Original Card Games by David Parlett



A variety of Hearts for three

Players 3   Cards 52   Type Penalty-trick avoidance
Cards and deal
From a 52-card pack remove all 13 cards of one suit, which might as well be hearts as any other. Shuffle the hearts and stack them face down in a squared-up pile, then turn the top one face up. Deal the remaining 39 cards out in ones so that everyone receives thirteen. Cards rank AKQJ1098765432 in each suit.
Given that the winner of each trick captures the top card of the hearts pile, the aim is to avoid winning heart numerals, but not necessarily the Jack, Queen and King. These three are the bouncers, and may cancel out some of the numeral penalties.
The player at dealer's left leads to the first trick of 13 tricks. You may lead any card to a trick. When not leading, you must follow suit if you can but may play any card if you can't. The trick is taken by the highest card played, regardless of suit. Of equally high cards, the one played last counts highest.
Upon winning a trick, you throw it away, take the top card of the hearts pile and place it face up on the table in front of you. You then turn the top card of the hearts pile and lead to the next trick.
At the end of the deal you total the face value of all the numeral hearts you have won, counting Two = 2, Three = 3, and so on up to Ace = 11. However, each of the three Bouncers (Jack, Queen, King) entitles you to discount any one counter (numeral heart). (You will naturally choose the highest.) However again, if you take more Bouncers than counters, any Bouncer that you cannot use becomes a penalty in itself, and adds 25 points to your penalty score.
Example: Suppose you took the Five and Eight of hearts. With no Bouncers, your penalty is 13; with one Bouncer, it is 5 (discounting 8); with two Bouncers, it is zero; with all three Bouncers, it is 25.
Scores are kept cumulatively from deal to deal and the turn to deal passes to the left. Game is 100 points, and the winner is the person with the lowest score when at least one player reaches or exceeds that total.
Variant 1
Instead of starting with the hearts face down, lay them all face up in a spread so that you can see in what order they are going to come out. That'll give you more to think about!
Variant 2
Winning the King entitles you to deduct the value of the highest heart you took, the Jack only that of the lowest heart you took, and the Queen only that of the last heart you took before the Queen, if any. (If not, the Queen adds 25.)
Copyright © renewed 2017 by David Parlett