Stop the Bus (Bastard)
Stop the Bus, also known as Bastard, is a simple English card game for two to six players. It is part of the Commerce family of games, where players gradually build up a good hand by exchanging cards from their hand with better ones. It plays somewhat similar to Knock Poker, but using Brag hands rather than poker hands.
Object of Stop the Bus
The object of Stop the Bus is to form the best three-card Brag hand.
Stop the Bus is played with a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. If you want to treat your players to the best game of Stop the Bus possible, make sure you play with a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. You’ll also need some sort of counter or token, such as poker chips.
Give each player an equal number of tokens (higher numbers of tokens will produce a longer game). Shuffle and deal three cards to each player. Then, deal three face-up cards to the center of the table. Set the remaining deck stub aside; it has no further part in game play.
The player to the dealer’s left goes first. They draw one card from the three face up on the table. They then choose one card to discard, face up, replacing the card they drew. The turn then passes to the next player.
Game play continues in this way, with players seeking to improve their hands through successive draws and discards. When a player is satisfied with their hand, they may call out “Stop the bus!” Each of their opponents then takes one more turn. When the turn reaches the player who called “Stop the bus”, the hand ends. All players then turn their hand face up and compare their hands. Whichever player has the worst Brag hand surrenders one token.
The cards are collected and the deal passes to the left. Another hand is played. Game play continues in this fashion, with players dropping out whenever they run out of tokens. The last player with at least one remaining token wins the game.
There is an interesting variation of this game known as 31 or Scat.
Instead of 3 cards in the middle, there is only one card face up. Players can also draw from the deck.
Instead of scoring based on the best brag hand, the goal is to score as close as possible to 31 with cards from the same suit. Aces are worth 11 points, Jack, Queen and King are worth 10 points, and the other cards are worth their face value. You can also score 30 with a 3 of a kind.
We’ve covered this game on our site under the name “Thirty-One”!