heart  club  MANAGER  diamond  spade 

Number of Players: Two.

The Deck: 39 cards (strip out any one complete suit).

Object: To win the majority of 11 football "seasons" with an evolving "team".

The Deal: Five cards are dealt to each player. This is the player’s team for the first season. The remainder of the deck forms a face-down stock pile. The top three cards of this pile are turned up to form the next draft.

Glossary: Two to ten in any suit are known as defenders.

Aces and picture cards are known as the strikers.

The Season: Each player simultaneously reveals the contents of their team. The team with the higher value (explained below) wins the season. Ties are split (a match could thus be decided 5½/5½).

Where one player has more defenders in his team than the other, he scores one point for each surplus defender (i.e. if North has four defenders, South three, North scores one point).

Where one player has more strikers in his team than the other, he scores two points for each surplus striker (i.e. if South has two strikers, North one, South scores two points).

In the above example South would win one season (with a majority of two to one).

If a player has three or more defenders or strikers in sequence in the same suit, then if he has a surplus, the points are multiplied by three, six or nine depending on the length of the sequence (i.e. if three of North’s defenders were in sequence in the same suit, and one out of sequence, North would score three points instead of one and duly win the season with a majority of three to two).

Length of meld345
Multiplier3 x6 x9 x

The Draft: After the season is tabulated, the players may retreive their hands, and “draft” new defenders or strikers from the three draft cards to improve their team. The losing player (or the alternate player if the season was halved) picks one card from the three draft cards, and exchanges it with a card from his team. The other player may then do the same, and the players alternate. Drafts may be traded back and forth for as long as necessary, but can only revolve around the three draft cards from that season, and a team cannot exceed five cards.

Once the draft is completed to both player’s satisfaction, the three cards are retired from play in a discard pile, three more cards are turned up from the stock pile to form the next season’s draft, the next season is tabulated, and the draft is claimed again.

To Win: The player who wins the most seasons out of a possible 11 wins the match. No matter how dominant one team may be, there’s always next season!

© Matthew Shields 2005

Last updated: 30th November 2005