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Gossiper

A two-player card game contributed by Julius the Jules .

One standard 52-card deck is used. Each player, at their turn, turns up the top card of the deck, and then turns over further cards from the deck with the aim of matching it.

Terminology:

  • Bank - the face-down deck from which cards are drawn.
  • Cart - the face-up card which the current player turns up and may try to 'buy'.
  • Stack - the face-up pile onto which the current player flips cards to buy the card in the Cart.
  • Bill - the cards in the Stack.
  • Bill Pile - the pile of cards won by each player, made up of cards obtained during the game from the Stack and the Cart

Objective: To be the player who captures the most Bills.

Preparation: One player shuffles the deck and stacks it face down to form the Bank. Decide by any convenient method who will play first.

Play: To begin their turn a player first flips the top card of the Bank and places it face up beside the Bank. This is the Cart, and the player may attempt to buy the card in the Cart by flipping cards from the Bank face up onto the Stack. The maximum number of cards that can be flipped onto the Stack is determined by the card in the Cart as follows:

Card in Cart Maximum number of cards in Stack
Ace: one card only
2-10: up to the face value of the card in the Cart
Jack, Queen, King: up to ten cards

If the player flips a card onto the Stack that is equal in rank to the card in the Cart, the player immediately buys the Cart card. The Cart card and all the cards in the Stack are placed face down in the player's Bill Pile. Note that 10's Jacks, Queens and Kings don't match each other for the purpose of buying, even though they all allow up to 10 cards to be flipped. To buy a Jack you need to flip another Jack, not a Ten, Queen or King.

If the player flips the maximum allowed number of cards or the Bank runs out of cards and the player has not matched the card in the Cart, the Cart card goes to the opponent's Bill Pile along with all the cards in the Stack.

Also, if a player decides they do not want to buy the card in the Cart, they can forfeit it and the Cart card and any cards already placed in the Stack go to the opponent's Bill Pile. A player may decide on seeing the Cart card that they do not want to try to buy it and forfeit it immediately, in which case there is nothing in the Stack and it is just the Cart that card goes to the opponent's Bill Pile.

After a player has bought the Cart card or failed to buy it or forfeited it, it is the other player's turn to flip a card into the Cart which they may try to buy in the same way.

When the Bank runs out of cards, each player counts the number of cards in their Bill Pile and the player with more cards is the winner, known as the Gossiper.

Notes on Tactics [by the editor]

  1. The only decision in this game is whether to try to buy the card in the Cart or give it to your opponent. It is best to make this decision as soon as you see your Cart card. Flipping a few cards and then giving up is always a mistake - if you are not prepared to go all the way, give up at once so that your opponent only scores one card in their Bill pile.
  2. This is largely a game of memory. To estimate whether it is worth trying to buy a Cart card you need to know how many matching cards are left in the deck. Therefore you need to keep count of how many cards of each rank have already gone - especially the higher cards which are more attractive to buy.
  3. At the start of a game it is not worth trying to buy any cards. Even if the first card is a 10-value card, say a Queen, you have only about an even chance of flipping a second Queen within the ten cards you are allowed. If you succeed, you win on average 6 or 7 cards including the Queen, while if you fail your opponent gets 11 cards. It's better just to give the Queen to your opponent. As the game goes on the odds of buying a previously unseen card gradually improve. After you have seen 10 or more cards, if you get a 10-value card in your Cart - say a Jack - and this is the first Jack that has appeared - then there are three Jacks left in the Bank and the odds are just about good enough to make it worth trying to buy the Cart.
  4. The decision whether to buy or not is also influenced by the state of the Bill Piles. If you have more cards in your Bill Pile than your opponent it's not worth straining to buy a marginal card. If neither of you buys anying for the rest of the game and you just keep giving away your Cart cards you will keep your lead and win. So unless you have a really attractive Cart, just throw the card to your opponent and keep the pressure on them to make a purchase, hopefully an unwise one.

JM

Home Page > Invented Games > Gossiper
Last updated: 25th June 2020

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