Number of Players: Two.
The Deck: The standard deck of 52 cards. A large surface area for play or a miniature deck of cards is recommended. A calculator is also desirable to help with the scoring.
Object: To score more runs in two cricket innings than your opponent.
The Toss: The players must decide who is batting first. This is traditionally decided by the toss of a coin. Perhaps unlike most cricket games, there is a slight advantage to bowling first.
The Deal: The red cards (diamonds, hearts) are dealt to one player (the red player), the black cards (clubs, spades) are dealt to the other (the black player). The ace through to the ten of one suit are removed from each pile and laid in order, face up, on the side of the table. These are the wicket cards. The remaining sixteen cards in the pile are shuffled and form a face down stock pile; one for each player. Four cards are then dealt to each player from each pile. These are the play cards.
Composition of the play cards:
The First Innings: The player who is batting first plays a card from her hand of four on to any one of her wicket cards. This is how many runs the wicket will score. The formula is the value of the card minus the rank of the wicket (to a minimum of zero) multiplied by ten. An ace is worth 14 as a play card and one as a wicket card. She then draws a card from her stock pile to make her hand four cards.
However if the other player chooses to, she may immediately counter this play with a card from her hand. This card is of a rank higher than the batting player’s card, and has the effect of cancelling out the batting player’s card. If she plays this card, she draws a card from her stock pile to make her hand four cards.
The batting player can choose to recounter by immediately playing another card from her hand to the same wicket. This must be of a higher rank than the just-played card, and has the effect of scoring runs to the value of this card.
The other player can also cancel out this card if she desires.
An example may be appropriate. Red plays a Jack to her number three wicket. She would score 90 runs for that wicket ((12 - 3) * 10 = 90) and would tally up her score at the end of the innings. She draws a card from her stock pile to make her hand four cards again.
However Black has a Queen in her hand, and chooses to counter Red’s play by laying her Queen over Red’s Jack. The wicket now scores zero.
Red may choose to recounter Black’s play; however she has not a King or higher. Red chooses to play a seven on her number six wicket to claim 10 runs ((7 - 6) * 10 = 10).
It is perfectly valid and a legitimate tactic to play a lower ranked play card on a higher wicket (scoring zero runs). This would clear out the lower ranked card to make way for a card from the stock pile. It may also be a tactic to play a low ranked card on a very low wicket card (say the ace), leaving it to the other player to "up the ante" for both players to clear out low ranked play cards.
Closing the innings: Once the batting player is satisfied, she may declare the innings closed and tally up her score. The remaining cards in both players’ hands and in their stock piles make up the other player’s first innings, and play proceeds with the other player playing out her innings. Once the other player is satisfied, the remaining cards in each player’s hands only are counted as "extras" to the value of one run for its rank as a play card i.e. a remaining King would score 13 runs for the player holding it. The other player’s first innings is then closed.
Following on: If the other player’s first innings score is 200 runs or more shy of the first player’s innings, then she proceeds straight to the second innings batting first. Unlike in real cricket, the follow on must be enforced where appropriate.
The Second innings: The second innings proceeds as the first, with the exception that when countering, the play card may be of a rank equal to or higher than the batting player’s card.
As an example, in the second innings Red plays a Jack to her number three wicket. She would still score 90 runs for that wicket ((12 - 3) * 10 = 90) and would tally up her score at the end of the innings. She draws a card from her stock pile to make her hand four cards again
However Black can now counter with a Jack from her hand, and chooses to counter Red’s play by laying her Jack over Red’s Jack. The wicket now scores zero.
Red must now recounter with a Queen or higher to score runs for that wicket.
To win: The higher runs total from the two innings wins the test. A tied score is possible.
However as a test match is only played to five days, if the total of the four innings is greater than or equal to 1,400 runs then the match is declared drawn. This can be ignored if the players agree before play to a "timeless test".
Once a result is determined; that is either that one player has scored more runs than the other, or that the tally has exceeded 1,400 runs, then play ceases with the result of a win or a draw respectively.
A series: One may play a series of up to five tests. To simulate different pitches and playing arenas, the runs multiplier may be altered. For example a multiplier of twelve could simulate a flat track; a multiplier of eight could simulate a turning or otherwise bowler-friendly pitch.
© Matthew Shields 2006