Contributed by Kendall Redburn (firstname.lastname@example.org or BugByte1@aol.com)
This is an original card game I created for my children, it can be played with 2, 3, or 4 players and easily modified for more. It is a very simple game, and yet does take some thinking, so it is very good with children ages 4 to 10. It is intended to be played with a mixture of adults and children. It is simple for young children to master the mechanics, and still offer complex strategy for the adults.
Generally, the oldest person starts as dealer.
Played with a standard 52 card deck, shuffle and deal 4 cards face up into the center of the play area. These are the "Starter" cards, and are only dealt at the start of each game.
Each player is then dealt 4 cards. For some reason, children don't like their cards dealt face up, so I always deal them face down. Then, when everyone has their cards, they all put them face up in front of them. The player to the left of the dealer starts.
Each player in turn may use one of their face up cards to remove a card from the center. If one of their cards matches a center card either by suit or by value, then the player takes both cards and places them face down in their own "Claimed" pile. If the player cannot take a card from the center then that player must place a card in the center instead. Each player may only take one card from the center each turn. Play passes to the left, until each player has used up their four cards.
Four new cards are dealt then dealt out to each player by the dealer. Again, the cards are turned up and play proceeds as before, starting with the same person as before. Play continues this way until all the cards are dealt.
On the final round, there may not be enough cards to give each player 4. If this is the case, deal so each player gets the same number of cards, and put the extras face up in the center.
If the last player to play can take a card from the center, that person get's all the cards in the center. Otherwise the center cards are set aside until next game. Each player then counts the total number of cards they have collected in their pile. The person with the most cards wins that game.
For the next game, the dealer becomes the person to the left of the previous dealer. The first person to win 5 games wins the match. It is important that who starts first always rotates from game to game because the last player has the natural advantage to win.
Because the cards are all face up, it might seem easy to see who should play what and how. In a two player game, this is often the case. In a three player game, it is becomes more difficult to see how all twelve plays are going to happen. Children begin to plan ahead as they see how each play affects them later. For example: with no cards in the center, it's player a's turn. He has a 3H and a 5D. Player b (to left of a) has a 3s and a jH. Player c (left of b) has a 4H and qD.
If player a plays the 3H player b will take it with the 3s, player c must then put out a card. If you can't take a card, you must play a card. Player a will not be able to take either card player C puts out, and will have to put out the 5D, taking no cards.
If player a plays the 5D, player b cannot take it. Either card player b plays can be taken by player a. Player b has to really think here. If player b plays the 3s, player c takes the 5D with qD, and player a takes the 3s with the 3H. If player b plays the jH, now player C gets the final choice between the 5D or the jH.
Sometimes the outcome of who get's what cards is the same no matter what choices you make, and sometimes it's very important to play the cards in the right order.
Kendall J. Redburn