David Parlett's
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You can teach an old dog new tricks
Inventing card games is one of my favourite recreations. It's a relaxing hobby: it means I can think up the basic ideas without having to get out of bed - or even, if I'm very lucky, without having to wake up - which is more than you can say for actually playing cards. I like games that use an ordinary 52-card pack and have very simple rules but give you plenty to think about. If you like that idea have a look through the following. Against each entry is a note of how many it can be played by (red means it's ideal for that number and P = four players in fixed partnerships), followed by the type of game it is and a note of what it's all about. For type of game (column 3) see game types.
Abstrac 2 nim game Pick up cards to make combinations (perfect information)
Addenda 2 P point tricks Aim to win tricks counting 17 points each
Agony Aunt 4trick-avoid Avoid taking penalty cards (needs counters and a board
Anarchy 3 4 5wild tricks Play as you please and score how you like
Arm's Length 4Pplain tricks You take the high road and I'll take the low road
Bouncers 3trick-avoid A sort of cross between Gops and Hearts
Brain Drain 2 3 4 5 arithmetical An equations-making game
Bravado 2 3 4 5 6shedding A fast fun game, published as Chicken Out!
Brummy 2 3 4 5rummy Two-dimensional Rummy
Bugami 3 4 P 5trick-avoid Choose which suit not to win cards of in tricks (& see Trigami)
Caterpillar 2arithmetical A fairly simple adding-up game
Cato 2point tricks A card-point adaptation of Ecarté
Centurion 2 arithmetical Adding-up game for a couple of centenarians
Chwech 4 5 6 plain tricks You needn't play to a trick if you don't want to (designed for six)
Cloud Nine 3 4 5 tricks+melds Build your own nine-card meld while hindering those of others
Collusion 4plain tricks Hilarious game of (mis)alliances and double-crossings
Colour-blind 2 3plain tricks Choose whether to win red cards or black
Concerto Ppoker hands Cooperatively construct poker hands
Copyright 3plain tricks Aka Favouritism: win tricks so as to favour your right-hand neighbour
Counterbluff 2 bluffing Bluff with constantly-evolving Poker hands
Counterpique 2 tricks+melds Contract Piquet - a classic game updated
Counterpoint 2 3 point tricks Predict how many card-points you'll win in tricks
Cowpoke 2 3 4 5 collecting A pokery sort of game with quasi-tricks
Crescendo 2 3 4 5 plain tricks Trick values go up, then down, then up again...
Cross Purposes 2 P plain tricks One party chooses a trump suit, the other a top rank
Crummy 3 4 5 6 rummy Rummy with a trick-type method of play
Dilemma 2 quasi-tricks Should you play second or fourth to a four-card trick?
Dividend 4 P plain tricks In which you divvy up the cards you win in tricks
Doubleduck P plain tricks Partnership version of Duck Soup
Duke of York 2 arithmetical March up to the top of the hill and back down again
Dracula 2 3 P arithmetical An arithmetical game with a bloodthirsty count
Duck Soup 2 plain tricks Game for a couple of quacks (& see Doubleduck, Trebleduck)
Dumbo 3 plain tricks Three-player version of Collusion
Dupe 2 wild tricks A game to test your memory. No trick-playing skill required!
Equator 2 3 4 arithmetical For contortionists in mental arithmetic!
Farrago 3 4 5 plain tricks There's a different trumping rule at every deal
Flashpoint P trick-rummy Play tricks to win card combinations
Flunk 3 plain tricks Any relation to three-handed Bridge is purely fortuitous
Fosco 2 P arithmetical A game of perfect information with another villainous count
Galapagos 2 hybrid 3 games in 1: win tricks, make melds, get rid of your cards
Ganderpoke 2 3 4 layout A five-by-five square game with Poker hands
Garbo 2 layout A 4x4 square game where each card "vants to be alone"
Get Stuck 2 P layout A quasi board game on a grid of seven by seven cards
Give or Take 2 arithmetical aka More or Less - another way of playing with numbers
Go for it! 2 3 4 5 6 shedding aka Angst - dare you play your next card?
Good Cop, Bad Cop 4 plain tricks Two Jokers, a trump suit, a penalty suit, and who's your partner?
Gooseberry Fool 3 plain tricks Divide and rule by winning the middling number of tricks
Hamlet 3 plain tricks With supporting roles for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Hindsight 2 tricks+melds In which you might have done better with a bit of foresight
Hoodwink 3 plain tricks With at least two ways of hoodwinking your opponents
Key of the door 2 3 4 P 5 arithmetical In which you construct "keys" counting exactly 21
King Priam 2 - 5 arithmetical Win face cards by making prime numbers from numeral cards
Limbo 2 arithmetical Get lowest under the bar by deducting and dividing
Memoranda 4 5 6memory Can you remember which cards were you originally dealt?
Minimisère 3 4 5 trick-avoid If you can't lose every trick, win as many as possible
Mismatch 2 4 trick-avoid The antidote to Rummy: avoid winning card-combinations
Naughty Nun 3 plain tricks Like Ninety-Nine, but with silly additions and variations
Nimbly 3 4 5layout Pick up nine cards that make scoring combinations
Ninety-Nine 2 3 4 P 5 plain tricks Bid to win an exact number of tricks
One Up 2 3 4 5 arithmetical Game for a number of totalitarians
Packnstack 2 patience A patience-like card/board game for two players
Parity 2 plain tricks Odd or even? A skilled game of perfect information
Paved with Gold 2-3 memory An elaborate form of Pelmanism/Concentration
Plonk P point tricks Win tricks containing cards of different suits. Not so easy...
Prime Time 2 3 arithmetical Make primes from three-card combinations
Romeo & Juliet 2 layout A romantic card-board game on a grid of 7x7 cards
Rummage 3 4 5 6 trick-rummy Rummy with a trick-type method of play (designed for 5)
Same Difference 2 plain tricks Win tricks by playing two cards as far apart as possible
Seconds 4 plain tricks In which only the second-best card wins the trick
Secret Agent 4 plain tricks In which you also score for tricks won by your secret agent
Slapstick 2 3 4 5 6 shedding Like Bravado but without all that adding up
Snail Space 2 layout Spiral Cribbage, or Cribbage for Snails
Snark 3 4 5 wild tricks A wilder version of Anarchy (designed for 5 Boojums)
Sneak 2 3 4 5 bluffing If you've got it, flaunt it; if not, bluff it
Sockjaw 2 3 win pairs Also known as Sock Drawer
Spec 2 3 4 layout A silly guessing game - or is it?
Squint 5 plain tricks Twist a card to find your partner (& see Twyst for four)
Stucco 2 matching A match-and-go-out game of perfect information
Suitability 2 3 4 5 tricks In which each suit is allocated a specific role to play
Swap Three 4 rummy In which you gift cards to one another
Tantony 3 4 P point tricks Win tricks, then give them away!
Tantrum 2, 3 rummy Where different types of melds may interfere with each other
Throps 3 wild tricks A three-player variant of Gops ("Game Of Perfect Strategy")
Toucan 2 two-card tricks Because only toucan play
Tracktrick 3 P plain tricks A quasi-board game requiring accurate trick-play
Trebleduck 3 plain tricks Three-player version of Duck Soup
Triathlon 3 plain tricks In which you aim to perform three trick-taking feats
Trigami 3 trick-avoid Choose which suit not to win cards of in tricks (& see Bugami)
Twyst 4 plain tricks Twist a card to find your partner (& see Squint for five)
Umbridge 2 plain tricks A perversion of Bridge for two
Welsh Whist 3 4 5 point tricks A fun game with Jokers and bluffing. No cheating allowed!
Who's Who 3 plain tricks Which of the other two players is your secret partner?
Yoyo 2, 3 patience A competitive patience game based on Black Hole