Jack Change It

Jack Change ItJack Change It is a shedding-type game for two to six players. Its simplicity makes it a popular game for children. Like the commercial game Uno, Jack Change It takes the basic gameplay mechanic of Crazy Eights and extends it by adding special abilities to the other cards in the game.

Object of Jack Change It

The object of Jack Change It is to be the first player to run out of cards.

Setup

Jack Change It uses a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. You want the best for your game, so you want to use a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.

Shuffle and deal seven cards to each player. Place the deck stub in the center of the table, forming the stock, and turn its top card face-up next to the stock. This card, the upcard, is the first card of the discard pile.

Game play

Play begins with the player to the dealer’s left. They may play a card from their hand to the discard pile so long as it matches the upcard in either suit or sequence. After they do so, play passes to the next player to the left, who must then match the new upcard. If a player has no legal plays, they draw one card from the deck and the turn passes to the left.

Additionally, several cards are classified as trick cards, which have a special effect on game play. A player may not play a trick card as their final card of the hand; if a trick card is the only card remaining in a player’s hand, they must draw. The trick cards are:

  • 2s: When a 2 is played, the next player must draw two cards from the stock. However, if they possess a 2 themselves, they may play it instead, and the next player after them must draw four cards (two for each 2 played), and so on until someone is unable to avoid drawing cards.
  • 8s: When an 8 is played, the next player’s turn is skipped.
  • Jacks: When a jack is played, the player calls “Jack change it to…” and names one of the other three suits. The next player must play a card of that suit, as if the upcard was a card of that suit.
  • Queens: Queens are only considered trick cards in games of three or more players. A queen reverses the order of game play, so that if play is proceeding to the left, it proceeds to the right after the queen is played, and vice versa.
  • A♥: When the A♥ is played, the next player must draw five cards from the stock. The A♥ may be played in combination with a 2 (the only time two cards may be played at once) to cause the player to draw seven cards. The A♥ may be blocked by playing the 5♥; in this case, no cards are drawn.

Should the stock be depleted, set the current upcard aside, shuffle the rest of the discard pile and turn it face-down to form the new stock.

Game play continues until one player has discarded all of their cards. That player is the winner.

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Trex (a.k.a. Trix)

Trex, also known as Trix, is a game for four players which is popular in the Middle East. Unusually, Trex has five different sets of game rules that could be in force for any given hand, so it could be considered to really be five games in one.

Object of Trex

The object of Trex is to accurately judge your hand to select the most favorable set of rules to play it under (when able), thereby scoring the most points.

Setup

Trex uses the standard 52-card deck. Naturally, we recommend Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, but I guess if you wanted to play with something else, you could…we’d be so disappointed, though….

You also need something to keep score with. Pencil and paper is the traditional route, but if you’re more comfortable using a chalkboard, a dry erase board, an abacus, or your phone, we’re pretty flexible around here.

Shuffle and deal thirteen cards to each player. The player who is dealt the 7♥ exposes it, and is said to own the kingdom for the first five hands.

Game rules

Upon receiving their hand, the player who owns the kingdom selects any of the five games listed below for the hand about to commence. Once this is done, the hand is played out and scored. The next hand is then dealt by the player who owns the kingdom, and they select any of the four games that weren’t already chosen. This continues until the player has played all five games, and then the kingdom passes to the player to their right, who also deals all five games in whatever order they see fit, and so on until all four players have owned the kingdom, meaning twenty hands have been dealt.

All of the games except Trex follow a trick-taking format. The dealer leads to the first trick; thereafter, each trick is led by the winner of the previous one, with play proceeding to the left. Players must follow suit if able; otherwise, they may play any card. The winner of each trick is the player who plays the highest card of the suit led. Won tricks are not taken into the hand, but placed in a discard pile in front of the player, with any cards affecting the score extracted and placed face-up to allow players to keep track of what cards have been taken by whom (except in Eltoosh).

Diamonds

Each diamond captured by the player scores +10 points.

Eltoosh

Each trick won by the player scores –15 points. Tricks are kept in a face-down discard pile, with each trick laid at a right angle to the previous, allowing for easy counting at the end of the hand.

Girls

Each queen captured by the player scores –25 points. A player holding a queen may elect to double it by exposing it before the first trick is played. In so doing, the penalty for capturing this particular queen is increased to –50 points, and the holder of the queen scores +25 points. If the player holding the doubled queen is the one that captures it, they score –50 and the player that led the trick scores +25 points.

King of Hearts

The K♥ scores –75 points when captured by a player. Hearts may not be led to a trick unless the player has no other option.

The player holding the K♥ may double it, as in Girls, by exposing it prior to the first trick. The penalty for capturing the K♥ is increased to –150, and the holder of the king scores +75. If the player captures their own king, they score –150 and the player that led the trick scores +75.

Trex

Trex is, unlike the other four contracts, a Stops game, closely resembling Fan Tan. Upon receiving their hands, any player holding all four 2s, or three 2s and a 3 of the fourth suit, may expose these cards, and the hand is abandoned. The player who owns the kingdom is not necessarily required to choose Trex as the game on the redealt hand, so long as other options remain available.

The dealer plays first, with play continuing to the left. If a player is unable to legally play a card, they simply pass, but if they are able to make at least one play, they are compelled to do so. Play starts with the jacks; they are placed in the center of the table in a vertical row. Further cards may be played to these jacks, so long as they are the same suit and one rank higher or one rank lower than any cards previously played to them. In this manner, each jack is built up to the ace (which is high) and down to the two.

The first player to run out of cards scores +200 points. Play continues until the entire tableau is assembled, with scores of +150 for second place, +100 for third, and +50 for last.

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Fan Tan

A row of stop signsFan Tan, also known as Parliament, is a member of the Stops family of card games. Like its cousins Newmarket and Crazy Eights, the game is characterized by play continuing until a necessary card is unavailable, thus stopping play. In fact, this mechanic is so well-associated with Fan Tan that another alternate name for it is simply Stops. Fan Tan is best for three to eight players.

Object of Fan Tan

The object of Fan Tan is to end play with the most chips. Players win chips by being the first to run out of cards.

Setup

Fan Tan requires the use of a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. As is customary, we remind you that we recommend Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.

Fan Tan accounts for scoring with some form of counters, such as poker chips. If you like, each chip can represent some amount of money, in which case players are given chips equal to the value of their buy-in. Otherwise, give each player an equal amount of chips.

Shuffle and deal the cards out as evenly as they will go, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. All players ante one chip to the pot to begin play. Any players that happen to have received fewer cards than others due to the deck dividing unevenly between the number of players in the game ante an additional chip to make up for the advantage.

Game play

Play begins with the player to the left of the dealer. Initially, the only card that may be played is a 7; if the player to the dealer’s left cannot play a 7, they add one chip to the pot and play continues to the left. Once a 7 has been played, it is placed in the center of the table, and the 6 and 8 of the same suit may be played by subsequent players, with the 8 being placed to the left of the 7 and the 6 to its right. Plays continue in sequence, with descending cards being placed in a stack on top of the 6 and ascending cards played on top of the 8. As the 7s of the other suits are played, they form new rows underneath the first 7, with the 6s and 8s being placed alongside them, forming a three-by-four grid in the center of the table.

Note that play is compulsory—any player that can play a card cannot elect to simply pass. If a player is found to have been able to play but passed instead, they pay an additional three chips to the pot; if they held a 7 at the time, they pay five chips each to the players holding the 6 and 8 of that suit. However, if a player has multiple options on a turn, they of course are not penalized for selecting one option over another (even if this means that a 7 goes unplayed for awhile).

Game play continues until one player runs out of cards. Each other player counts the number of cards remaining in their hand and pays one chip per card to the pot. The pot is then collected by the player who ran out of cards.

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Crazy Eights

Crazy Eights is a simple game of the Stops family, where play is periodically stopped by the unavailability of a card needed to continue play. Many players who have not played Crazy Eights will find it familiar if they have played Uno, a similar game marketed by Mattel that makes use of a custom deck.

Object of Crazy Eights

The object of Crazy Eights is to get rid of all your cards by matching them to the top card of the discard pile by either suit or rank.

Setup

Crazy Eights requires the use of a standard 52-card deck. Optionally, jokers may be included. A single deck can support up to five players; more can play if a second deck is shuffled in. Crazy Eights probably isn’t the sort of game that you’ll play if you’re trying to impress your guests, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break out your set of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. I mean, you have them for a reason, right?

Shuffle and deal eight cards to each player. Place the remainder of the deck in the middle of the table, forming the stock. Turn one card from the stock face up; this card, the upcard, is the top card of the discard pile.

Game play

The player to the left of the dealer goes first. They must play a card to the discard pile matching the upcard in either suit or rank. For example, if the upcard is the 5♠, they must play any other 5 or any other spade. When they have played a card, play passes to the next player to the left.

8s serve as wild cards. An 8 may be played at any time, and the player who plays it names any one of the four suits, with the next player required to play a card of that suit, or switch suits with another 8. Jokers, if used, also serve as a wild card, but do not grant the player the option to select a suit—the next player may play any card they wish.

If a player is unable or unwilling to play a card, they draw from the stock until they are able to play. If the stock is depleted, the upcard is set aside and the discard pile shuffled to form a new stock.

The first player to run out of cards wins.

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Newmarket (a.k.a. Michigan)

Newmarket (also known as Michigan, Boodle, or Stops) is a game for three to eight players. It is a member of the Stops family of card games, so called because play is periodically stopped by the unavailability of a card needed to continue play. Newmarket is similar to Tripoley, a modified and expanded version of the game that is available for sale in retail stores.

Object of Newmarket

The object of Newmarket is to obtain the most chips over the course of the game.

Setup

Newmarket requires a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. Individuals found using cards other than Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards should be regarded as highly suspect and should be avoided.

The game also requires the use of 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.

Additionally, a betting layout needs to be set up to allow chips to be placed on special pay or boodle cards. The pay cards are the A♥, K♣, Q♦, and J♠. The traditional way of setting up a layout is to grab these cards from a spare deck. (If you have a two-deck set of Denexa Playing Cards, you can simply use the cards from the other deck.) If you want to get more creative, you can create a layout with labeled betting circles on a piece of posterboard or felt. You can also use something like disposable plastic bowls, or the indentations in a cupcake tin. The exact form of the layout isn’t important, as long it clearly establishes which card each pile of chips belongs to.

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 extra hand dealt is called the widow. Place the widow face down in the middle of the table. Each player antes a predetermined amount to each of the pay cards on the betting layout.

Game play

The widow and the auction

The dealer inspects their dealt hand and determines whether they would prefer to keep it or to exchange it with the extra hand. The dealer may not view the spare hand before making a decision. If the dealer decides to exchange hands, they make the swap. The dealer’s former hand takes no further part in game play.

If the dealer opts to keep their hand as dealt, this decision is declared, and becomes irrevocable. The dealer then auctions the extra hand off to the highest bidder. The starting bid equal to the lowest-value chip in play. If, during the course of the bidding, two players make the same bid and it cannot be determined who spoke first, the first player going clockwise from the dealer is considered to have made the bid.

Upon conclusion of the bidding, the winner pays the dealer the agreed-upon amount, and swaps hands. If nobody makes an opening bid on the extra hand, nobody receives the hand, and it remains unexposed.

Play of the hand

The player to the left of the dealer goes first, and plays the lowest card they hold of any suit they choose (aces are high). The player holding the next-higher card of that suit then plays it, irrespective of where they sit. This continues until no further progress can be made in that suit. This happens one of two ways: either because the ace of that suit has been played, or because the next card that would be played is in the widow. In either case, the player who played last plays the lowest card they hold of a suit of the opposite color.

If, at any time, a player plays one of the pay cards, they are entitled to collect the corresponding pot of chips from the betting layout. After the first hand, the pots may not be equal due to uncollected chips remaining in them at the end of the hand. If a player fails to collect a pot they are entitled to, they forfeit it.

Game play continues until a player runs out of cards, thus winning the hand. All players pay one chip to the winner for each card remaining in their hand. Some pots may remain unclaimed, due to the card associated with them not being played during the course of the hand. This happens because the card either ended up in the dead hand, or because play simply never allowed for the pay card to be played. These uncollected pots remain for the next hand, and all players ante again to each of the four pots. The deal passes to the left, and the next hand is dealt.

Keep playing until a predefined time or a set number of hands. The player with the most chips at the end of the game is the winner.

See also

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