Continuing with my project to create a list of great games you can play for free, this post features another card game. Thirty One is great because it can be played with such a wide range of player numbers. There are many different versions of this game, so the rules I have chosen to describe below are not set in stone.
Number of players: 3 – 8
Playing time: 15 minutes
You will need:
- A standard deck of playing cards
Players begin the game with three chips each. Three cards are dealt face-down to each player and face-up to the centre of the table. At the end of each round, the cards each player has of any one suit are totaled up, with aces counting as 11, picture cards counting as 10 and numbers as marked. Therefore, if a player has an ace of diamonds, a 4 of hearts and a 8 of hearts, their score will be 12 (4 + 8). Any three of a kind scores 30 1/2. The player with the lowest score looses a chip. In the event of a tie, all tied players lose a chip. After loosing all three chips, a player can continue for one more round. Loosing again will eliminate them from the game. The winner is the last player left in the game.
Following the cards being dealt, the player to the dealer’s left starts. That player may do one of three things; exchange one (or all) of their cards with one (or all) of the face-up cards in the centre of the table, pass or knock. If all players pass, the three current face-up cards are discarded and three new cards dealt from the remaining deck. If a player knocks, all other players have one more turn until that round ends.
– If at any point in the game, a player has a hand scoring 31 (called a blitz), that round ends immediately and all other players lose a chip.
– If a player who ‘knocked’ has the lowest score (even if tied), or if there is a ‘blitz’ following the knock, they lose two chips instead of one.
– A round will also end if all players pass, yet there are less than three cards remaining in the deck.