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Whiplash

Contributed by Colin Martin

This game is for 2 to 4 players, using a standard 52-card pack.

A dealer is chosen and deals in turn to the players and themselves four cards each. The dealer then places the pack face down on the table and turns over the top card placing it next to the pack.

Starting from the left of the dealer, and in turn, each player takes a card, either from the top of the visible upturned pile or the top one from the pack. They examine their cards and discard one face up to the top of the upturned pile, thus keeping a set of four cards. After the player has placed the discarded card on the pile, it is the next player's turn to take a card.

If they have the required cards, players can call when it is their turn, and only after the first complete turn of all players. They must discard their fifth card as they call, and present to all players their hand of four cards.

The object of the game is to get a matching set of three or four cards quickly beating in value all the other players hands.

A player can only "CALL" when he or she has at least three cards of the same value, for example diamondQ, spadeQ, clubQ spadeJ is three queens and counts as three of one kind. Aces are highest, followed by kings, queens, jacks, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

For the purposes of scoring, but not for calling, Aces can be used to copy any card in the hand that is of the same suit as the ace. For example heartQ, diamondQ, heartA, diamondA counts as four queens in the scoring, however as they are actually two queens and two aces (of the same suits) they do not allow you to CALL. Although you might have a winning hand you must have at least three of the same value cards to call. Some one else may call when they have a hand that contains three or four identical cards, and your hand might well be of higher value and win the hand. spadeQ, heartQ, diamondA, heartA counts as only three of a kind for scoring: the heart ace copies the heart queen, but the diamond ace cannot copy anything, since you have no other card of the same suit.

Any three cards of the same rank can be beaten by a higher set of three or any set or four. Example: three fives are beaten by three sixes or three aces, and three aces are beaten by four anythings, e.g. four two's, which beat three aces or three kings. A set of two kings and two aces from the same suits cannot be beaten as you have two of the only aces in the pack, so no four ace hand avalable to beat you.

Rarely, two players will both collect the same set - for example two aces and two kings. In this case neither can call, and in the two player game it soon becomes evident what hands each player holds as there are no kings or aces left in the pack. When the face down stock is exhausted, the discard pile is simply turned over and the last card turned up as usual: players can continue to exchange cards but each player will know that he or she has a stalemate hand. In this case the player with the ace of spades can call. When two hands hold two aces each, the hand with the ace of spades is the winner.

In a three or four player game if someone calls and there are two equal players with the same scoring hand (two aces and two xx's) then they both carry the same value but again the hand with the ace of spades is the winner, unless the CALLER had the highest hand.

As the game starts, any one can win quickly by collecting three low numbers, usually cards that are being discarded by someone looking for those sought after aces and kings. You will call out "CALL" when you have three of a kind. For example, club7, heart4, diamond4, club4 will beat clubA, diamondA, heart5 spade5 as the hand with the two aces has no cards of the same suit, and can only count as two matching cards. Often people get two aces of different suits from the other matching pair that they are hoping to use.

You can hold out and get an ace or amother card of a matching suit to make a set of three or four cards only beatable by another higher set. You can change and pick up higher value cards as they become available each turn but the faster you get a CALLable set and "CALL" the better your chance of winning.

The game requires observation skills as the cards picked up from the discard pile as visible to all, and as in a two player game what you put down is very likly to be just what your opponent wants, so collecting false high cards and running a set of low cards might get you an early win. (This should suit poker players.)

In a three or four player game the discarded cards can get burried before the player that requires them gets their turn. This will lead to the tactic of discarding cards that another player further round the table wants and storing the cards that you fear might help the player to your left.

The highest number of hands won in any time period determines the overall winner. We have been played with two, three and four players, and all the games are very different, with tactics changing, but regardless of however many players you play with the game of whiplash is very addictive.

Why the name "whiplash"? Well, when you get three queens and "CALL" only to be beaten by someone who has two aces and two two's in the same suits but who couldn't CALL, that's the whiplash!


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Last updated 19th October 2004