David Parlett'S

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ORIGINAL CARD GAMES

New ways with ordinary playing-cards for adventurous players

"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 arrow4Solo   Right arrow4Partners   Right arrow5   or Right arrow6 as the case may be.

game type description
GAMES FOR 2 PLAYERS Right arrow3   Right arrow4S   Right arrow4P   Right arrow5   Right arrow6
Colour-blind plain tricks Choose whether to win red cards or black (better for 3 players)
Cross Purposes plain tricks One of you chooses a trump suit, the other a top rank
Duck Soup plain tricks This one's likely to drive you both quackers
Ninety-Nine plain tricks Bid to win an exact number of tricks (better for three)
Parity plain tricks Odd or even? A skill-demanding game of perfect information
Umbridge plain tricks A perversion of Bridge for two
Addenda point tricks Aim to win tricks counting 17 points each
Counterpoint point tricks Predict how many card-points you'll win in tricks
Galapagos hybrid Three games in one: win tricks, make melds, get rid of your cards
Stucco matching A match-and-go-out game of perfect information
Caterpillar arithmetical A fairly simple adding-up game
Dracula arithmetical An arithmetical game with a bloodthirsty count
Fosco arithmetical A game of perfect information with another villainous count
Limbo arithmetical Get as low under the bar as you can by deducting and dividing
Prime Time arithmetical Make primes from three-card combinations (better for three)
Abstrac nim-type Pick up cards to make combinations (perfect information)
Brummy rummy Two-dimensional Rummy
Rumpelstiltskin rummy A multiplicative variety of Rummy (better for three)
Ganderpoke layout A five-by-five square game with Poker hands
Garbo layout A four-by-four square game where each card "vants to be alone"
Get Stuck layout A quasi board game on a grid of seven by seven cards
Romeo & Juliet layout A romantic card-board game on a grid of seven by seven cards
Spec layout A silly guessing game - or is it?
Counterbluff bluffing Bluff with constantly-evolving Poker hands
Sneak bluffing If you've got it, flaunt it; if not, bluff it
GAMES FOR 3 PLAYERS Right arrow2   Right arrow4S   Right arrow4P   Right arrow5   Right arrow6
Colour-blind plain tricks Choose whether to win red cards or black
Farrago plain tricks An experiment with using a different trumping rule at every deal
Flunk plain tricks Any relation to three-handed Bridge is purely fortuitous
Gooseberry Fool plain tricks Divide and rule by winning the middling number of tricks
Hamlet plain tricks With supporting roles for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Ninety-Nine plain tricks Bid to win a precise number of tricks
Naughty Nun plain tricks Like Ninety-Nine, but with silly additions and variations
Tracktrick plain tricks A three-in-a-row quasi-board game requiring accurate trick-play
Triathlon plain tricks In which you aim to perform three trick-taking feats
Who's Who plain tricks Which of the other two players is your secret partner?
Counterpoint point tricks Predict how many card-points you'll win in tricks
Tantony point tricks In which you win tricks and give them away. (Better for four)
Welsh Whist point tricks A fun game with Jokers and bluffing, but no cheating (by order)
Anarchy wild tricks Play as you please and score how you like (best for five)
Snark wild tricks A wilder version of Anarchy (best for 5 Boojums)
Throps wild tricks A three-player variant of Gops ("Game Of Perfect Strategy")
Bouncers trick-avoid A sort of cross between Gops and Hearts
Minimisère trick-avoid If you can't lose every trick, win as many as possible
Trigami trick-avoid Choose which suit not to win cards of in tricks
Brummy rummy Two-dimensional Rummy
Crummy rummy Rummy with a trick-type method of play (better for four)
Rumpelstiltskin rummy A multiplicative variety of Rummy (better for three)
Dracula arithmetical An arithmetical game with a bloodthirsty count (better for two)
Prime Time arithmetical Make prime numbers from three-card combinations
Spec layout A silly guessing game - or is it?
Sneak bluffing If you've got it, flaunt it; if not, bluff it
GAMES FOR 4 PLAYING SOLO Right arrow2   Right arrow3   Right arrow4P   Right arrow5   Right arrow6
Collusion plain tricks Hilarious game of (mis)alliances and double-crossings
Chwech plain tricks You needn't play to a trick if you don't want to (best for six)
Farrago plain tricks An experiment with using a different trumping rule at every deal
Ninety-Nine plain tricks Bid to win a precise number of tricks
Seconds plain tricks in which only the second-best card wins the trick
Tracktrick plain tricks A three-in-a-row quasi-board game requiring accurate trick-play
Twyst plain tricks Twist a card to find your partner. (See also Squint for five)
Tantony point tricks In which you win tricks and give them away.
Welsh Whist point tricks A fun game Jokers and bluffing, but no cheating (by order)
Anarchy wild tricks Play as you please and score how you like (best for 5)
Snark wild tricks A wilder version of Anarchy (best for 5 Boojums)
Agony Aunt trick-avoid Avoid taking penalty cards; requires also counters and a board
Bugami trick-avoid Choose which suit not to win cards of in tricks (cf. Trigami for 3)
Minimisère trick-avoid If you can't lose every trick, win as many as possible. (5 best)
Mismatch trick-avoid The antidote to Rummy: avoid winning card-combinations
Brummy rummy Two-dimensional Rummy
Crummy trick-rummy Rummy with a trick-type method of play (better for four)
Rummage trick-rummy Another Rummy with a trick-type method of play (better for 5)
Spec layout A silly guessing game - or is it?
Memoranda memory Can you remember Which cards were you originally dealt?
GAMES FOR 4 IN FIXED PARTNERSHIPS Right arrow2   Right arrow3   Right arrow4S   Right arrow5   Right arrow6
Colourblind plain tricks Choose whether to win red cards or black (better for 3 players)
Cross Purposes plain tricks One side chooses a trump suit, the other a top rank. (Also for two)
Addenda point tricks Aim to win tricks counting 17 points each
Plonk point tricks Win tricks containing cards of different suits. Not so easy...
Tantony point tricks In which you win tricks and give them away.
Flashpoint trick-rummy Play tricks to win card combinations
Get Stuck layout A quasi board game on a grid of 7x7 cards. (Also for two)
Concerto poker hands Coöperatively construct poker hands
GAMES FOR 5 PLAYERS Right arrow2   Right arrow3   Right arrow4S   Right arrow4P   Right arrow6
Chwech plain tricks You needn't play to a trick if you don't want to (best for six)
Farrago plain tricks An experiment with using a different trumping rule at every deal
Squint plain tricks Twist a card to find your partner. (See also Twyst for four)
Welsh Whist point tricks A fun game with Jokers and bluffing, but no cheating (by order)
Anarchy wild tricks Play as you please and score how you like
Snark wild tricks A wilder version of Anarchy.
Minimisère trick-avoid If you can't lose every trick, win as many as possible
Bugami trick-avoid Choose which suit not to win cards of in tricks
Crummy trick-rummy Rummy with a trick-type method of play (better for four)
Brummy rummy Two-dimensional Rummy
Sneak bluffing If you've got it, flaunt it; if not, bluff it
Memoranda memory Can you remember Which cards were you originally dealt?
Minimisère trick-avoid If you can't lose every trick, win as many as possible
GAMES FOR 6 PLAYERS Right arrow2   Right arrow3   Right arrow4S   Right arrow4P   Right arrow5
Chwech plain tricks You needn't play to a trick if you don't want to. (Designed for six)
Snark wild tricks Keep recycing your cards till you softly and silently vanish away
Bugami trick-avoid Choose which suit not to win cards of in tricks
Crummy trick-rummy Rummy with a trick-type method of play (better for four)
Rummage trick-rummy Another Rummy with a trick-type method of play (better for 5)
Memoranda memory Can you remember Which cards were you originally dealt?

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