Big Green Cucumber

This quicker variant of Cucumber was developed and contributed by Robert Rutherford of Chesterfield, England.

The basic rules of the game are as in Danish Cucumber, so the game is played with a 52-card pack without jokers.

  • Any card may be led.
  • Subsequent players have the choice of either playing any card that is equal to or higher than the highest card played to the trick so far, or playing their lowest card.
  • Aces are always high and an Ace can be played to beat another Ace.
  • The highest ranking card wins the trick and the player leads to the next trick. If there are several equally high cards the last of them wins.
  • Players must play with the hand they are dealt and cannot swap any cards before play.

The differences are in the deal and the scoring.

In the first deal 7 cards are dealt to each player, in the second deal 6 cards each, in the third 5 and so on in the pattern of 7-6-5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-6-5-…. This greatly speeds up play and the deals containing fewer cards are often lost by someone holding a very high card or cards. Undealt cards are not shown to the players. 

Spot cards are worth face value, Jacks 11, Queens 12, Kings 13, Aces 14. The player with the highest value card in the last trick scores its value. If several players have equally high cards, they all score that amount.

Because of the higher scores, the game is played to 50 points. Any player reaching or exceeding 50 points is out of the game.

There are no bonuses and no options for penalty points to be doubled.

Robert Rutherford writes:

"Huge swings in the scores happen in the short rounds before the better players try to gain an advantage again in the longer games with more cards in hand. Players on 40+ points try desperately to hang on and hope Lady Luck is on their side when the deals get low. I have seen a 3 card hand of 3 Kings which received a rapturous response from all but one of the players! It's a fast and fun version of Cucumber best played loudly with friends. We call it Big Green."