Original Card Games by David Parlett
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You can teach an old dog new tricks
"Parlett's creativity is as ordered and precise as a Swiss watch. His games mesh so well with the structure of playing-cards as to give the impression that the pack was created specifically for his inventions." (See Testimonials. For more, see also Boardgamegeek
Inventing card games is one of my favourite recreations. It's a relaxing hobby: it means I can think up the basic ideas without having to get out of bed - or even, if I'm very lucky, without having to wake up - which is more than you can say for actually playing cards. My idea of a good game is one that uses an ordinary 52-card pack and has very simple rules, but gives you plenty to think about. If you like that idea have a look through the following. Against each entry is a note of how many it can be played by (red means it's ideal for that number and P = four players in fixed partnerships), followed by the type of game it is and a note of what it's all about. For type of game, I use these terms:
Abstrac 2 nim game Pick up cards to make combinations (perfect information)
Addenda 2 P point tricks Aim to win tricks counting 17 points each
Agony Aunt 4trick-avoid Avoid taking penalty cards (needs counters and a board
Anarchy 3 4 5wild tricks Play as you please and score how you like
Arm's Length 4Pplain tricks You take the high road and I'll take the low road
Bouncers 3trick-avoid A sort of cross between Gops and Hearts
Brain Drain 2 3 4 5 arithmetical An equations-making game
Bravado 2 3 4 5 6shedding A fast fun game, published as Chicken Out!
Brummy 2 3 4 5rummy Two-dimensional Rummy
Bugami 3 4 P 5trick-avoid Choose which suit not to win cards of in tricks (& see Trigami)
Caterpillar 2arithmetical A fairly simple adding-up game
Cato 2point tricks A card-point adaptation of Ecarté
Centurion 2 arithmetical Adding-up game for a couple of centenarians
Chwech 4 5 6 plain tricks You needn't play to a trick if you don't want to (designed for six)
Cloud Nine 3 4 5 tricks & melds Build your own nine-card meld while hindering those of others
Collusion 4plain tricks Hilarious game of (mis)alliances and double-crossings
Colour-blind 2 3plain tricks Choose whether to win red cards or black
Concerto Ppoker hands Coöperatively construct poker hands
Copyright 3plain tricks Aka Favouritism: win tricks so as to favour your right-hand neighbour
Counterbluff 2 bluffing Bluff with constantly-evolving Poker hands
Counterpique 2 tricks & melds Contract Piquet - a classic game updated
Counterpoint 2 3 point tricks Predict how many card-points you'll win in tricks
Cowpoke 2 3 4 5 collecting A pokery sort of game with quasi-tricks
Crescendo 2 3 4 5 plain tricks Trick values go up, then down, then up again...
Cross Purposes 2 P plain tricks One party chooses a trump suit, the other a top rank
Crummy 3 4 5 6 rummy Rummy with a trick-type method of play
Dilemma 2 quasi-tricks Should you play second or fourth to a four-card trick?
Dividend 4 P plain tricks In which you divvy up the cards you win in tricks
Doubleduck P plain tricks Partnership version of Duck Soup
Dracula 2 3 P arithmetical An arithmetical game with a bloodthirsty count
Duck Soup 2 plain tricks Game for a couple of quacks (& see Doubleduck, Trebleduck)
Dumbo 3 plain tricks Three-player version of Collusion
Dupe 2 wild tricks & melds A game to test your memory. No trick-playing skill required!
Equator 2 3 4 arithmetical For contortionists in mental arithmetic!
Farrago 3 4 5 plain tricks There's a different trumping rule at every deal
Flashpoint P trick-rummy Play tricks to win card combinations
Flunk 3 plain tricks Any relation to three-handed Bridge is purely fortuitous
Fosco 2 P arithmetical A game of perfect information with another villainous count
Galapagos 2 hybrid 3 games in 1: win tricks, make melds, get rid of your cards
Ganderpoke 2 3 4 layout A five-by-five square game with Poker hands
Garbo 2 layout A 4x4 square game where each card "vants to be alone"
Get Stuck 2 P layout A quasi board game on a grid of seven by seven cards
Give or Take 2 arithmetical aka More or Less - another way of playing with numbers
Go for it! 2 3 4 5 6 shedding aka Angst - dare you play your next card?
Good Cop, Bad Cop 4 plain tricks Two Jokers, a trump suit, a penalty suit, and who's your partner?
Gooseberry Fool 3 plain tricks Divide and rule by winning the middling number of tricks
Hamlet 3 plain tricks With supporting roles for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Hindsight 2 tricks+melds In which you might have done better with a bit of foresight
Hoodwink 3 plain tricks With at least two ways of hoodwinking your opponents
Key of the door 2 3 4 P 5 arithmetical In which you construct "keys" counting exactly 21
King Priam 2 - 5 arithmetical Win face cards by making prime numbers from numeral cards
Limbo 2 arithmetical Get lowest under the bar by deducting and dividing
Memoranda 4 5 6memory Can you remember which cards were you originally dealt?
Minimisère 3 4 5 trick-avoid If you can't lose every trick, win as many as possible
Mismatch 2 4 trick-avoid The antidote to Rummy: avoid winning card-combinations
Naughty Nun 3 plain tricks Like Ninety-Nine, but with silly additions and variations
Nimbly 3 4 5layout Pick up nine cards that make scoring combinations
Ninety-Nine 2 3 4 P 5 plain tricks Bid to win an exact number of tricks
One Up 2 3 4 5 arithmetical Game for a number of totalitarians
Packnstack 2 patience A patience-like card/board game for two players
Parity 2 plain tricks Odd or even? A skilled game of perfect information
Paved with Gold 2-3 memory An elaborate form of Pelmanism/Concentration
Plonk P point tricks Win tricks containing cards of different suits. Not so easy...
Prime Time 2 3 arithmetical Make primes from three-card combinations
Romeo & Juliet 2 layout A romantic card-board game on a grid of 7x7 cards
Rummage 3 4 5 6 trick-rummy Rummy with a trick-type method of play (designed for 5)
Same Difference 2 plain tricks Win tricks by playing two cards as far apart as possible
Seconds 4 plain tricks In which only the second-best card wins the trick
Secret Agent 4 plain tricks In which you also score for tricks won by your secret agent
Slapstick 2 3 4 5 6 shedding Like Bravado but without all that adding up
Snail Space 2 layout Spiral Cribbage, or Cribbage for Snails
Snark 3 4 5 wild tricks A wilder version of Anarchy (designed for 5 Boojums)
Sneak 2 3 4 5 bluffing If you've got it, flaunt it; if not, bluff it
Sockjaw 2 3 winning matched pairs Also known as Sock Drawer
Spec 2 3 4 layout A silly guessing game - or is it?
Squint 5 plain tricks Twist a card to find your partner (& see Twyst for four)
Stucco 2 matching A match-and-go-out game of perfect information
Suitability 2 3 4 5 tricks In which each suit is allocated a specific role to play
Swap Three 4 rummy In which you gift cards to one another
Tantony 3 4 P point tricks Win tricks, then give them away!
Throps 3 wild tricks A three-player variant of Gops ("Game Of Perfect Strategy")
Tracktrick 3 P plain tricks A quasi-board game requiring accurate trick-play
Trebleduck 3 plain tricks Three-player version of Duck Soup
Triathlon 3 plain tricks In which you aim to perform three trick-taking feats
Trigami 3 trick-avoid Choose which suit not to win cards of in tricks (& see Bugami)
Twyst 4 plain tricks Twist a card to find your partner (& see Squint for five)
Umbridge 2 plain tricks A perversion of Bridge for two
Welsh Whist 3 4 5 point tricks A fun game with Jokers and bluffing. No cheating allowed!
Who's Who 3 plain tricks Which of the other two players is your secret partner?
Yoyo 2, 3 patience A competitive patience game based on Black Hole