Tag Archives: cards

Blind card sorting puzzle – the answer

27 Jan

Here is another puzzle that I never got round to answering… Until today. Firstly, here is the puzzle again:

“A blind person is given a normal deck of 52 cards. They are told that exactly 10 of the cards are facing up, all the rest are facing down. How can the blind person divide the cards into 2 separate piles, with each pile consisting of an equal number of cards facing up?”

The answer is below

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Games you can play for free – Cheat

21 Dec

Continuing with my project to create a list of great games you can play for free, this post features a card game where it pays to cheat… or rather, cheat unchallenged.

Cheat

Number of players: 3 – 10

Playing time: 20 minutes

You will need:

  • A standard deck of playing cards

The cards are shuffled and dealt amongst players. Play progresses clockwise. On each player’s turn, they play face-down into a discard pile, any number of cards from their hand. When they do so, that player must announce the number of cards they are playing and a single value for all those cards. The first player to play must announce “Ace”, the second “2” and so on up up until “King”, followed by “Ace again. The catch of course is that players can lie about both the number of cards they are playing and the value of those cards. Indeed, players will be forced to do so if they do not have any cards of the value which they are forced to announce. If for example, if a player must announce 5s, they could play a 2, 3, 6 and 8 whilst announcing two 5s. Outrageous cheating, but allowed in this game!

Play continues in this manner until someone calls “cheat!”, which any player can do after a card/cards have been played.  When cheat! is called, the cards just played are turned over. If the value and number of the cards played was as announced, the player who called cheat! must take all cards in the discard pile into their hand. If however, either the value or number of cards is different to what was announced, the person who played them must take all cards in the discard pile into their hand. Following a call of cheat!, play resumes to the left of the challenged player.

The winner is the first player to get rid of their hand.

- As a variation, allow players to announce any value that is of higher rank than what was announce by the previous player. Following a player announcing “King”, the next announcement can be of any rank.

- As another variation, allow players to announce the same rank or a rank one higher than the previous announcement.

Games you can play for free – Karma

13 Dec

Continuing with my project to create a list of great games you can play for free, this post features an intriguing card game that I first saw being played at my university bar a couple of years ago. Commonly known by a more unsavory name, Karma requires players to get rid of all cards from three separate piles. Different cards have different effects on play, which can make watching a game (as I found out) somewhat confusing.

Karma

Number of players: 2 – 6

Playing time: 20 minutes

You will need:

  • A standard deck of playing cards
  • Brown paper bag (optional)

Each player is dealt nine cards. Three of these cards are laid face-down next to each other (down cards), three of these cards are laid face-up on each of the three down cards (up cards) and the other three cards go to the hand (hand cards). All remaining cards are stacked in a communal face-down deck in the centre of the table. Before play commences, players can exchange any number of their hand cards with a corresponding number of their up cards.

The player who is chosen to go first discards one, two or three cards of the same rank from their hand cards to a common discard pile. That player must then draw cards from the deck to bring their hand size back up to three. Play progresses clockwise with each player discarding one, two, three or four cards of equal or higher rank onto the top of the discard pile. It is not necessary for the number of cards discarded to be the same as the number of cards discarded by the previous player. Additionally, there is no requirement for a player to discard all cards in their hand of that rank if they choose not to do so. After discarding, that player must then draw cards from the deck to bring their hand size back up to three. If, on their turn, a player can’t or won’t discard any cards, they must add all cards in the current discard pile to their hand. Thereafter, a new discard pile is started.

Cards are ranked Ace high with certain ranks conferring various effects on play as follows:

  • Jokers may be discarded at any time. Discarding a Joker causes a reversal in the rotation of play. If a second joker is played, the original order of play is restored. Following a Joker, the next card to be discarded must be higher than the card discarded before the Joker itself (i.e. the Joker is treated as invisible).
  • 8s have the same effect as Jokers, each 8 played changes the rotation of play, but is to the next player treated as invisible (You may want to use these rules for 8s instead of including Jokers in the game).
  • 2s can count as either high or low. In effect, this means they can both be discarded onto any other card and any card can be discarded onto them.
  • 10s cause the current discard pile to be removed from the game. After playing a 10, the person who played it takes another turn by starting a new discard pile.
  • If a player discards a card that results in the last four cards to have been discarded be of the same rank, the current discard pile is removed from the game. The player who played the fourth card of that rank takes another turn by starting a new discard pile.
  • 7s require the next discard (and only the next discard) to be of equal or lower rank than the 7.

When there are no cards remaining in the deck, play continues. From this point, following discarding cards, no new cards are added to the hand. A player who has no cards left in hand must play instead from their up cards in the same manner as playing from the hand as described above. If a player who is playing from their up cards can’t or won’t discard any cards, they must start a new hand with all cards in the current discard pile. They must then discard all the card in their new hand before being able to discard up cards once again.

Once a player has successfully discarded all their up cards, they may then discard their down cards. Each of their turns thereafter, that player must turn over one of their down cards (which, up until that point, no one has known the identity of). If it can be successfully discarded, it is placed on top of the discard pile. If not, that player must start a new hand with the down card just turned face up and all cards in the current discard pile. They must then discard all the card in their new hand before being able to discard down cards once again.

The winner is the player who first discards their card. The last player with cards remaining must wear the paper bag on their head for the next game.

Games you can play for free – Delphi

1 Dec

Continuing with my project to create a list of great games you can play for free, this post features a unique game created by Martin Kruskal, where the objective is to guess the rules devised by one of the players.

Delphi

Number of players: 3 – 7

Playing time: 30 minutes

You will need:

  • A standard deck of playing cards
  • Some chips

In each round, one player is designated as the ‘Oracle'; all other players take the role of ‘Followers’. At the start of the round, the Oracle decides upon and writes down (in secret) a rule that governs whether or not a card can be successfully played. The rule must relate to the card itself. For example the rule “if the previous card played was odd, the next card must be red” is acceptable , whereas the rule “cards can only be played if the minute hand of the clock is between 2 and 8″ is not acceptable.

The deck of cards is shuffled and placed face down in the centre of the table before the top card is turned face up beside it. Thereafter, the Oracle turns over each of the cards in the deck one by one. After each card is turned face-up, all Followers must state whether they think that card adheres to the sequence decided by the Oracle. A good way for Followers to do this is with a card with ‘yes/no’ written on it. The ‘yes/no’ cards remain covered until all Followers have made a decision and placed their cards on the table. At this point, all cards are revealed, displaying either a yes or a no.

If the card turned face-up adheres to the Oracle’s rule, it is placed next to the previous card. If the card does not a adhere to the Oracle’s rule, it is placed above the last card to adhere to the rule. Therefore, a horizontal line will be formed from all correctly played cards with vertical lines protruding from these cards containing cards that were not correctly played.

Followers who were correct in determining whether or not the card would adhere to the rule are awarded one chip. Players who were incorrect lose one chip (note that a player cannot loose a chip if they do not have any; they simply stay on zero chips).

The round ends when all cards have been turned face-up and placed by the Oracle. Followers score points equal to the number of chips they own. The Oracle scores points equal to the maximum number of chips any one follower has minus the minimum number of chips any one follower has. I have used my own scoring system (as opposed to the official one) due to simplicity and so that it is in the Oracle’s interest for some (but not all) players to quickly deduce the rule. Ideally, a game of Delphi consists of a number or rounds equal to the number of players, ensuring everybody gets to be the Oracle. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

Games you can play for free – Chinese Ten

30 Nov

Continuing with my project to create a list of great games you can play for free, this post features a simple card game for two to four players.

Chinese Ten

Number of players: 2 – 4

Playing time: 15 minutes

You will need:

  • A standard deck of playing cards

The cards are shuffled and half are dealt amongst all players. If there are two players, each gets twelve cards. If there are three players, each gets eight cards. If there are four players, each gets six cards. From the remaining twenty-four cards, four are turned face-up in the centre of the table. The remaining cards form a face-down deck in the centre of the table.

The aim of the game is to capture cards from the centre if the table. Cards are captured as follows. Cards valued 1 (ace) to 9 are captured by the card whose value brings the total to 10. For example, a 1 captures a 9 and a 7 captures a 3. 10s, Jacks, Queens and Kings are captured by cards of the same rank. For example, a Queen captures another Queen.

On each players turn, they play one card from their hand. If possible, that card captures a card from the centre of the table (a card can only capture one card). Upon capturing a card, that player keeps both cards (the card played and the card captured), placing them face-down in front of them. If the card played was not able to capture a card, it is left face-up in the centre of the table. Cards added to the centre of the table in this manner are available to be captured by any player in subsequent turns.

Following playing a card from their hand (whether it captures or not), that player then flips over the top card of the deck. If able, it captures one of the face-up cards and both are kept by that player. If not able to capture, it is added to the face-up cards.

Following each player’s turn, play progresses clockwise to the next player. If played correctly, the last remaining card in the deck will be able to capture the last face-up card. Once this happens, the game ends.

Players then score points from the cards they have won based upon the following:

  • Red cards (hearts and diamonds) ranked 2 – 9 score their face value.
  • Red cards ranked 9 – King score ten points each.
  • Red aces (1s) score 20 points each.
  • If three or four players are playing, the Ace of spades score 30 points.
  • If exactly four players are playing, the Ace of clubs scores 40 points.

The difference between the average score (105, 80 and 70 with two, three and four players respectively) and each players score is the amount by which that player wins or looses by.

Note, if the initial four face-down cards contain three kings, three queens, three jacks, three tens or three fives; the fourth card of that rank captures all three of these cards. If the initial four face-down cards consist of four kings, four queens, four jacks, four tens or four fives; they are won by the dealer (or shuffled back into the deck before four more cards are turned face up).

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