Recently, I’ve been playing cards with my siblings and cousins. The total number of players is six. There’s not a lot of games that can be played with six people but only uses one standard deck of cards (maybe with paper and pencil, but preferably not), so I’ve been inventing random stuff. Here’s a (probably incomplete, if I missed stuff) list of those random inventions. Note that these are certainly prototypes, although some are of better shape (read: playable) than others. I might add a few more ideas here later.
(In fact, works pretty well with 2-7 players. With more players, reduce each player’s starting life count; keep the total less than 40.)
Initially, each player has five “lives”. Usually people will just be honest with their life count, but if necessary, keep track with paper and pencil. Your objective is to be the last person with lives.
In each round, deal each player as many cards as they have lives. They can see the cards, but shouldn’t show them to anyone else.
Each player, starting from some agreed person (usually the one after the last person to make a bid in the previous round, or just choose somebody for the first round), declares a bid containing a number and a suit; this is a bid that “among all cards dealt, there are at least these many cards of this suit”. Bids may not go smaller. A bid with higher number beats a bid with lower number; for bids of equal number, a bid of “stronger” suit beats a bid of “weaker” suit. (Suits are ranked in some predetermined fashion; I use Big Two’s diamond < club < heart < spade, but there’s actually no difference.)
At any time, a player may challenge a bid. In this case, everyone opens their cards. If the bid is met (there’s enough cards of the given suit), the challenger loses a life; otherwise, the bidder loses a life. Only the latest bid can be challenged.
Optional: To each bid, you may also declare “exact”. If this is challenged and there are exactly as many cards of the suit that you stated, you also gain one life. If there are more cards, you lose one life. A normal bid and an exact bid are of equal strength; you cannot reply “eight hearts” with “exactly eight hearts”.
(Better for 4.)
Just a trick-taking game. The objective is to meet a bid contract.
Discard one rank (for a 48-card deck) and agree on some scoring system. Examples:
- Aces worth 4, Kings worth 3, Queens worth 2, Jacks worth 1. Discard Twos.
- Aces worth 1, Twos worth 2, Threes worth 3, Fours worth 4. Discard Tens.
- Each trick is worth 1 point (read: each card is worth 1/6 points). Discard Twos.
Deal 8 cards for each player. (For 4 playing, don’t discard a rank and deal 13 to each. It’s possible to have 5 playing, although I’ve yet to figure out a good way for the cards; maybe remove two Twos and deal 10 each? Add 3 jokers and deal 11 each?)
The first phase is the auction. Each player may make a bid that beats the previous bid, or passes; if a player passes, they cannot bid again. A bid is an amount of points, together with a declaration of a trump suit (or that the deal is played at no trumps). Like above, larger number beats smaller number; for equal numbers, no trump beats trump, and suits are ranked in some fashion (again, I use Big Two). The bid is a declaration of getting at least that many points, with the given trump.
After everyone but one player passes, the last bidder is the declarer. Their target is to meet the given contract. They have partners, however; they declare two cards that they don’t hold themselves. (If 4 playing, declare 1 card.) The holders of these cards will be the declarer’s teammates (although the cards are not revealed); at the end, points counted by them will be counted for the declarer. Each player plays a card just like in trick-based games (follow suit if possible, but anything if not; highest trump wins, otherwise highest in the suit led wins).
After all tricks are played, count the points in the cards won, and add up the points in the partnership. If the contract is met, then the team is successful, otherwise the opposing team is successful.
If both called cards are on the same person, they score double (they only need half of the points to reach the contract). (Optional: bad luck; they need to work around having a two-man team for a contract designed for three.)