Original Card Games by David Parlett
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Players 2-5 (4 best)   Cards 52   Type Tricks
Suitably is for four players, playing either solo or in two partners of two each sitting crosswise from each other. For 5, 3 or 2 players please see below.
Cards and deal
Deal 13 cards each from a 52-card pack ranking AKQJT98765432 in each suit.
To win as many tricks as possible but as few penalty cards as possible.
Suit abilities
The four suits have different properties as determined by the players beforehand. They are:
  • Trump suit - Beats all cards of other suits
  • Penalty suit - Reduces your score for tricks
  • Reverse suit - Cards in this suit rank upside down, from Two (high) to Ace (low)
  • Plain suit - No special properties
After examining their hands, but before the first trick is led, players allocate roles to the four suits as follows. Starting with dealer's left-hand neighbour, each player in turn nominates a suit to be the trump, penalty or reverse suit. The three nominated suits and roles must all be different.
Fourth player's privilege
The fourth player has no choice of suits so must declare the unallocated suit as 'plain'. To compensate for this, you may as fourth player claim one of the following three privileges to take effect at end of play:
  • Immunity - You will score a flat 5 points per trick, regardless of any penalty cards they contain
  • Warranty - You will score a flat 25 points regardless of how many tricks or penalty cards you win.
  • Poverty - Instead of scoring for the number of tricks you win, you will score for the number you win less than five - in other words, 1 trick counts as 4, 2 as 3, and so on
No other player may claim any of these privileges.
Follow normal rules of trick-play. (Dealer's left-hand neighbour leads to the first trick; you must follow suit if you can but may otherwise play any card; the trick is taken by the highest card of the suit led or by the highest trump if any are played.)
You each score 10 points per trick divided by the number of penalty cards you took, rounding down to the nearest whole number. If you took no penalty cards don't try dividing by zero but instead add a bonus of 10 points (unless you were the fourth player and claimed a privilege, in which case this 10-point bonus does not apply).
For taking no tricks you score a flat 25 points.
A game is four deals or 250 points, as agreed beforehand.

Suitability for five

Add three Jokers to a 52-card pack and deal 11 cards each. The first three players allocate suits in the usual way, and the fourth may claim one of the privileges described above. The fifth player has no such benefit, unless the fourth player passes up this option. A Joker if led will win the trick and the followers may freely play any card they wish. If played to the lead of any suit it counts as the worst card of that suit and can never take it.

Suitability for three

Reduce the pack to 40 cards by stripping out numerals 7, 8, 9. Deal 13 cards each and turn the 40th card face up. Allocate roles to three suits as in the four-player game. Before play, whoever holds the card of the unallocated or 'plain' suit equivalent to that of the turn-up exchanges it for the turn-up (unless the turn-up itself belongs to the plain suit). Example: if the plain suit is hearts and the turn-up is (club)9 then whoever holds (heart) exchanges it for the (club)9. Thus the plain suit will always contain only 12 cards. There being no fourth player, no one may claim any of the 'privileges'.

Suitability for two

Reduce the pack to 28 cards by stripping out numerals 2 to 8 and deal 14 each. Allocate suits in the usual way, with non-dealer allocating the first and third and dealer the second and fourth. Dealer may claim one of the fourth-player privileges as described above.