One-Eyed Jack is a game for two to four players, played in North Carolina and Tennessee. When played by two or three, they play against each other; four play in partnerships. One-Eyed Jack uses a board created with an extra deck of cards. Players compete to claim spots on the board to complete rows of five adjacent spaces.
Like many card games, especially ones with special equipment, One-Eyed Jack has been adapted as a commercial game. It has been published by two different companies, under the names Sequence and Double Series. The commercial sets include a pre-printed board, chips, and a double-deck of cards, all you need to run the game.
Object of One-Eyed Jack
The object of One-Eyed Jack is to be the first player to complete two rows (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) of five adjacent spaces. In the three-player game, players need only complete one row.
You’ll also need a third deck of cards you don’t want to use for anything else ever again. (Once you’ve gotten some Denexa cards, you can use whatever you were playing with before for this.) Remove all of the jacks from this deck and add two jokers, leaving you with 50 cards. Now, cut each card in half (yes, with scissors! not what we usually mean when we say “cut the cards”!). Then, make another cut to the opposite side of the index to make the piece square. You should end up with 100 square-shaped card pieces. (See the image at right for a diagram of how to cut the cards.)
Now, take your 100 card squares and paste them down in a 10×10 grid on whatever you want to use as a game board. You can use something as simple as posterboard, or get more elaborate and glue them to a piece of wood and apply a coat of varnish. No matter what you do, make sure the four corner squares are the four joker pieces. The rest can be in any order, either random or following some sort of pattern.
You will also need something to serve as markers on the game board. Each player or partnership should have identifiable markers belonging only to them. Differently-colored poker chips work well, but anything will do as long as they will fit in the squares on the board.
To set up for the actual game, supply each player with roughly the same number of markers (about 50 or so should do). Shuffle the two decks together and deal to each player seven cards if there are two players, six if there are three, or five if there are four. The rest of the deck is set aside to become the stock.
The player to the dealer’s left goes first. That player reveals one card from their hand and plays it face-up to the table. They then place a marker on either of the two spaces on the board corresponding to that card. You cannot play a chip in an occupied space, however. Then, they draw a replacement card, ending their turn.
There are no jacks on the board, because the jacks instead of special properties. The two-eyed jacks (J♦-J♣) serve as wild cards. Upon playing them, a player can place a marker on any square they wish. One-eyed jacks (J♠-J♥) are kill cards. When played, you may choose any chip on the board and return it to its owner.
Sometimes, due to a two-eyed jack, a player will have a card in their hand that has both spots on the board occupied. They have two choices when this happens. The player can hold onto the card and hope to draw a one-eyed jack to kill one of the markers in the way. They can also reveal the card and draw a replacement before taking their actual turn.
The four corner spaces are considered community property. These can be used by any player as part of a row, same as if they had a chip on the square.
The first player or partnership to form two horizontal, diagonal, or vertical rows of five claimed squares wins the game. The two rows are allowed to intersect (therefore only requiring nine chips instead of ten). In the three-player game, only one row is needed to win.
Pirate Bridge is a variation of Bridge that doesn’t use established partnerships from hand to hand. Partnerships are determined each deal by whoever is bold enough to make the first bid, and whoever else accepts it. That means your ally this hand might become your enemy the next!
Pirate Bridge was invented by R.F. Foster, and was originally published in 1917. Of note is that Pirate Bridge’s publication actually preceded the development of Contract Bridge. Nonetheless, Pirate Bridge is nowadays usually played the same as Contract Bridge, just with a different bidding procedure. As a result, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the rules of vanilla Contract Bridge before jumping in to Pirate Bridge.
Object of Pirate Bridge
The object of Contract Bridge is to accurately predict the number of tricks in excess of six that a prospective partnership will be able to win, and thus win two games, which constitute a rubber.
Pirate Bridge is played with all of the familiar trappings of Contract Bridge and its descendants. You’ll need a 52-card pack of playing cards, like Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, of course. You’ll also need a Bridge scoresheet, although it’s set up slightly differently than the sheets used in traditional partnership Bridge. Instead of two columns headed “WE” and “THEY”, each player has their own column. As in other forms of Bridge, a horizontal line is drawn across the sheet, separating it into two halves.
Shuffle and deal thirteen cards to each player.
Bidding begins with the dealer. A bid consists of a number, representing the number of odd tricks (tricks in excess of six) that the partnership will collect during the course of the hand, and either a suit to become trump for the upcoming hand or “no trump”. From lowest to highest, the suits rank clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades, no trump. The lowest possible bid is 1♣, a bid to take seven tricks with clubs as trump. 1♣ would be overcalled by a bid of 1♦, and so on up to 1♠, then 1NT, which would be overcalled by 2♣.
On their turn to bid, a player may either pass or make a bid. Upon a bid being made, each player in turn must either accept the bid, agreeing to join that player’s partnership, or pass. If nobody agrees to accept the bid, then the bid is rejected and the player making it is treated as though they had simply passed. If all four players pass, the cards are shuffled, and a new hand is dealt.
Once a bid has been made and accepted by another player, the next player to the left may propose a higher bid, which likewise must be accepted by any other player (including one of the participants in the previously accepted bid) in order to become the new high bid.
Rather than overcalling an opponent’s accepted bid, a player may instead double it, which keeps the bid the same but doubles the risk of breaking and the reward of fulfilling the contract. Any bid so doubled by an opponent can be redoubled by one of the players who accepted the original bid, which again doubles the risk and reward of accepting the contract. A player can also attempt to propose a bid higher than the doubled bid, though this must of course be accepted by a potential partner.
Bidding continues until three consecutive players decline to propose a new bid; the current high bid at this point becomes the contract. The winning bidder becomes the declarer, their partner the dummy, and the other partnership the defenders.
Play of the hand and scoring proceeds according to typical Contract Bridge rules. Play begins with the declarer and proceeds clockwise, even if the declarer and dummy are seated next to one another. Each partnership’s hand score is recorded on the score sheet in the columns belonging to the two allied players.
Pope Joan is a game in the Stops family for four to eight players. It was popular amongst families in the Victorian era. Pope Joan is similar to Newmarket (also known as Michigan) with a few added quirks. Most notably, the 8♦ is missing from the deck, so the 9♦ is extremely difficult to put into play. As a result, playing that card, called Pope Joan, awards its owner with a special payout.
Object of Pope Joan
The object of Pope Joan is to obtain the most chips over the course of the game. Chips are collected by playing particular cards associated with individual pots that the players contribute to.
Pope Joan uses a 51-card deck of playing cards, formed by removing the 8♦ from the standard 52-card deck. Individuals found using cards other than Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards are to be questioned as to their motives.
You’ll also need chips for keeping track of who is winning. You can have your players buy in and have your chips represent real money if you like, but because the game is more luck-based than poker, it is probably better to just let the chips have no cash value. See our post on counting chips for tips on selecting and counting chips. Give each player an equal number of chips to start out with.
Pope Joan is traditionally played with a special board consisting of eight pockets or indentations to hold each of the various pools of chips. These are labeled “Pope”, “Matrimony”, “Intrigue”, Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Game. A custom-made board is not necessary to play the game, however; whatever means of keeping the pots separate will work. Some ideas include simply drawing divisions on a large sheet of paper or posterboard, using eight drinking glasses (although be advised that using red plastic cups may give onlookers the wrong idea as to what kind of game you’re playing), eight chip trays, a cupcake tin, or whatever. Just be sure that each container is clearly labeled as to which pool the divider contains.
The ante and deal
The first dealer should be determined randomly. They ante six chips to the Pope pool, two each to Matrimony and Intrigue, and one each to all of the remaining pots. The dealer is the only person who antes.
Deal the cards out as evenly as they will go, to as many hands as there are players, plus one. For example, if playing with three players, deal four hands of thirteen cards. The cards to the extra hand should be dealt last, after the dealer’s cards, but before the player to their left’s. Some hands may receive more cards than others; this is fine.
The final (51st) card dealt is turned face up. The suit of this card becomes the “trump” suit for the hand. It should be noted that, in this game, the trump suit does not rank higher than the other suits, as a true trump suit does. If this card is eligible to win any of the pots (see below), the dealer immediately collects the corresponding pot.
Game play begins with the player to the dealer’s left, who plays the lowest card that they hold of any suit they wish, face up. The player that holds the next-higher card of that suit then plays it, and so on. Cards rank in their usual order, with aces high. Players keep playing progressively higher cards of the same suit until nobody is able to continue. This happens because 1) the ace of that suit has been reached, 2) the 7♦ is played, or 3) the necessary card is in the extra, unplayed hand. When this occurs, the last player who was able to make a valid play then starts a new sequence with the lowest card they hold of any suit.
Each pool on the board, except the Game pool, is associated with a particular card or set of cards. When someone plays these cards, they collect the appropriate pot. These pools are:
- Ace, King, Queen, Jack: The appropriate card of the trump suit.
- Intrigue: The queen and jack of trump.
- Matrimony: The king and queen of trump.
- Pope: The 9♦.
Game play continues until one player runs out of cards. That player takes the Game pot. Each of the winner’s opponents pays them one chip for each card left in their hand (except for the 9♦). Any remaining chips in any of the pools remain on the table for the next hand.
Liar’s Poker recasts the bluffing spirit of the game of poker into an I Doubt It-style affair, doing away with the gambling aspect altogether. That makes it an excellent game for younger players, or to familiarize new players with the poker hands. It can be played with two to eight players, but is best with three to five.
Object of Liar’s Poker
The object of Liar’s Poker is to successfully determine whether the active player in fact has the hand they claim to have.
Liar’s Poker is played with a 54-card deck of playing cards, formed by adding two jokers to a standard 52-card deck. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t wish you’d use Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards in your game. You’ll also need something to keep score with. Pencil and paper is fine, but it’s much simpler to use a supply of markers, such as poker chips.
Select the first active player by any convenient means, such as mutual agreement or high-card draw. Shuffle and deal five cards to that player only. The rest of the deck becomes the stock.
The first player looks at the five-card hand they have dealt. They then declare any standard poker hand that they assert the hand contains (jokers act as wild cards). They may simply declare the hand type that they purport to hold (e.g. “a pair”), or they may declare more specifics, such as “a pair of 10s”, “a pair of 10s with an ace kicker”, etc. The player to the left of the active player must decide whether or not they believe the declaration. If they do, they accept the hand, and the cards pass to that player.
The new active player then looks at the cards. They don’t reveal whether or not the declaration was true or not. Instead, they may discard up to four cards, face down, and draw new ones to bring the hand back up to five cards. They must then make a declaration higher than that of their predecessor. This may be a wholesale improvement in the hand (e.g. going from “a pair” to “two pair” or “a pair of 5s” to “a pair of 9s”) or it may disclose more information than the previous one. For example, if the previous player declared “a pair of jacks”, then “a pair of jacks with a queen kicker”, “a pair of jacks with a 7”, etc. would
If a player doesn’t believe a declaration that has been presented to them, they call “Liar!” If the declaration was honest, then the active player reveals just as many cards needed to prove the declaration correct, and the doubter is given one point. Otherwise, the cards are discarded, face down, and the liar gets one point. In either case, the cards are shuffled. The player that scored the point is dealt a new hand and becomes the new active player.
Game play continues until one player reaches a predetermined number of points. The player with the lowest score at that point is the winner.
Tyzicha is a Russian card game for three players. In this trick-taking game, the trump suit changes every time a player reveals a king and queen of the same suit. That means which suit is trump can change several times over the course of a hand!
Object of Tyzicha
The object of Tyzicha is to be the first player to reach a score of 1,001 points. Points are scored by accurately bidding on the number of points that can be made on each hand and proceeding to collect those points.
Tyzicha is played with a 24-card deck. To obtain one, start with a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. Remove all of the 8s through 2s, leaving 9s through aces in each of the four suits. It’s a good idea to hold on to a full rank of the discarded cards (such as all the 2s) to serve as trump markers. You’ll also need pencil and paper for scoring.
Shuffle and deal seven cards to each player. Place the remaining three cards face down in the center of the table, forming the widow.
The cards rank slightly out of their usual order in Tyzicha. The 10 is ranked just below the ace, but above the face cards. That means the full order of card ranking is (high) A, 10, K, Q, J, 9 (low).
Before the hand actually starts, the bid for the ensuing hand must be determined. The player to the dealer’s right bids first. They may either make an opening bid of 110 or pass. The next player to the left (the dealer) has the chance to bid or pass next. Once someone has bid 110, the next player may raise by ten points to 120, or else pass. A player may not raise by anything other than ten points. When a player passes, they drop out of the bidding and cannot bid again on that hand. When two players have passed, the remaining player becomes the declarer, and their bid becomes the contract for the hand.
Should the first two players pass on the first round of bidding, the third player (the player to the dealer’s left) is forced to play. A forced player may opt to accept a typical 110-point bid as usual. However, they also have the special option of making a contract of only 100 points. While this reduces their risk in the ensuing hand, it also limits their pre-hand options slightly, as described below.
After the bidding is concluded, the declarer turns the widow face-up. Once their opponents have seen it, they take it into their hand. They then choose one card from their hand (either one of the cards they had before, or a card from the widow) to give, face up, to each of their opponents, bringing each player to eight cards.
If, after exchanging cards, the declarer believes their hand has improved, they may choose to raise their bid. Raises must be a multiple of ten points. On the other hand, if they feel they are unlikely to make their contract, they may concede the hand. They deduct the value of the bid from their score, and each opponent scores 40 points. The hand is then over at that point.
If the declarer was forced and bid only 100 points, there are slightly different rules for dealing with the widow. Neither the widow, nor the cards passed to the opponents, are turned face up. Also, the declarer’s bid is locked in at 100; they cannot raise beyond this. A player with a bid of 100 may still choose to concede, however.
Play of the hand
The declarer leads to the first trick. Each player must follow suit, if possible. If not, they must play a trump; only if they have neither a trump nor a card of the suit led may they play a card of the other two suits. Players must also head the trick. That is, they must play a card able to win the trick if they have one they can legally play. The highest trump played to a trick wins it. If no trump was played, the highest card of the suit led takes the trick. Won tricks are not added to the hand; instead, they are placed in a won-tricks pile in front of each player. The player that won the trick leads to the next one.
Initially, there is no trump suit. If a player has a king and queen of the same suit when it is their turn to lead, they may reveal both of these cards as a marriage. They must then lead either of them to the trick. The trump suit then changes to that of the marriage. Which suit is trump may change multiple times per hand as players reveal further marriages. To remind the players of the current trump suit, keep an out-of-play card of the appropriate suit displayed, changing it as necessary.
Once all eight tricks have been played, the hand is scored. The declarer totals the value of the cards they captured in tricks. Aces are worth eleven points, 10s are worth ten, kings four, queens three, and jacks two. 9s have no point value. To this total, the declarer adds the value of any marriages they revealed in the hand. A marriage in hearts is worth 100 points, in diamonds 80, in clubs 60, and in spades 40. If the combined total exceeds the contract value, the declarer has made their contract.
A declarer that fulfills their contract scores the value of the contract (not their hand total). If the declarer breaks contract, they subtract the value of the contract from their score instead. In this case, the declarer’s opponents also score the value of their hand (calculated the same way as is done for the declarer).
The deal passes to the left and new hands are dealt. Game play continues until a player reaches a score of 1,001 or more points. A player is capped at a score of exactly 1,000 points when not the declarer, meaning players must make a contract on their final hand in order to win the game.
James Bond is a card game from the Commerce group of games. It can be played by either two or three players. It plays very similarly to a smaller, non-partnership version of Cash (Kemps), with each player holding multiple hands. In James Bond, players manage several four-card piles of cards, swapping cards with those on the table to make four-of-a-kinds.
Object of James Bond
The object of James Bond is to be the first player to collect four of a kind in each of their four-card piles.
James Bond is played using one standard 52-card pack of playing cards. Believe us, if you use Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, you’ll definitely be as cool as James Bond.
Shuffle and deal the entire deck out into piles of four. With two players, give each player six of the piles; with three, give each player four piles. Players should keep the piles in front of them, clearly separated, and not look at them until the game begins. You’ll be left with one extra pile; turn it face up and spread it in the center of the play area, easily accessible to all players.
Players do not take turns in James Bond. Instead, every player acts simultaneously, playing as quickly as they can. Claiming cards is very much a first-come, first-served sort of ordeal!
Upon a signal from the dealer, all players begin play at once. They may pick up any one of their piles and look at it. If they wish to look at a different pile, they must place the first one face down on the table before picking up another one. A player cannot hold one or more piles in their hand at the same time. Piles cannot be combined, and cards may not be switched directly between piles.
When a player is holding one of their piles in their hand, they may switch any one card from that pile with one of the cards on the table. A player cannot switch more than one card at a time. If a player wishes to take multiple cards from the table, they must switch one card, then the other. Players may move cards between piles by swapping them with cards on the table, then switching piles and swapping again. Of course, this runs the risk of an opponent claiming the cards during the time that they’re on the table.
Game play continues until one player has collected four of a kind in every one of their piles. They call out “James Bond!” and turn their cards face up to allow the opponents to verify that they do, in fact, have four of a kind in each pile. If so, the player wins the game.
A decent amount of skill in this game is simply being fast. A player swapping cards quickly is more likely to establish a four-of-a-kind before their opponent. Part of this is inherent reflexes, and part is just practice.
Other than that, the best strategy in this game is to simply be aware of what’s going on. It’s easy to get lost in the frenzy of card swapping and get tunnel vision for what you need to complete your piles. Try to pay attention to what your opponent is doing, though. If you can remember what your opponent has been taking, you can retain cards of that rank in your piles until you are ready to complete a four-of-a-kind. If you have multiple cards of that rank split across piles, you can seriously delay them in completing their piles.
Truc is a trick-taking game played throughout Spain and southern France. It is played by four players in partnerships. Unlike most trick-taking games, Truc doesn’t require you to follow the suit of the card led. Hands of Truc can be very short, because they are only played out until a majority of the three tricks have been decided. A hand of Truc can also be abruptly stopped by one team rejecting a proposed raise by their opponents.
Truc is descended from Put, a game played in England as far back as 1674. Truc, in turn, was exported to South America, where it evolved into Truco.
Object of Truc
The object of Truc is to be the first partnership to score twelve points by taking at least two of the three tricks in each hand.
Truc is traditionally played with a Spanish 40-card deck. To make an equivalent deck out of a standard 52-card deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, remove the 8s, 9s, and 10s, leaving a deck of aces, face cards, and 7s through 2s in each of the four suits. You also need some way of keeping score, such as pencil and paper.
Determine partnerships by any method that is agreed upon, such as a random method like high-card draw or simply mutual agreement. Players sit opposite one another. Prior to the first hand, each partnership may retreat to a location where the other team will not overhear them and devise a system of signals to use throughout the game. These signals can communicate anything that the players desire, including the overall strength of their hand, the cards they hold, what they want their partner to play, and so on. Partners can also communicate verbally throughout the hand. Nothing’s off limits!
The dealer shuffles and offers the deck to the player to their left to cut. They may do so, or simply tap the pack, declining to cut. If the deck is cut, deal three cards to each player. If the cut was refused, the dealer has the option to deal only one card to each player (making for a much shorter hand).
Truc uses a special card ranking unique to the game. 3s, 2s, and aces are the highest-ranking cards in the game, and the rest of the cards rank in their usual order. Therefore, the full rank of cards is (high) 3, 2, A, K, Q, J, 7, 6, 5, 4 (low).
Game play starts with the player on the right of the dealer, and thereafter continues to the right. This player leads to the first trick. Each player in turn plays a card to the trick. A player may play any card to a trick; there is no requirement to follow suit. The person playing the highest card wins the trick. If two players on opposite teams tie for high card, the trick is a draw. The individual player that won the trick leads to the next one. If nobody won the trick, the player who led to that trick leads to the next one.
A hand only continues until the majority of tricks in it have been determined. If the first two tricks are won by the same partnership, there is no need to play the third one.
The partnership that wins the majority of the tricks wins the hand. If there is a tie, due to one or more tricks not being won by either player, the dealer’s opponents win the hand. Whichever team wins the hand scores one point. The deal passes to the right, with any unplayed cards shuffled into the deck unexposed.
Raising the stakes
At any time during their turn, either before or after playing a card, a player may raise the stakes for the hand to two points by calling “truc”. The next player in turn may either accept the raise by playing a card (or making a verbal declaration of “accept”, “OK”, or the like) or reject it by placing their cards face down on the table (or saying “No” or similar).
Once a truc has been accepted, it may be re-raised by calling “retruc”, proposing a raise to three points. As before, the next player to their right then has the option to accept or reject the retruc. Only an opponent of the first raiser may re-raise. A retruc may be called either on the same trick as the original truc, or a later trick.
If a raise is accepted, the winners of the hand score the amount of points agreed to as a result of the raise. If a raise is rejected, play of the hand stops immediately. The partnership that proposed the most recent raise scores whatever the last agreed-upon amount for the hand was.
A score of eleven
Because a partnership with a score of eleven is only one point away from winning the game, special rules apply when either partnership has scored eleven points. A full three-card hand must be dealt; a player cannot give the dealer the option to deal only one card. If only one partnership has a score of eleven, that partnership looks at their cards and decides whether or not to play. If they do, the hand is played for three points. In the event that both partnerships are tied at eleven, the hand is played as usual, with the winner of the hand winning the entire game.
The first partnership to score twelve or more points is the winner.
Schwimmen, also known as Thirty-One (no relation to the other game called Thirty-One that we’ve covered), is a member of the Commerce family of card games. It can be played with two to eight players. As with other games in that group, the game revolves around exchanging cards from your hand with cards on the table. Though known worldwide, it is most popular in Germany and western Austria.
Object of Schwimmen
The object of Schwimmen is to form the hand with the highest point value by exchanging cards from the table with those from your hand.
Schwimmen uses the 32-card deck common to many German games. Starting from a standard 52-card deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, remove the 2s through 6s, leaving 7s through aces in each of the four suits. Score is kept using tokens, such as chips. Give each player an equal number—three works well.
Shuffle and deal each player three cards. Then deal three cards, face down, to the center of the table. The remainder of the deck becomes the stock.
Aces are worth eleven points, face cards are worth ten, and all others their face value. Suits rank (high) clubs, spades, hearts, diamonds (low), the same order as in Skat.
Prior to the start of actual play, the dealer looks at their hand and decides whether they want to keep it. If they do, the cards on the table are simply flipped face-up. If not, the dealer discards their original hand, takes the three face-down table cards as their hand, then turns their old hand face up on the table.
Play of the hand
The player to the dealer’s left goes first. On their turn, a player may exchange one card from their hand with one on the table. If a player greatly dislikes their hand, they may elect to exchange all three cards. It is not allowed to keep one card and exchange the other two, however; it’s one or all. A player may also pass if they do not like any of the cards on the board.
The turn then passes to the left. This continues until one player is satisfied with the value of their hand. They then close the hand (equivalent to knocking in many other card games). Each of the closer’s opponents gets one last turn, and the hand ends when the turn to play again reaches the closer.
If an entire orbit around the table is made with every player passing, the dealer discards the three board cards. They then deal three new board cards from the stock.
There are two special combinations in Schwimmen:
- Feuer: Three aces. Such a hand is worth 32 points. (Feuer is German for fire.)
- Schnauz: A hand, all in the same suit, with a value of exactly 31 points. This can only be achieved by holding an ace and two of the ten-point cards (the face cards and the 10).
When a player finds themselves with a special combination, whether because it was dealt to them or because they exchanged to get it, they must reveal it immediately. The hand ends at that point. (Because the hand was not closed, the other players do not get another turn.)
After a hand ends, each player calculates their score. The hand score, in most cases, is the value of all of the cards of its highest-scoring suit. For example, a hand of A♠-K♦-7♥ would score eleven. This is because the player holds three one-card suits, and the spade is the highest-scoring. However, a hand composed of A♠-K♦-7♦ would score seventeen, because the diamonds combine to outscore the lone spade.
There are a few exceptions to this scoring method. Two of these are the special combinations described above. A third is that three-of-a-kind always scores 30½, no matter what rank it is.
If a player wins with a Feuer, then each of their opponents loses one chip. Otherwise, just the player holding the lowest point total loses one chip. If there is a tie for lowest, it is broken by the suit of the player’s scoring cards. Ranks of three-of-a-kinds are broken by the rank of the three-of-a-kind. If there is still an unresolved tie, then both players lose a chip.
Ending the game
The deal passes to the left, and another hand is played. Players will continue losing chips as further hands are played. When a player loses all of their chips, they are said to be schwimmen (German for swimming). A schwimmen player can continue playing, but if they lose again, they are eliminated.
Game play continues until all of the players but one are eliminated. The sole remaining player is the winner. (If the last two players are tied on a hand while they are both schwimmen, play another hand as a tiebreaker.)
Indian Chief is a unique rummy game for two to eight players. It bears a slight similarity to the Contract Rummy subfamily of games, due to its requirement to form a particular series of melds. Unlike the Contract Rummy games, however, the order that the melds are formed doesn’t matter, so long as the cards melded can be counted as something. In this way, the game is more akin to the dice game Yacht than many card games!
Indian Chief was created by Stven Carlberg of Decatur, Georgia. He posted its rules to the BoardGameGeek forum in January 2009. The game was very well received there; several players created additional scoresheets and reference materials for it. It continues to be actively recommended by the site’s userbase to this day.
Object of Indian Chief
The object of Indian Chief is to form the highest-scoring instances of the game’s seven melds.
Indian Chief uses one standard 52-card deck of playing cards, when playing with two or three players, and two standard decks if you’re playing with more than that. If you’ve got some Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards handy, why not use those?
You also need a Indian Chief score sheet and something to write with. If you want, you can print off ours (shown to the right; click on it to bring it up full-size). Otherwise, just copy it down onto whatever sort of paper is handy. Most people will use something like a piece of notebook paper, but if you want to scribble it down on the back of a junk mail envelope, well, you do you.
Shuffle and deal eight cards, face down, to each player. Set the deck stub aside.
Players look at their hands and decide on which meld they wish to form. They take the cards forming that meld from their hand and, at a signal, all players reveal their melds simultaneously. The value of each player’s meld is calculated and recorded in the appropriate box on the score sheet under their name.
Players do not have the option to simply not meld—a player must make a meld on every turn. Because each meld includes a different number of cards, it is obvious which meld a player is attempting to make by the number of cards they reveal. If the revealed cards don’t qualify for the meld attempted, the player simply enters a score of zero in that box. Players may not attempt to re-make a meld that they already have a score written down for (e.g. if you already have a number in the “Doctor” box, you cannot make another six-card Doctor meld).
Once the melds have been scored, the dealer replenishes everyone’s hands back up to eight cards from the deck stub. The melds from the previous round are then collected and restored to the deck. The deck is then shuffled in preparation for the next turn.
Below are the seven possible melds (each named after a line in a Mother Goose rhyme) in Indian Chief. When a card’s “face value” is referred to, aces are worth one point, face cards are worth ten points, and all other cards their pip value. The number next to each meld is the number of cards it contains.
- Rich Man (5): Any five cards. The face values of these five cards are added together and placed on the score sheet as a negative value.
- Poor Man (3): Any three cards. The face values of any spades melded are added together to determine the score for the meld.
- Beggar Man (2): Any two cards. Score two points for each of the cards in the opponent’s melds that match the Beggar Man cards in rank.
- Thief (1): Any one card. Score its face value. After the melds have been scored, a player melding the Thief may steal a card from an opponent’s meld instead of being dealt an unknown card from the deck. If multiple Thieves have been played on one turn, they steal in order from the lowest card played to the highest. If there’s a tie, they must agree to steal different cards, or neither of them may steal.
- Doctor (6): Six cards of all different ranks, one of which must be a heart, and one of which must be an ace. If all conditions are met, the player names a suit and scores ten point for each of the cards in the meld of that suit. Otherwise, score zero.
- Lawyer (4): Four cards whose face values add up to exactly 25. If they do, score 25 points; otherwise, score zero.
- Indian Chief (7): A five-card poker hand (see rank of poker hands) and a two-card Baccarat hand. Score the Baccarat hand first, by adding the values of the two cards, then dropping the tens digit. Add the value of the poker hand, as listed below, to get the total score for the meld:
- Five of a kind: 50 points.
- Straight flush (including royal flushes): 45 points.
- Four of a kind: 40 points.
- Full house: 35 points.
- Flush: 30 points.
- Straight: 25 points.
- Three of a kind: 20 points.
- Two pair: 15 points.
- Pair: 10 points.
- High card: 5 points.
Ending the game
The game ends after seven turns, after which each player will have filled up their score sheet. The players’ scores for each meld are simply totaled, and the player with the highest score wins.
- Original post at BoardGameGeek (includes an explanation of how the melds relate to their names)
Nuts, also known as Nerts, Pounce, and Racing Demon, among other names, is a competitive solitaire game. It can be played by two to four players, although more may be accommodated by dividing into partnerships. Functionally, Nuts resembles multiple frenzied games of Canfield being played simultaneously.
Object of Nuts
To play Nuts, you’ll need one deck of cards for each player. Each deck of cards in play must have a distinct back design. (For two players, a two-deck set of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards works just fine.) You’ll also need something to keep score with, such as the venerable pencil and paper.
Players should seat themselves such that they are all facing a central area, where the foundations will be played. This central area should be accessible by all players, with plenty of room between players to allow for easy movement. If playing with an even number of players greater than four, players should pair up by any convenient means. Partners should sit next to one another. In a partnership game, the partners cooperate, however they see fit, to play more quickly. (We will describe the game as though it were being played by solo players below; any time a “player” is mentioned it should be understood that this applies to a partnership, where appropriate.)
Each player shuffles and deals thirteen cards from their own deck, face down, into a pile. They then square up the pile, and turn it face up, so only the top card can be seen. This forms the reserve. To the right of the reserve, deal a line of four cards, face up, forming the tableau. The remainder of the deck becomes the stock.
There are no turns in Nuts. Instead, everyone plays simultaneously. When conflicts arise, the first card to be played (usually the one that ended up below the other) takes precedence. Cards rank in their usual order, with aces low.
Play of the hand
The tableau is built down by alternating colors (red cards are played on black cards and vice versa), in descending rank order. When a card is moved, all cards on top of it are moved as well. In other words, the tableau works pretty much exactly like that of Canfield or Klondike. A player may play to their own tableau only; their opponents’ are off-limits.
The top card of the reserve is available to be moved to any legal location at any time. Cards beneath the top card are not accessible and should not be known to the player.
Cards may be drawn, three at a time, from the stock and placed in a discard pile, from which they may be moved to any location. Only the third card is available for play, freeing up the second card when the third is played, etc. After the stock is fully depleted, the discard pile is flipped over to replenish it.
When an empty spot appears in the tableau, any accessible card (the top card of the reserve, a card from the discard pile, or cards from elsewhere in the tableau) may be moved to fill the vacancy.
When a player encounters an ace, it may be moved to the central area to form a new foundation pile. The foundation piles are built up by suit, in ascending rank order. Any player may add to a foundation pile, not just the player that started it. Players may create a new foundation whenever they have an ace, even if another incomplete foundation pile exists. No new cards may be added to a foundation whenever a king has been played to it. Once played to a foundation, a card cannot be removed from it.
After the hand has gone on for a while, players will be unable to make any additional moves, due to a lack of necessary cards (trapped either in the reserve or in inaccessible parts of the stock). When all players reach this state, or otherwise agree to do so, they may flip their discard piles to reform their stock, then, move its top card to the bottom. This is usually enough to adjust the deck so new cards are now accessible.
Ending the hand
The hand ends whenever a player depletes their reserve. They call out “Nuts!” and game play immediately ceases. (Players in the process of moving cards may complete their moves, but no new cards may be picked up.)
It occasionally happens that none of the cards in a player’s stock are playable. If every player finds themselves in this situation, the hand ends.
The foundation piles are collected, then separated based on their backs. This allows a count to be made of the number of cards each player contributed to the foundations. Each player scores one point for each card played to the foundations. Two points are then subtracted for each card left in their reserve.
Players collect their cards back into full decks, then shuffle and deal new hands. Game play continues until at least one player exceeds a score of 100 points. The player with the highest score at that point is the winner.