Original Card Games by David Parlett
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Players 3   Cards 54   Type Plain tricks
The three-player version of Duck Soup requires a page and title of its own, as it introduces complications due to the addition of two Ducks (Jokers).
Cards and deal
54 including two Ducks (Jokers), one black and one red. Cards rank in their normal order, except that Ace counts low in the first course (KQJ1098765432A) and high in the second (AKQJ1098765432). Deal nine cards in ones to each player. Stack the rest face down to form the duck-house.
To win tricks - especially tricks containing cards of different suits, which count double. The game is played in two courses. In the first course (Duck), you each replenish your hand by drawing from the duck-house before each new trick is started. In the second course (Soup), which begins when the duck-house empties, you play your remaining cards out to a finish.
Dealer's left-hand neighbour leads to the first trick and the winner of each trick leads to the next. You need never follow suit but can always play any card you like.
  • In the first course (duck), the trick is taken by the lowest card of the suit led (unless it is "quacked" - see below), and Ace counts low.
  • In the second course (soup), the trick is taken by the highest card of the suit led (unless "quacked"), and Ace counts high.
If you win a trick containing three cards of the same suit, you store it face down. If it contains one or more cards of a different suit, you store it face up to show that it counts double. The trick-winner draws first from the duck-house (if any cards remain), waits for the others to draw, then leads to the next.
There are no trumps, but you can seek to win the trick by playing another card of the same rank as the one led (for example, a Five to the lead of a Five). Whenever you do this, you say "Quack!" and win the trick. If two players quack, the second says "Quack-quack" and wins - unless the leader then plays the fourth of that rank and says "Quack-quack-quack!". In this case the followers may discard anything and the leader wins, storing both tricks (all six cards) face up, after which everyone draws two cards from stock instead of one (if enough remain).
Ducks (Jokers)
If you lead a Duck it wins the trick. You must announce which suit of its colour it represents, and if the others both follow suit you store the trick face down.
If you play a Duck second or third, it doesn't win the trick. If it matches the colour of the suit led it counts as following suit.
At end of play, you take the score you made in the first course, counting 1 for each face-down trick and 2 for each trick face up, and multiply it by your score for the second course, counted on the same basis.
Alternative score
If you prefer: rather than placing whole tricks face up or face down, you may place each one's individual cards face up or down - down for those of the suit led, up for others. In this case you count 1 for each downcard and 2 for each up, and might find it preferable to add the two scores together instead of multiplying them.
The final winner is the player with the highest aggregate score at the end of three deals (each dealing in turn), or else play up to a target score of 100 points.