Original Card Games by David Parlett
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Players 3   Cards 52   Type Plain tricks
Dumbo is a three-player adaptation of my four-player game Collusion. Essentially, it's Collusion with a dummy hand.
Fifty-two, ranking AKQJ1098765432 in each suit.
The turn to deal and play rotates to the left. Deal four hands of 13 cards each, one card at a time. The fourth hand goes opposite the dealer and is called Dumbo.
To win exactly the same number of tricks as Dumbo wins, and avoid winning the same number as your live opponent.
Dealer leads to the first trick and plays the third card of the trick from Dumbo. You must follow suit if you can, but may otherwise play any card. There is no trump suit, and the trick is therefore normally taken by the highest card of the suit led. However...
Snap trumps
If unable to follow suit (whether playing from your own hand or Dumbo’s), you can win the trick - whether you want to or not - by playing a card of the same rank as the one led and announcing "Snap!". This acts as a trump. If more than one follower snaps, the last snap wins the trick. (It's helpful to say "Snap!", but not mandatory. Failing to do so doesn't prevent the rank-matched card from trumping, unless nobody notices before the trick is won and turned down.)
Dumbo's won tricks must be kept separate from those of each other player, on Dumbo's own side of the table. The lead to each subsequent trick comes always from the hand that won the previous trick. If Dumbo wins a trick, its lead is made by the dealer. The rotation of play is exactly the same as if Dumbo were a fourth player.
Basically, you each score 1 point for each trick you won, plus 10 if you won the same number as Dumbo, but zero if you won the same number as either opponent. This can give rise to questionable situations, which are dealt with as follows:
Exceptional score
If you win all 13 tricks, you score 13 and the others score 0.
If Dumbo wins all 13, and you led to the last trick, you score 13. (Because you had no choice of play and therefore couldn’t avoid the outcome.)
If Dumbo wins 0 tricks, and you are the only opponent to win 0, you score 20 instead of 10; but if two of you win 0, then of course the other player will score 13.
If two players match Dumbo (i.e. the result is 4-4-4-1, 3-3-3-4, 2-2-2-7, or 1-1-1-10), the two matching opponents score only 1 per trick, forgoing the bonus of 10.
Play up to any agreed target (e.g. 31 or 51), or any agreed number of deals.
Table rotation
If playing at a round table, you can conveniently place yourselves in an equilaterally triangular arrangement of seats so that there is room for Dumbo’s hand to be placed opposite the dealer and between the other two seats. In this case the winner is the first to reach an agreed target or the highest-scoring player after a previously agreed number of deals.
If playing at a square table, at the end of each deal the previous and next dealers stay put, and the third player changes places with Dumbo.