Original Card Games by David Parlett
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Players 3   Cards 52   Type Wild tricks
Gops, or Goofspiel, is a two-player game of complete equality (rather than perfect information), whose name happens to be a not entirely inappropriate acronym of "Game of Pure Strategy". It is easily adapted for three, the simplest method being that described on the Pagat website. On this page I offer, first, an elaboration of the basic three-player game, and, second, a more radical game based on the same idea called Throps.

uplink downlink JAZZED-UP GOPS
Basic version
53, including a Joker. Designate one suit (typically diamonds) as the prize suit, shuffle them together with the Joker, and stack all 14 face down in a squared-up pile. Each player then takes all 13 cards of one other suit
To win either the highest or lowest total face value of prize cards (diamonds). For this purpose Ace counts 1, numerals 2 to 10 face value, and Queen zero (because a Q looks like a zero). In addition:
  • Jack counts the same face value as the lowest diamond you win;
  • King counts the same face value as the highest diamond you win;
  • Joker counts the same face value as the card lying beneath it in the stack.
The method of play is by simultaneous tricks. At each trick the dealer turns face up the top value of the diamond stack. You then each choose a card from your hand, hold it face down on the table, and turn it face up when all are ready. Whoever plays the highest personal card wins the faced diamond and places it face up on the table before them. For this purpose Ace counts either high (above King) or low (below Two), and you must state which immediately upon turning it.
If two play cards of equal rank, the diamond is won by the third player. If all three tie, everyone must bid with a second card, and so on until the diamond is won, after which all the tied cards are taken back into hand. If this happens on the last diamond, nobody wins it.
When the Joker is turned, it is put to one side and the card beneath it turned as well. Whoever wins the trick wins both these cards, which must be kept together to ensure the Joker is ascribed the same value as the numeral. If the Joker is the last card of the stack, it counts zero.
Everybody totals the face value of the prize diamonds they have won. Whoever took the highest and the lowest values count their respective values forwards towards their game score, and the player in the middle scores zero for that round. However, if two player tie, whether for high or low, they score zero and the third player alone counts his or her total towards game. If all three tie, the player who took the Joker is the only one to score.
A game is three deals or 100 points, as agreed beforehand.
uplink downlink THROPS
An elaboration
Shuffle a 52-card pack and deal four hands of thirteen, one of them to a dummy. Square the dummy pile up into a stock and turn its top card.
To win from the stockpile more cards in one suit than in any other. Numerals Two to Ten count from 2 to 10 respectively, followed by Jack, Queen, King 10 each and Ace 11.
At each trick, everyone takes a bid card from their hand and exposes it when all are ready. Whoever plays the highest bid card wins the stock card and places it face up on the table before them. If there is a tie for highest, it is won by the bid card whose suit comes first in the following scale:
  1. same suit as the stock card,
  2. same colour as the stock card,
  3. same parity as the stock card - that is, either major (spades/hearts) or minor (clubs/diamonds).
The bid-cards are then thrown away and the next stock-card turned. This continues until all 13 have been won.
Each player scores as follows for the cards they won:
  • The face value of all cards of any one suit,
  • minus the total face values of all other cards,
  • plus 10 per void suit.
It follows that a player who wins no card at all scores 40.
Play up to 100 points, or any other agreed target.