Contributed by James Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Based on an oval track car race, this fairly simple game uses cards as a track and poker chips as race cars. Two to four players. Success depends on cards drawn.
The object is to move one's car (chip) around a card track by receiving cards close to or equal in value to the individual cards that make up the track. And to finish first, of course.
Cards and "Cars"
The game requires two 52 card decks with jokers, and either a different color poker chip for each player or a different size coin. A second matching chip / coin should be placed in front of each player, to keep "cars" identified with players. Card suit makes no difference in this game.
Number cards have pip value except the deuce. Jack = 11, Queen = 12, and King = 13. Ace counts as one. Joker moves a chip forward one space automatically, and so requires no value. Deuce can count as two or can serve the joker's function. Suit plays no part in this game.
Fourteen cards are dealt out and arranged to form a rectangular track, four lengthwise on top and bottom, and three lengthwise on each end. There should not be more than two cards of any given value in the track, nor should two of the same value be adjacent to one another. No jokers or deuces in the track. Replace or move as required.
Another card is placed at one end, perpendicular to the end cards, and centered (butts up against the center end card). This is the start / finish card. This is where the race starts and ends. It should have a value between three and jack, and cannot be within two points of the last two track cards. Movement around the track from this point is counterclockwise.
Next, a pit stop card is placed in the center of the "track." This card must not duplicate any of the cards that make up the track, including the start/finish card. It cannot be a joker or a deuce.
The remaining cards make up the stock.
The draw from stock moves clockwise, and rotates clockwise after each race is complete. Initial draw can be determined by whatever method appeals.
All players' chips are placed on the start/finish card. A card is drawn by the initial draw player. This card must come within two points of the first track card (the end card the start/finish card butts up against) if the player's chip is to move onto the track. For example, if the first track card is a nine, the dealt card must be a seven, eight, nine, ten or jack. A joker or a deuce used like a joker will serve to advance the player's chip one track card and only one.
Should the card following the first track card card be within one point of the drawn card, the player may advance his chip to that card, regardless of the value of the first track card. So, if the card after the nine is a four, then either a three, a four, or a five will move the car/chip forward to that second card, skipping over the nine.
Track cards that are within two points or one point respectively of the drawn card are eligible cards. Of course a track card that's identical in value to the drawn card is eligible also. These rules hold true as the chips progress around the track, with the exception of getting onto the start/finish card at the end of the game. There the drawn card must be within one point of the start finish card. Joker has no value at the finish, and deuce has only pip value.
This is how the "cars" make their way around the track. This will be apparent with a short trial. After any move is made, the drawn card is placed face up in a pile in front of the player.
Missed Shifts and Pit Stops
All is not pedal to the metal. Chips can miss a shift and move backwards one track card under the following circumstances:
- Should the card immediately to the rear of the chip be within two points of the drawn card, and neither of the two cards in front are eligible cards, the chip misses a shift and goes backward a card. For example, if the next card is a nine, and the following card is an seven, but the card to the rear is a six and a five is drawn, the chip would move backward to the six.
- Should the card immediately to the rear be closer to the drawn card than is either eligible card in front, the chip misses a shift and goes backwards a card. For example, if the next card is an eight, and the following card is a seven, but the card to the rear is a six and a six is drawn, the chip moves backward to the six.
The idea is that an adjacent card to the rear must be eligible while the two cards to the front are not, or the card to the rear must be more eligible than either of the cards to the front. In the case of a tie, the chip moves forward. This penalty involves only the adjacent rear card, not the card behind it. A drawn joker or deuce used as a joker overpowers any rear card.
Worse, a chip can be called in to a pit stop and will have to wait out two turns before the player can draw cards again. This occurs if the player draws a card that's the same as the pit stop card. Should this happen, the player will turn his stack face down until he's again eligible to draw.
The game should probably be played once without the missed shift penalty, to get the hang of it.
In order to move onto the start/finish card at the end and win (or place), the player must receive a card within one point of the start / finish card. One higher, one lower, or equal. Joker can't be used, and deuce can only be used as pip value. The first player to do that wins first place for that race. The race continues until all but the last player has landed on the start / finish card.
Winner gets ten points, second place gets five, and third gets two. Additional finishers don't score. Scores are cummulative from race to race. How many races determine overall winner is up to the players.
The card track can be reconstructed with fresh cards when / if it appears to be hexed. The pit stop card should be changed after every race. The game goes through cards pretty fast, usually requiring consolidating and reshuffling of the piles into a new stack, so be sure to mark / record who is to draw the next card after shuffling is complete.