High Card Low Card
Contributed by Chris Eversman
3 – 13
If the number of players is X, a set of cards numbered from 1 to X for each player. So for example 6 players use 36 cards, 6 for each player. The required cards can be made from the low cards of standard 52-card, decks counting the Ace as 1. One deck is needed for every 4 players in the game. Suits are irrelevant. A pen, and paper are needed for scoring.
Each player is given a set of cards from 1 to X where X is the number of players. Each player uses his or her set of cards throughout the entire game, and never exchanges or discards any card.
A round of play consists of each player selecting any one card from his or her hand, which is kept secret from the other players, and placing the card face down in front of him or her. Once every player places down a card, everyone flips over the face down cards to reveal their values, the round is scored, and then the cards are returned to the hands and another round is played.
A player may score 3, 2, 1, 0, or –1 points during a round. A player scores –1 points if he or she reveals a card of the same value as another player (these equivalent cards are henceforth referred to as matching cards). A player scores 1 point if he or she reveals the lowest valued card (Aces are low) after all matching cards are discounted. A player scores 2 points if he or she reveals the highest valued card after all matching cards are discounted. A player scores 3 points if he or she reveals the only card in the round that does not have the same value as another card. A player scores 0 points if none of the prior scoring situations apply.
Players agree on the winning target score before the game begins. Usually the target score is 10, 20, or 30.
Examples of scoring a round:
Five-player game. The following cards are revealed during one round of play:
Player A: Ace
Player B: 4
Player C: 5
Player D: Ace
Player E: 2
Players A and D score –1 each for playing matching cards. Player C scores 2 points for high card. Player E scores 1 point for low card (after the matching Aces are discounted). Player B scores no points.
Four player game. The following cards are revealed:
Player A: 4
Player B: 4
Player C: Ace
Player D: 3
Players A and B score –1 each for playing the same card. Player C scores 1 point for low card. Player D scores 2 points for high card (after the matching 4s are discounted).
Six player game. The following cards are revealed:
Player A: 6
Player B: Ace
Player C: 4
Player D: 6
Player E: 6
Player F: Ace
Player C scores 3 points for playing the only card that doesn’t have an equal. All other players score –1 for playing a card that matches at least one other player’s.