh Whist
Who's Who