Salute the King is a card game for three or more players. No great skill or strategy is needed to play—it’s a purely a game of quick reactions and silliness! That makes it a great game to play as a family, especially with children.
Object of Salute the King
The object of Salute the King is to be the first player to run out of cards.
To play Salute the King, you’ll need one standard 52-card deck of playing cards, or two decks if playing with more than eight people. Because games of Salute the King can get pretty rambunctious, use a sturdy deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards to eliminate any risk of damage to the cards.
Shuffle and deal the cards out as evenly as they’ll go. It’s okay if some players have one card more than the others. Players may not look at their cards. Instead, each player gathers their cards into a face-down pile in front of them.
The player to the dealer’s left plays first. They turn a card from their pile face up and quickly place it in the middle of the pile. Players should turn the card by grabbing it from the far edge and flipping it away from them, so that they don’t glimpse the card before anyone else. After the first player turns over a card, the next player to the left does the same thing, and so on around the table. The idea is to get everyone into a rhythm of quickly turning up cards, one after another.
Whenever anyone turns up a face card or an ace, each player must react as follows:
- Ace: Stand up
- King: Salute
- Queen: Place your hand over your heart and bow (staying sitting down)
- Jack: Applaud
The last person to do the required action must collect all of the cards from the middle of the table and add them to the bottom of their card pile. Note that it’s important to do the correct action—saluting a jack or standing up for a queen isn’t going to cut it!
Game play continues until one player runs out of cards. That player is the winner.
You can easily spice up your game of Salute the King by switching out the gestures you have to perform when a face card or ace is turned up. Pretty much any simple gesture or reaction will do. You can also change the ranks that trigger the reactions. You can even make it into a mathematical brainteaser by requiring actions out of players when the pip values of the number cards on the table reaches a certain number, or when prime numbers are played, or whatever else you can come up with!
For a particularly zany game, allow the dealer to choose four triggers and the accompanying reactions at the beginning of each hand!
Umtali is a rummy game for two players. Unlike most rummy games, which only allow sets or sequences of three or more cards, Umtali includes those melds, as well as marriages, and even single cards and pairs under certain circumstances! The result is a fascinating rummy game with lots of melding opportunities. That also means it’s a quick game—expert players can play a hand in five minutes!
Umtali’s heyday is said to have been during the days of colonial Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Indeed, the name Umtali is the former name of what’s now called Mutare, the fourth-largest city in Zimbabwe. Umtali was a popular pastime among train passengers in Rhodesia; its quick play time and the limited play space required make it a great travel game. Nevertheless, by the late 1970s the game had mostly died out in Africa.
Object of Umtali
The object of Umtali is to score more points than your opponent over the course of four hands. Players score points by forming their hand into melds.
To play Umtali, you need a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. Keep your game protected from drink spills and damage by using a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. You’ll also need something to keep score with, like pencil and paper or a smartphone app.
Shuffle and deal ten cards to each player. Place the deck stub in the center of the table, forming the stock. Turn up the top card of the stock and place it next to it. This card becomes the first card of the discard pile. Note that the stock and discard pile divide the play area into two halves; the side nearest each player will be where they play their melds.
The non-dealer plays first. As in most rummy games, a player always starts their turn by drawing, then melding if possible, and finally discarding.
A player begins their turn by drawing a card. They may either draw the top card of the stock, or the top card of the discard player. If the player draws from the discard pile, and they are immediately able to meld the card they drew, they may then also take the next card of the discard pile if they can immediately play it too.
After drawing, a player can meld as many cards as they wish. There are three basic types of melds in Umtali. The first is the set or group, which consists of three or four cards of the same rank, other than jacks. Second is the sequence, which consists of three or more consecutive number cards of the same suit (for example, 5-6-7♥). Aces are always low, ranking below the 2, in sequences. The third is the marriage, which consists of the king and queen of the same suit (e.g. K-Q♣).
Whenever a player wishes to play one of these melds, they place the cards in a vertical, overlapping column, face up, on their side of the play area.
Once a set or sequence has been laid down, it can be extended by either player. For example, the 5-6-7♥ sequence can be extended by adding the 4♥ or 8♥, or a 2♦-2♥-2♣ set extended with the 2♠. However, the extending card is not added in with the existing meld. Instead, the player extending the meld states their intention to do so (e.g. “extending your heart sequence with the 4♥”), and places it on their own side of the table as a new, single-card meld. Single-card melds can in turn be extended the same way, with other cards of the same rank, or a card of the same suit one rank above or below it.
If a player holds a set of cards that form a valid basic meld (a set, sequence, or marriage), it must always be played as such. A player cannot break it up and play it as several single-card melds.
Special rules apply for melding jacks. Jacks cannot form part of a set or sequence. Instead, they must be melded individually, as single-card melds. Single-card 10s or queens may then be played from them.
A player has gone out when they have melded all of the cards in their hand. On the turn that a player goes out, they may meld one pair (the only time this is a valid meld). A player may discard when going out, but they are not required to. If they do discard, they may choose to turn their discard face down.
The opponent then gets one further turn to try to go out as well. If the player went out with a face-down discard, the opponent must draw from the stock. They then meld as many cards as possible, with pairs being treated like two-card sets for the purposes of extensions. The opponent also has the opportunity to meld a pair, if this would result in them going out. After allowing a discard, any remaining cards the opponent is unable to meld are then added to the side of the player who went out, as single-card melds.
Each player then scores the value of all of the cards on their side of the play area. Face cards and 10s score five points, and all other cards score one point. Marriages count double (i.e. they score 20 points each, rather than 5 for the king and 5 for the queen).
Whichever player has the highest score at the end of four hands wins the game.
Yukon is a solitaire game much like Klondike, the familiar solitaire game found pre-installed on computers everywhere. However, rather than having a stock to draw cards from, in Yukon, the tableau is much bigger. Because of this, a stack of cards may not entirely be in sequence, but a player can still move cards around, with a bunch of unrelated cards along for the ride!
Yukon is much easier to win than Klondike, though not so easy as to remove the challenge from the game. Because of this, skillful play will help you out much more in Yukon than it will in Klondike.
Object of Yukon
Yukon is a solitaire game that requires one 52-card deck of playing cards. To make sure you’re always playing with a deck of cards in tip-top shape, always use a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.
The first part of the Yukon layout is the same as dealing a Klondike layout. Shuffle and deal seven cards in a horizontal row. The first card is dealt face up, with the other six cards face down. Then, starting at the second column, deal another, overlapping row of six cards. Again, the first card will be face up, and the other five face down. Repeat until you place a face-up card on the seventh column. Then, take the remaining 24 cards and deal them face up across the second through seventh columns. (Refer to the diagram for an example layout.) This layout constitutes the tableau.
As in most solitaire games, the majority of the game play in Yukon involves moving cards around the tableau. Any face-up card may be moved onto a face-up card of the opposite color that is one rank above it and has no other cards on it already. Cards rank in their usual order, with aces low. For example, the 7♥ could be moved onto either the 8♣ or the 8♠. Any cards that are already atop the card being moved also move, being kept on top of it in the same order. In the example diagram, the 10♣ can be moved onto the J♦, even though there are other cards on top of the 10. These cards also move onto the J♦, remaining in the same order.
When a face-down card is uncovered, it is flipped face up. Empty spaces in the tableau may form as cards are moved; these spaces can be filled only by kings (with other cards potentially moving along with the king, as per usual).
As aces are uncovered, they may be moved to one of the four foundation piles at the upper-right of the layout. After an ace has been moved to the foundations, other cards of the same suit can then be placed on top of it, in ascending rank order. That is, when the A♠ is moved to form the spade foundation pile, then the 2♠ may be moved on top of it, then the 3♠, and so on up to the K♠. A card cannot be moved to the foundations if there are cards on top of it.
Game play continues until all 52 cards are moved to the foundations, which constitutes a win. If there are cards still in the tableau, but no valid moves remain, the game is a loss.