Card Games



Many Bridge players lament that three-handed variations lack the real game's complexity. On the other hand, one of the best three-handed card games around—Skat, the German national card game—is filled with arbitrary rules that are off-putting to initiates. Hence Whiskey (from Whist + Skat—say it quickly), which takes some of the best features from each game to solve the three-player dilemma.

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What Makes a Good Card Game?

I have definite ideas about what makes a good card game. My favorite card game, duplicate bridge, meets many of those expectations but requires 4 people to play. Tennis and Whiskey are my attempts to develop games for 2 and 3 players that meet all my standards. What are those standards? Glad you asked…

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Each player holds a Forehand of 12 cards. On the table, a Forehand bid is face-up vertically in front of each player, while horizontally under the Forehand bids are face-up Backhand bids. Each player's Backhand is face-down horizontally beside the bids.

Tennis is a plain-trick game in which two players strive to match a bid number of tricks exactly for each of their two hands.

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Tricks and Trumps

In Bridge, Spades, Hearts, and numerous other card games, the gameplay consists of tricks. A trick is simply one card from each player’s hand. Some games (Bridge and Spades, for example, but not Hearts) allow a trump suit. If there is a trump suit, each card in the trump suit is able to beat any card of any other suit.

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American Schnapsen


Schnapsen is a terrific game. But it’s a tough sell for American audiences, what with the Ace-Ten card order and point values and a number of finicky rules. So here’s a version tailored for American card players.

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