Original Card Games by David Parlett



In which a bit of foresight would have helped

Players 2   Cards 52   Type Tricks and melds
"Hindsight" has long been on my list of titles waiting for a game to fit them, and this one seems as good as any. Of course, almost any card game is one of hindsight, in that you can always look back at the result and see how much better you might have done if only you'd had the foresight.
Cards and deal
From a 52-card pack ranking AKQJ1098765432 in each suit deal four hands of 13 cards face down, two to each player. You each pick up one of your hands at random to use as your playing hand. The other you leave face down as a stock of cards to draw from.
To win tricks with your playing hand, and to convert your stock into a spread of 13 cards containing melds (card combinations) scoring as high as possible. The melds are: 1 per card in its longest suit, plus 1 per card in its longest sequence (regardless of suit), plus 2 for a pair, 3 for a triplet (three of the same rank) and 8 for four of a kind. Also: to announce in advance which of your two scores - tricks or melds - will count double. Obviously, you will wish to double whichever of the two you think will score higher.
Drawing fresh cards
You each discard from your playing hand any number of cards up to 11, draw the same number of replacements from the top of your stock, and add them to your hand. Your discards will form the basis of your spread of melds. You then discard another number from your hand to your spread and replace them with the same number from the top of your stock. In both cases you must draw at least one card, and on the second draw you must leave at least one for your third draw. On your third draw you may discard as many or as few as you like, and if you don't exhaust the stock you add any cards it contains face down to your spread of melds, sight unseen.
Before play, you announce whether you intend to double your score for tricks or for melds. To avoid influencing each other's decision this is not announced verbally. Instead, take one card from your playing hand and place it face down on the table, then turn it face up when both are ready. Indicate a doubling of your trick score by facing a black card, or of your spread by facing a red one.
Non-dealer leads to the first trick and the winner of each trick leads to the next. You must follow suit if you can but may otherwise play any card. You can only beat the card led by playing a higher one of the same suit, or, if unable to follow suit, by playing another card of the same rank (saying "Snap!" as you do so, otherwise it doesn't win).
  • If you win a trick containing two cards of the same suit you store it face down.
  • If you win a trick where your opponent failed to follow suit or snap, you store it with one of its cards face up.
  • If you win a trick by snapping, you store it with both of its cards face up.
First, you count 5 points for each card won face up in your tricks, and 1 point for each card face down.
Next, you turn your spread face up and score for the melds it contains - 1 per card in its longest suit, plus 1 per card in its longest sequence (regardless of suit), plus 2 for each pair of cards of the same rank, 3 for three of the same, and 8 for four of the same.
Finally, you double whichever of the two scores you announced in advance, and total your two scores. If you scored the same for each, such as 20 for tricks and 20 for melds, you double either of them, scoring 60. Or (optional rule if previously agreed) you double both of them, in which case 20 and 20 would score 80.
Play up to any agreed target, such as 250 points, or for any agreed even number of deals. You each deal in turn and must shuffle the cards thoroughly before doing so.
Sample hands
The top row shows Annie's and Benny's hands as originally dealt, the second shows their playing hands after three draws, and the third their meld spreads:


In play, Annie won eight tricks for 32 points and Benny five tricks for 26. Both scores included five 5-point cards, both players having "snapped" with Jacks and won two other tricks by failure to follow suit. For melds, Annie scores 6+6+3+2+2+2 = 21, and Benny 5+4+8+3+2+2 = 24. Annie correctly doubled for tricks, bringing her final score to 32+32+21 = 85; Benny wrongly doubled for melds and scored 26+24+24 = 74. Had he correctly doubled for tricks he would have finished with 76, and had Annie wrongly doubled for melds she would have finished with 74.
Copyright © renewed 2017 by David Parlett