Original Card Games by David Parlett
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Players 2-4   Cards 52+3 jokers   Type Card prediction
This light-hearted game can be played by calculation, guesswork, extra-sensory perception (ESP), or any combination of the three. It first appeared in its simplest form in my book Original Card Games (1977), but here I've introduced a scoring system made more interesting by putting the unplayed portion of the pack to practical use.
Take a 55-card pack containing three Jokers and split them into two separate packs of 25 and 30 cards.
The 25, called showcards, consist of one Joker and all the Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, Tens and Deuces. Deuces count as jokers, but still belong to the suits marked on them. Thoroughly shuffle these 25 and deal them face down in five rows of five.
The other 30 are scorecards. They consist of two jokers plus all the numerals from Three to Nine inclusive. Stack these face down to one side in the following order: all the Threes at the bottom, followed by the Fours, Fives, Sixes, and so on up to the Nines. These in turn are followed by the other two Jokers, which will be at the top of the face-down stack.
To win scorecards for correctly predicting (or guessing) what each showcard will be just before you turn it up.
Before play begins, you each announce which of the 25 showcards you predict (or guess) will be the last one turned up, and these predictions (or guesses) are noted down. You make your prediction by each in turn nominating the Ace, King, Queen, Jack or Ten of a specific suit, or by announcing "Joker" without mentioning a suit. No two players may predict the same suit or the same rank or a joker. For example, if four play, and the first three predict, respectively, spadeA, heartK, Joker, then the fourth player can only call the Queen, Jack or Ten of clubs or diamonds.
The turn to play passes to the left and the shortest player goes first - or, if equally short, the one with least hair. At each turn, you point to a face-down card and announce what you think it will be, by either naming a specific rank and suit (such as "Queen of hearts"), or calling "Joker". (You cannot call the deuce of a suit, as deuces count as Jokers.) You then turn that card face up and may win scorecards according to how right you were, as follows.
  • If the card you turn is of the suit you called (but of a different rank), you win 1 scorecard. (This also applies if you turn a deuce of the suit called.)
  • If it is of the rank you called (but of a different suit), you win 2 scorecards.
  • If it is exactly the card you called, by rank and suit, you win 4 scorecards.
  • If you correctly called a joker, you win 2 scorecards, or 4 if it is the real Joker (as opposed to a deuce). If not, score nothing.
The scorecards that you win must be taken in order from the top of the stack, so the two score-jokers go first, then the Nines, then the Eights, and so on. Place the score-cards you win face down before you on the table before you, or hold them in hand if you prefer.
Special rules
You may not call - Diagram
Half way through this round of play the best call
is obviously "Jack of spades". It's a matter of
simple calculation. But which card to turn up?
That's where your powers of ESP come in!
  • exactly the same card as the previous player, or
  • a card that has already been turned, or
  • joker if all five of them have been faced.
If you do, the first opponent to point this out wins the highest-valued scorecard in your possession - or, if you have none yet, the top one of the scorecard pile. No such claim may be made once the next player has called.
End of round
Keep going till only one card is left face down. This is revealed, and whoever correctly predicted it wins all the remaining scorecards (if any). If no one predicted it, this bonus goes to the player who predicted the correct rank; or, if no one did, the correct suit; or, if no one did, to whoever won the last scorecard. Each player's score for the round is found by totalling the face values of all the scorecards they have won, counting the two Jokers as 10 each. If all the scorecards get taken before the last showcard has been turned, play continues with no further scores being made until the last card is turned, when the player who most nearly predicted it adds a bonus of 10.
A complete game consists of as many deals as there are players. Each player takes it in turn to make the first call and turn. Scores are carried forward and the overall winner is the first player to reach a target score of 173 points.
"Why 173?"
"Why not?"