Original Card Games by David Parlett



A sort of Solo Whist for five

Players 5   Cards 52   Type Tricks
My original book of Original Card Games included a five-player game called Squint. Having lost one of my regular guinea-pigs I later adaped it for four under the title Twyst. Recently I decided to resuscitate Squint, but have made some substantial changes to the original by drawing on elements of Twyst. So, in a sense, this game is a variation on a variation on itself.
Deal 10 cards each, in ones, from a 52-card pack ranking AKQJ1098765432 in each suit. Deal the last two cards face down to the table. These two constitute the "squint". (Any resemblance to a "skat" is purely fortuitous.)
Examine your hand, decide on a bid, pick a card to represent it, and hold it face down on the table. The possible bids and the cards used to represent them are:
Win 6+ tricks at no trump (solo)Any Ace
Win 6+ tricks with trumps (solo)K, Q or J of your proposed trump
Misère: win 0 tricks at no trump (solo) Any Deuce
None of the above Any numeral from 3 to 10 of your preferred trump suit
When all are ready, twist the bid-cards face up. These determine the contract to be played and who is or are the contractor(s), if any, by the following means:

1. If anyone puts out an Ace, the contract is an Ace solo. There is no trump, and the Ace-bidder aims to win 6 or more tricks. If there are two Ace-bidders they both play as individuals. (But at least one of them will lose!)

2. If anyone puts out a Deuce they play a Misère. There is no trump and they aim to lose every trick. If there are both Ace and Deuce bidders, they all play their contracts simultaneously and as individuals.

3. If anyone puts out a court card, and there are no Aces or Deuces showing, the contract is a Grand Solo in the suit of the bid-card and the soloist aims to win 6 or more tricks. If two or more bid a court solo, the soloist is the one who bid with the highest-ranking court (K beats Q beats J). If still equal, it is the eldest hand (i.e. the bidder nearest the dealer's left).

4. If the bid-cards do not include any Ace, Deuce or court card, the contract depends on the combination of suits shown on the five bid-cards as follows:

com example game
2-2-1 spade spade heart heart club solo : Whoever called the odd suit (in this case club) plays solo with that suit as trump, and aims to win more tricks than any single opponent. It is therefore just possible to win with three tricks if the others divide 2-2-2-1.
2-1-1-1 spade spade heart club diamond duo : The two calling the same suit (in this case spade) make their joint suit trump and play as partners against the other three with the aim of winning at least six tricks.
3-2 spade spade heart heart heart duo : as above
3-1-1 spade spade spade heart club nemo : no partners, no trumps: everyone individually aims to avoid taking cards of the majority suit (here spade) in tricks.
4-1 spade spade spade spade heart nemo (as above) or solo (the odd-suit caller plays solo in heart)
Choice of game is made by the odd-suit caller
5 spade spade spade spade spade nemo : as above.
The squint
Before play begins it is possible for one or more players to make use of the squint. Who and how depend on the contract, as follows:

Solo The soloist may take the squint into hand and make any two discards in its place. Electing not to do so, and playing "from the hand" instead, doubles the score, whether won or lost.

[Recent revision.] There may be two soloists, or even more, it being theoretically possible for two to bid an Ace solo and two or three a Deuce solo. In this case each soloist in turn, starting with the first to the dealer's left and proceeding leftwards, takes the squint, then from his enlarged hand passes two cards face down to the next left soloist. This continues up to the last soloist, who concludes by making two discards face up (for information) in place of the squint. Any soloist may decline to take the two proffered cards by simply passing them on, thereby doubling his or her potential score.

Duo Each member of the partnership may take one card of the squint into hand and make one discard in its place. Electing to play "from the hand" instead doubles the score. However, they may only play from the hand if both agree to do so.

Nemo The player at dealer's left takes the squint into hand and passes two unwanted cards to his left-hand neighbour. That player, and each in turn thereafter, passes any two cards to the left until the dealer is reached, who concludes by making two discards face up (for information) in place of the squint.
The opening lead is now always made by the player at dealer's left [under revised rules dated 2010]. You must follow suit if you can, but may play any card if you can't. The trick is taken by the highest card of the suit led, or by the highest trump if any are played, and the winner of each trick leads to the next.
Scores are kept individually and cumulatively, and can fall below zero. Each soloist (in a solo) or partner (in a duo) or individual (in a nemo) scores as follows:

Contract Target Score if win Deduct if lose
Ace solo 6+ no trump 20 per trick taken over 5 20 per trick taken over 6
Deuce solo 0 no trump 25 25
Grand Solo 6+ in suit 15 per trick taken over 5 15 per trick taken over 6
Duo 6+ in suit 10 per trick taken over 5 10 per trick taken over 6
Solo most in suit 10 per trick taken over 2 5 per trick taken by
whichever opponent took most
Nemo clean tricks 10 per trick containing no card of the specified suit, or 20 per trick for taking none at all of that suit. There is no score for winning no trick. (You should have bid misère!)
Note : These scores are doubled in games played from the hand.
Play up to 150 points, or to any other agreed target score, or for a previously agreed number of deals. Or, to put it another way, keep playing till you're fed up with it.
Copyright © renewed 2017 by David Parlett