Gops Variations

This page is part of the Invented Games section of the Card Games web site. It is a collection of variations of the card game Gops, also known as Goofspiel.

Hol's der Geier

A game of bluff by Alex Randolph, closely related to Gops and also known in English editions as Raj or Beat the Buzzard or What the Heck. Each player has a deck of bid cards numbered from 1 to 15, which are used to bid for prize cards: there are mice with positive values and vultures with negative values. A mouse is won by the highest unique bid and a vulture by the lowest. Equal bids cancel.

You can order What the Heck from


A game of bluff invented by Frank-Sven Nestel. It is played with a pack of just 11 cards (originally numbered 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-13-16 but the new edition Pico 2 will have 11 and 12 instead of 2 and 3). The two players each place a card face down and expose them simultaneously; the winner a trick is the player of the higher card, provided it is not more than twice the lower card. If the higher card is more than twice the lower card, the lower card wins. The card that wins the trick is placed in front of the person who played and scores at the end; the losing card is put back into the player's hand and can be reused in future tricks. Pico can be played online at the turn-based server


A variant of Goofspiel with some additional twists, contributed by Brad Chapman

Number of players: Two

Materials needed:

  • One standard 52-card deck (no jokers)
  • Pen and paper, if multiple rounds are played

Object of the game: To score the highest number of points

Number of rounds per game: Predetermined and agreed upon by the players

Start of a round:

  • Each player receives all of the 13 cards of a particular suit
  • The remaining 26 cards are shuffled and placed face-down in a stack between the players
  • Each player picks up and examines his/her own cards

During each round:

  • The top card of the face-down stack (the "auction card") is turned face-up
  • Each player picks a card from his hand (the "bid card") and places it face-down in front of him
  • At the same time, the players expose their bid cards
  • For purposes of bidding:
    • Numbered cards are worth their number of points
    • Aces are worth one point
    • Jacks are worth 11 points, Queens are worth 12 points, and Kings are worth 13 points
  • The highest bid wins the auction card, with the following exception:
    • Aces, deuces and treys win any auction against Jacks, Queens and Kings
  • In the case of a tie:
    • Players make an additional bid for the same auction card
    • If the players run out of cards after a tie, then the auction card is discarded
  • After each play:
    • The bid cards are discarded, face-up
    • A new auction card is turned face-up
    • Discarded bid cards and played auction cards can be examined by either player (so that they do not have to rely on memory to know which cards have been used)

End of round: The round ends when all of the players’ bid cards have been played.


  • After the end of each round, players calculate their scores by adding up the point values of the auction cards in their possession
  • Numbered cards are worth their number of points, Aces are worth one point, Jacks are worth 11 points, Queens are worth 12 points, and Kings are worth 13 points


This variation of two-player GOPS was invented by John Conway, who declares that the name is an acronym for "Switch on Paired Spots". The play is exactly the same as in ordinary Gops, except that when the bids are tied, the two players swap their hands.


Bid is a 2-player GOPS variation independently invented (2008) by Brendan Winter. The rules are identical to GOPS but with the following variations:

  • In case of tied bids, a new prize card is not added, players re-bid for the same card
  • 26 cards are used for the prize pile, rather than 13. Therefore at least half the cards in the prize pile are unused, and players cannot be sure which cards will appear.
  • The Ace is high and is worth 15 points
  • Bid cards are revealed in a single motion, rather than face down then flipped

Welsh Warfare

Contributed by Rhys Morgan

This is a game for four players using a standard 52-card pack. Each player begins with one complete suit and the player who collects all 52 cards wins.

All four players simultaneously place one of their cards face down on the table. When all are ready they turn their cards face up and the highest card wins. For this purpose the cards rank from high to low K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-A, except that if both a King and an Ace are played, the Ace counts as the highest card and wins.

The winner adds the four cards to his or her hand for future use, and the process is repeated until one player has all the cards. Note that it is legal to play cards of suits other than your own which you have won from other players: suits are ignored when comparing cards.

If there is a tie for highest card, the players of the tieing cards must put that card aside and play a different card. This could create a new tie in which case the tieing players must temprarily put aside those cards and try again until there is a single winner. Example: the cards played are Ace-Ace-King-King. The players of the two Aces put them aside and play a King and a Jack. There is now a tie between the three Kings: the players of these cards put them aside and play a Queen, a Jack and a Five. The player of the Queen wins the four finally played cards (Q, J, J, 5). The players involved in the ties take the Kings and Aces they tried to play back into their hands.

[A rule is needed to cover the case where a player runs out of cards while resolving a tie. I suggest a player who has no more cards other than the ones already put aside should take no further part in the trick, which will then be resolved between the remaining players.]

As players run out of cards they drop out and the player who ends with all the cards wins the round.

The inventor states that three rounds and the overall winner is the player who wins the most rounds. Since three different players might win one round each, a better rule might be continue until one player has won two rounds and declare that player the overall winner.

Last updated: 2nd February 2023