Three Kings

by Jimmy Kaplowitz and JC Ravage

Players:

2 or more, but no playtesting has been done with more than two players.

Deck:

1/2 a deck (two full suits) per player, plus one king (use a joker if you want) - the idea is to have two kings for every player, plus one extra.

Suits are irrelevant.

Card Values:

Ace is worth 1 point, numerical cards are worth their face values, Jack is worth 11, Queen is worth 12, and King is special and has no numerical value.

Gameplay:

Four cards are dealt to each player, and four are turned face up on the table. Play proceeds to the left of the dealer in clockwise order. To start each turn, a player draws a card. Then, if he can form a set of three cards, one from his hand and two from the table, of which two add up to the third, then he removes those three cards from play, puts them in a pile near him, and draws an additional card. If he cannot form such a set, he discards one card from his hand by placing it face up on the table. Then the turn is over.

An example of a set is as follows: 6 in the hand, 5 and Jack on the table. This is a set because 6+5=11.

Kings cannot be used in sets of three or discarded. They can, however, be taken into the hand by being matched with another King already in the hand.

If at any time a player empties the table of face-up cards, four new cards are turned over, and any Kings among them are given to the player who emptied the table. This is in addition to the extra card drawn after making a set.

When a player has three Kings in his hand, the game immediately ends. There are three variations regarding how to score and decide a winner:

  • The player who gets the three Kings wins. No scoring is needed.
  • The cards in the piles of sets are counted as points for each player. The player who got the three Kings in his hand gets a 15-point bonus. The player with the most points wins.
  • The cards in the piles of sets are counted as points for each player. The player who got the three Kings in his hand has 15 points deducted from his score. The player with the fewest points wins.
Variation

A possible variation would be to continue until all the cards have been played, and use the second or third scoring method above.

If you have any comments or questions about this game, you may email Jimmy at jimmy@kaplowitz.org or JC at jravage1@swarthmore.edu .