Players 4 (non-partnership)
Type Tricks and avoiding combinations
This anti-Rummy, anti-partnership trick-taking game is based
on the novel idea of going out of your way to avoid making
card combinations. (Lowball Poker might be considered an earlier example,
but Poker doesn't involve any actual card-play.) It also incorporates my
anarchist rule of trick-play, namely, that you don't have to follow suit but
can play any card you like, so it is impossible to revoke. (If you like this
idea, see also Plonk).
Whoever cuts the highest card deals first. The turn to deal and play passes
always to the left. Deal 13 cards each in batches of 3-3-3-1.
To avoid winning tricks, and especially tricks containing matches. A match
is two or more cards of the same rank or suit (pairs or flushes), or three or
more cards in numerical order (runs). Penalties are scored for winning tricks
and matches, so the eventual winner is the player with the lowest penalty score.
Dealer's left-hand neighbour leads to the first trick and the winner of each
trick leads to the next. You can play any card you like to a trick, but will
want to avoid matching the rank or suit of any card already played to it, or
(when playing third or fourth) completing a run of three or four.
If the trick does not contain a match, it is taken by the
highest card played, and its penalty score is that of the lowest card played,
which will be anything from 2 to 10. If you win such a trick, you place its
lowest card face up on the table before you to show your penalty score, and
throw the other three face down to a common waste-pile.
If the trick does contain a match, it is won by the last
player to duplicate a rank or suit, or to complete a run of three or four.
(Ace counts high or low in a run, i.e. A-K-Q or A-2-3.) Its penalty value is
a multiple of 10 as follows:
10 for two of the same suit 20 for two of the same rank (pair) 30 for three of the same rank or suit, or a run of three 40 for four of the same rank or suit, or a run of four
Each and every match contained in a trick you win counts against you, even
any to which you didn't personally contribute. For each 10 involved, place
any card from the trick face down on the table before you
and discard the rest to a common waste-pile. If the penalty is 50 or more,
take as many extra cards as you need from the waste-pile.
At end of play your penalty score is the total face values of all the numeral
cards lying face up in your penalty pile, plus 10 for each penalty card lying
The overall winner is the player with the lowest penalty score at the end of
eight deals, or when one player has reached 250 in penalties. (Or any other
previously agreed number of deals or points.)
Examples of scoring
The penalty value of each of these four tricks is as follows:
10 for the spades, 20 for the Fives, total
30 for three Eights, 10 for the two diamonds, total
10 each for the hearts and spades, 30 for the run, total
20 for the Threes, 30 for diamonds, 60 for two runs of three, total