Original Card Games by David Parlett

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TWYST


Distantly related to Solo Whist

Players 4   Cards 52   Type Tricks

First published donkey's years ago in Games & Puzzles magazine (No. 61), Twyst derives from a five-player game called Squint that appeared in my book "Original Card Games". I recently played it again and decided it could do with some simplification, as follows. (For the five-player equivalent, see Squint.)

Cards
Deal 13 cards each, in ones, from a 52-card pack ranking AKQJ1098765432 in each suit.
Bidding
Examine your hand, decide on a bid, pick a card to represent it, and hold it face down on the table. The possible bids and the cards used to represent them are:
 Win 7+ tricks at no trump (solo) Any Ace
 Win 7+ tricks with trumps (solo) K, Q or J of your proposed trump
 Win 7+ with trumps and a partner Numeral 3 - 10 of your proposed trump*
 Misère: win 0 tricks at no trump (solo) Any Deuce
 * Note: The higher the numeral, the more confident you should be of your bid, and vice versa.
When all are ready, twist the bid-cards face up. These determine the contract to be played and who is or are the contractor(s), if any, by the following means:

1. If anyone puts out an Ace, the contract is an Ace solo. There is no trump, and the Ace-bidder aims to win 7 or more tricks. If there are two Ace-bidders they both play as individuals (but of course at least one of them will lose).

2. If anyone puts out a Deuce they play a Misère. There is no trump and they aim to lose every trick. If there are both Ace and Deuce bidders, they all play their contracts simultaneously and will all score as individuals according to the outcome.

3. If anyone puts out a court card, and there are no Aces or Deuces showing, the contract is a Court Solo in the suit of the bid-card and the soloist aims to win 7 or more tricks. If two or more bid a court solo, the soloist is the one who bid with the highest-ranking court (K beats Q beats J). If still equal, it is the eldest hand (i.e. the bidder nearest the dealer's left).

4. If the bid-cards do not include any Ace, Deuce or court card, the contract depends on the combination of suits shown on the four bid-cards as follows:
a. All different (spade heart club diamond). Whoever put out the highest numeral plays a Twist Solo. The bid suit is trump and the bidder aims to win more tricks than any other individual player. (This make it possible to win with as few as four tricks, provided the others split 3-3-3.) If the same highest numeral is put out by two or more players, the soloist is the eldest of them.
b. Two of one suit (e.g. spade spade heart club). The two who put out the same suit play a Trump Duo. Their suit is trump and their aim is to win at least as many tricks as indicated by the higher of the two numerals - i.e., from 7 to 10. However, if both numerals are lower than Seven, they must win at least as many tricks as the sum of both numerals - i.e. from 7 (if 3+4) to 11 (if 5+6).
c. Two each of two suits (e.g. spade spade heart heart) Each pair who put out the same suit are partners in a Plain Duo. This is played at no trump and is won by whichever side wins 7 or more tricks.
d. Three or four of a suit ( spade spade spade and any other). The game is a Nemo. Everyone plays for themselves at no trump and the aim is to win tricks that do not contain any card of the suit bid (in this case spade).
Play
The opening lead is made by whomever the soloist nominates to make it. If there is no soloist, or more than one, it is made by the eldest hand. You must follow suit if you can, but may otherwise play any card. The trick is taken by the highest card of the suit led, or by the highest trump if any are played, and the winner of each trick leads to the next.
Score
Scores are kept individually and cumulatively, and can fall below zero. Each soloist or duettist scores as follows:
Contract Target Score if win Deduct if lose
Ace solo 7+ at no trump 20 per trick won 20 per trick lost
Court solo 7+ in suit 15 per trick won 15 per trick lost
Twist solo most in suit 10 per trick won 10 per trick beaten by *
Misère 0 at no trump 150 150
Trump duo as per bid-cards 10 per trick won 10 per trick lost
Plain duo 7+ at no trump 10 per trick won 0
Nemo win clean tricks 10/20 per clean trick** 0
* Ten points for each trick won by the opponent who took most.
** Ten points for each trick you take that does not include a card of the unwanted suit, or 20 per trick for taking no such cards at all. There is no score for winning no trick. (You should have bid misère!)
Game
Play up to 500 points, or to any other agreed target score, or for a previously agreed number of deals. Or, to put it another way, keep playing till you're fed up with it.

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