Original Card Games by David Parlett
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Players 3-5 (4 best)   Cards 32 or 40+Joker   Type Tricks and melds
Crummy is another of my experiments in combining a trick-play mechanism with the Rummy-like object of collecting card combinations. It works pretty well except for a potential flaw, which I'll come to at the foot of the page.
Crummy works best with four, fairly well with three, and passably so with five players.
33 (or 41 if five play), consisting of AKQJ10987(65) in each suit, plus one Joker. The Joker serves only as an indicator and is not dealt.
Shuffle the cards thoroughly and deal eight each if four or five are playing. If three play, deal them out as far as they will go, so the first two players get 11 each and the dealer only 10.
By playing tricks to achieve two objectives:
  1. To collect quartets - that is, four cards of the same rank, such as Aces, Kings, etc - and discard them from play; and
  2. To play out all your cards as soon as possible.
There is a bonus for making the first quartet, and an alternative score for not making any at all.
The player at Dealer's left leads to the first trick, and the winner of each trick leads to the next. A trick consists of exactly one card of each suit. Each subsequent player must therefore, if possible, play a card of a different suit from any already played to the trick. Anyone unable to do so must pass, and the turn continues to the left until someone can play a card of a different suit. The trick is complete when it contains four cards exactly. It is therefore possible for one or more players to contribute more than once to the same trick.
If all four cards are of different ranks, the trick is taken by the highest card played. If two or more match rank, it is taken by the last played duplicate. For example, 8-J-8-Q is taken by the second Eight, 8-J-8-J by the second Jack, J-8-J-J by the third and so on.
When you win a trick you add the four cards so played to your hand. You may then, if able and willing, lay aside one or more quartets of four. Each quartet must be stacked face down in front of you so that no one else can be certain which ranks have gone out of play. The very first quartet so made is marked by adding the Joker to it.
You then lead to the next trick, unless you have run out of cards, in which case the lead passes to the next player on your left who has any card to lead. Play ceases when only one player has any cards left. These will consist of one or more quartets, which are added to that player's previous melds.
A trick is never complete until it contains exactly four cards, one of each suit, even when only three or two players remain. You do not go out merely by playing the last card from your hand, as you may yet win the trick and so remain in play.
Your score for the deal consists of two components multiplied together.
The first component is 5 for the first player to go out if five are playing, or 4 if four play, or 3 if three play. This component reduces by one for each player to go out, so that the last out counts only 1.
The second component is the total face value of all your completed quartets. A quartet of Aces scores 13, of Kings, Queens or Jacks 11, of lower ranks their face value (10, 9, 8, etc). The first quartet, however, as indicated by the Joker, counts double. Thus a quartet of Aces made first scores 26, and so on. If you go out without making any quartets, this component counts 20 if five play, 25 if four play, or 30 if three play.
Example (four-player game):
  1. First out collected Jacks and Eights, scores 4 x (11+8) = 76
  2. Second made no quartets, scores 3 x 25 = 75
  3. Third out made Sevens and Aces, scores 2 x (7+13) = 40
  4. Last out made 9s, 10s, Queens, Kings + Joker, scores 1 x (9+10+11+22) = 52
Play up to 150 points, or any other agreed target.
The flaw
There is a flaw in this game! It sometimes happens that the last two players are left with two ranks between them that they can't get out because they keep repeating the same position. Unless you have any better ideas, I suggest that whichever of them first calls a halt to the play should take and meld the lower-ranking quartet but be considered to have run out of cards before the other, thus multiplying by 2 instead of 1.