# Missing Persons

Invented by David Morrah (morrah@igrin.co.nz). © 1995.

**Players:** Two

**Deck required:** Standard 54 card deck, including two jokers.

### THE AIM

The first player to correctly identify his opponent wins.

### SET UP

Create a barrier between player one and player two (e.g. a tall dictionary) so that neither player can see his/her mystery card.

Each player selects and removes a card of their choice from the deck. They each place their card against their barrier so they can see it. Make sure it is not visible to the other player. This card is each player's "missing person."

Ten cards are dealt face up (as indicated) to each player. These cards can be used during the game during each player's turn to narrow down their list of possible suspects as they come closer to solving the other players missing person.

The remaining cards are dealt into a central pick-up pile for both players.

### SAMPLE GAME

Player 1's selected missing person is the A. Player 2's selected missing person is the 3.

Player 1's face up cards are as follows. He uses these cards to help guess the identity of his opponent.

**A 5 Q 10 4 5 J Q K 2**

- Player one can ask two either a number OR a suit related question about player's two's missing person.
### GENERAL RULES

- Acceptable questions include "Is your card between 10 and 1?" (Aces in this game are called 1).
- "Is your card red?"
- "Is your card a royal?"
- "Is your card a spade?"
- Illegal questions are "Is your card 10?", "Is your card the K of clubs?", or "Is your card a joker?"
- The questions must generate a straightforward "Yes" or "No" answer from the other player.
- You may not ask "Is your royal male or female?" as this is too obvious.
- Player one asks two "Is your missing person a spade?"

- Player two must answer. He looks at his hidden card. It's the 3 of spades. Player two replies "Yes."
- Player one can now use the cards in front of him anyway he likes to narrow down his suspect. In this case, he
**turns over**all the cards that aren't spades from what's in front of him.After re-ordering his list of possible suspects, player one's hand now looks like this (# represents a face-down (overturned) card):

**J Q K 2 4 # # # # #**Because he guessed the other player's suit correctly, he may now draw five cards from the pick-up pile and place them on top of the cards he just turned over. His new hand now looks like this:

**J Q K 4 2 10 J A 9 Q**Player one is now entitled to ask player two another question. He asks him "Is your missing person a royal?"

- Player two must answer. He looks at his hidden card. It's the 3 of spades. Player two replies "No."
- Player one's guess was wrong, so his turn is over. He may not pick up anymore cards to add to his collection or ask any further questions. He can still, however, adjust the cards in front of him accordingly. Since player one now realizes that player 2's card is not a royal, he turns over all cards that are J's, Q's and K's. Also, because he knows that player two's card is already a spade, he turns over all the cards that aren't spades as well. His new collection looks as follows.
**2 4 # # # # # # # #**If player one can correctly guess something next time round, he will get to place 8 more cards on top of his over turned cards.

- It's player two's turn now.
Player two's face up cards are as follows. He also uses these cards to help guess the identity of his opponent.

**9 9 9 4 K K 4 9 7 5**Player two asks one "Is your missing person black?"

- Player one must answer. He looks at his hidden card. It's the A of spades. Player two replies "Yes."
- Player one adjusts his cards accordingly. He turns over all cards that have red suits. His
collection of likely suspects is arranged to look as follows:
**9 9 # # K # 4 9 # #**For answering correctly, he draws five more cards and adds them to his list. His hand now looks as follows:

**9 9 A 8 K 5 4 9 J J**He edits his selection even further by overturning any extraneous cards that aren't black:

**9 9 A 8 K 5 # 9 J J**He can now ask player one another question. He asks "Is your card between 5 and J?" (i.e. either 4,3,2,A,Q or K).

- Player one must answer. He looks at his hidden card. It's the A of spades. Player two replies "Yes."
- Player one now gets rid of all the cards that are
**not**between 5 and J, i.e. 6,7,8,9 and 10. His selection now looks as follows:**# # A # K 5 # # J J**He now picks up five cards from the pick-up pile and places them on top of the overturned cards. His new selection of ten cards looks as follows:

**J 8 A K K 5 Q Joker J J**He now turns over A) all cards that aren't black and B), all cards that are *not* between 5 and J, i.e. 6,7,8,9 and 10. His selection now looks as follows:

**# # # K K 5 Q Joker J J**He then asks player one another question: "Is your missing person a club?"

- Player one must answer. He looks at his hidden card. It's the A of spades. Player two replies "No."
- Player two's guess was wrong, so his turn is over. He may not pick up anymore cards to add
to his collection or ask any further questions. He can still, however, adjust the cards in front of him accordingly. Since player one now realizes that player 1's card is not a club, he turns over all cards that aren't clubs. His new collection of suspects now looks as follows:
**# # # K # 5 Q Joker # J** - Play now passes back to player one, who can now ask player two a question.
- Play continues until one of the player's has a good hunch on who the other player's missing person is. If, say during the game player one asks two "Is your person a royal?" and player two replies "Yes", and player one has enough evidence from his deductions to guess player two's identity, then he may say at any stage during the game "I guess your missing person is..." The player can only guess once though, and if he is wrong, the other player wins by default.
- If both players run out of cards to pick up before either of them can correctly make a guess at who the other missing person is, both players must
**take separate turns**to make a stab at who the other player is, based on the evidence in front of them. This is called forced guess mode. If neither player guesses correctly, the player whose guess is the**closest**wins by default.E.g. player one's missing person is 10.

Player two's missing person is J.

Player one guesses that two is Q.

Player two guesses that one is 5.

Therefore, player one wins by closest guess.If both players guess each other's identity correctly during forced guess mode, then it's a tie breaker.

### VARIATIONS

For a longer, more challenging game, try the following:

During rounds, if a player guesses his opponent's number or suit correctly, instead of replacing fresh cards on top of ALL his overturned cards, he is only allowed to draw ONE card from the pick-up pile and place it on top of ONE of his overturned cards.

Questions do not have to be limited to black and white questions like "Is your card between 2 and 7?" or "Is your card red?" Be cryptic when asking questions, but remember whatever you ask, the questions must generate a straightforward "Yes" or "No" answer from the other player.

Here's some more interesting cryptic questions that will make gameplay more challenging:

- At the crime scene, did your suspect fall between 3 and 9 staircases?
- Is your missing person known to have a temperature? (I.e. is he a red suit?)
- Is your missing person a member of the Monarchy? (I.e. is he a royal suit?)
- Does your missing person wear black sunglasses? (I.e. is he a black suit?)
- Does your missing person pick clovers? (I.e. is he a club?)
- Does your missing person have a penchant for diamonds? (I.e. is he a diamond?)
- Does your missing person wear his valentine on his sleeve? (I.e. is he a heart?)
- Does your missing person enjoy digging? (I.e. is he a spade?)

If you want, you can select your missing person to be the joker, but be warned, you will have to answer "No" to every single question the other player asks since...

- The joker is not a number
- He is not a royal
- He is neither red nor black

As soon as the other player has established these three things, he'll guess who you are straight away. But it's fun to play the joker now and then to fool the novice opponent!