Original Card Games by David Parlett



A game of perfect information

Players 2 (adaptable for 3)   Cards 30   Type Tricks
The novelty of this simple trick-taking game is that you each know exactly what cards the other holds. If played by two perfectly programmed computers (or Vulcans) it would be a game of chance, as both would play perfectly and the one with the better cards would win. But humans are not Vulcans, so the winner will be the one who plays with the more computer-like accuracy. This makes it (for humans, at least) a game of high skill. The version for three was added later, as an afterthought, but lacks the element of perfect information.
Thirty, consisting of A-K-Q-J-10-5-2 in each suit plus two Jokers, one of each colour. The Jokers are always the two highest trumps, that of the trump colour being highest, followed by that of the other colour, followed by the Ace etc. So, for example, if hearts are trump, the red Joker ranks highest, followed by the black Joker, followed by A-K-Q-J-10-5-2. (But see other options below.)
Whoever cuts the lower card deals first and the turn to deal alternates. Shuffle thoroughly between deals and deal 15 cards each in ones.
The players examine their hands and non-dealer nominates a trump suit.
Dealer then states the target parity - that is, whether the object is to win an odd or an even number of the 15 tricks to be played. (For this purpose zero is even.)
Non-dealer leads to the first trick. You must follow suit if you can, but may play any card if you can't. The trick is taken by the higher card of the suit led, or by the higher trump if any are played, and the winner of each trick leads to the next.
Only the player who wins the required parity of tricks (odd or even) scores. The score is 10 points for winning, plus 1 point for each trick won. Thus the lowest possible score is 10 (target even, win 0 tricks) and the highest 25 (target odd, win all 15 tricks).
Game is 100 points. The loser is lurched (skunked) for failing to reach 67 points, and double-lurched for failing to reach 50.
Optional no-trump call
Players may agree to play with a no-trump option. If so, non-dealer may specify play at no trump for a doubled bonus. If a Joker is led, it automatically wins the trick, and the follower may dump any card. If played second (only allowed when you can't follow suit), it automatically loses. The winner scores 1 per trick plus a bonus of 20.
Other options
You may prefer to use AKQJ1098 of each suit, especially if taking them from a 32-card pack. Furthermore, if the 32-card packs lacks Jokers, you can use a red and a black Seven to represent them. If your pack (whether of 32 or 52 cards) does not contain differentiated Jokers and you don't want to mark them, you can simply declare both of them top trumps, and if both fall to the same trick the first played beats the second.
uplink downlink PARITY FOR THREE
Somewhat less than perfect

Parity is easily adaptable for three players but, of course, in this case necessarily lacks the element of perfect information.

Deal 11 cards each from a 33-card pack consisting of a Joker plus AKQJ10987 in each suit.
Each in turn, starting with the player at dealer's left, makes an announcement. Whoever holds the Joker may only announce that fact. Of the other two players, the first announces a trump suit and the second announces whether the target parity is odd or even.
The player at dealer's left leads to the first trick. Whoever holds the Joker must play it to the first trick. If led, it wins the trick and the others may discard as they please. If not, it loses the trick, which is taken by the better of the other two cards. Otherwise, normal rules of trick-taking apply. (You must follow suit if you can, but may play any card if you can't. The trick is taken by the higher card of the suit led, or by the higher trump if any are played, and the winner of each trick leads to the next.)
Score 1 point per trick taken, or 10 for winning no trick at all. Add a bonus of 10 for winning a number of tricks that matches the target parity. (Zero counts as an even number for this purpose.)
Play up to 100 points, or for nine deals, or till the cows come home.
If the target parity is odd, either one or all three players will succeed; if even, either two or none will succeed.
Copyright © renewed 2017 by David Parlett