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Q Squared Joe

A family of games contributed by James aka. QSquared


Q Squared Joe (also known in the abbreviated name of Q2J, or Q2J) was created in 2005 at Harbord Collegiate Institute and has been played in various places in and around Toronto, Ontario. It can be played with two to ten players, and one standard 52-card pack is used. In its basic form it is a shedding type card game, where the object of the game is to get rid of all your cards by discarding your cards one at a time onto a discard pile, according to set rules that are slightly reminiscent of Crazy Eights.

The Q Squared Joe concept

This consists of four simple rules which determine which cards can be played on which. Cards are ranked in value as follows: K (highest) Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 A (lowest). There is no ranking among suits. Using these ranks, the following rules show which cards are "stronger" than others. When adding a card to the top of a pile, only a card that is "stronger" than the current top card can be played.

  1. Different Suit and Higher Number: A higher value card is stronger than a lower value card of a different suit. For example, a J is stronger than a 4 (if the cards are of different suits).
  2. Same Suit and Lower Number: A lower value card is stronger than a higher value card if they are the same suit. For example, club4 is stronger than clubJ, or spade2 is stronger than spade10.
  3. Any ace is stronger than any face card. For example, spadeA is stronger than clubQ.
  4. Same Number: Cards of the same value are equal in strength. Usually using an equal strength card yields a consequence.

Rules of Play

Two to ten players may play. Five cards are dealt to each player one at a time face down, except for each player's fifth card which is dealt face up. The rest of the deck is placed face down at the center of the table to form the stock. The person with the highest face-up card value (regardless of strength) goes first. In case of a tie, the second card is turned over for players involved, and the new cards are judged by value, and so on. All face up cards are then turned face down, and added to each player's hand. The top card of the stock is then turned up to start the discard pile.

In turn, players must discard a stronger card than the card on the top of discard pile onto the discard pile based on the Q Squared Joe concept. When adding a card of equal strength, the consequence is that a card must be drawn from the stock and added to the player's hand. In addition, two other rules have been added.

  1. Q Squared Rule: If a player is in possession of two Queens in their hand, they can play them both at the same time during their turn, as though they were one card. This rule overrides all other rules, and the Queens can be played on top of anything with the exception of a J or another pair of Queens. After two Queens are played in this way, the next player must either play a Jack (Joe) or draw a card. If the player draws, the duty of playing Joe passes to the next player and so on around the table. If everyone draws instead of playing a Joe, then when the turn comes back to the Q squared player, this player may continue with any single card.
  2. Joe Rule: When a player puts the Q Squared rule into effect, the only card that any other player can play on the Queens is a Jack (Joe). After a J is played according to the Joe Rule, play will continue as normal with the next player in turn, the Jack being the top card of the pile.

If a player cannot play a card, or if one wishes not to play a card, he/she must draw a card from the stock. If the stock has run out, the discard pile is turned over and shuffled to start a new stock.

The first player to successfully discard his/her entire hand into the discard pile is considered the winner. However, many games are played with multiple rounds with the last player remaining from each game being eliminated from the next round. This happens until one player remains, and is declared the winner.

Q Squared Joe Variations

Several other games using the Q2J concept have been created to suit the preferences of various players.

Q Squared Joe Classic

This was the original version of Q Squared Joe, but is still played as a simple versionfor newcomers. In this version, only the Q Squared Joe concept applies, and not the Q Squared and Joe rules.

Q Squared Joe Face-up

This version of Q Squared Joe requires less luck and more skill. All the standard rules apply, and a new rule is added. All players' hands are presented face-up, and must remain face-up for the other players to see. This allows for more strategy and thinking in advance.

Q Squared Joe Challenge

A less popular version of Q2J that can only be played with two people. One player is dealt a single card whereas the other is dealt 5; however, the play is exactly the same as in normal Q2J. This game is very challenging for the player with 5 cards, hence the name.

Q Squared Joe Countdown

This version was created when some players thought the game did not last very long. In this version, when a player successfully discards his/her first hand, he/she must draw a new hand with one less card. In the case of the second hand, one must draw a new hand of 4 cards. When this hand is discarded, he or she must draw a new hand of 3 cards and so on. The person who discards the hand of 1 card first wins. This version was based on the Countdown variation of Crazy Eights.

Q Squared Joe War

Q Squared Joe War is the first major overhaul of the Q Squared Joe game. While the other variations provide minimal change to the game, Q Squared Joe War has different rules to create an entirely new game based on the Q Squared Joe concept - this is not a shedding game but a combat game. It is currently more popular than the original Q Squared Joe game.

It uses the same Q2Joe concept like any other Q2Joe variations. The deck is first split into 2 (26 and 26 for each player). Each person then flips their top 5 cards face-up and places them in a row to form their "field". The goal of the game is to take out all of your opponents cards.

Players take alternate turns. The player who goes first is determined by any agreed method, but usually by whoever has the highest raw number value for their first flipped card, if its a tie, then it is determined by the next card and so on.

Each turn, a player has 3 options: Attack, Recover or Draw. A player may not pass a turn.

If you chooses to attack, you tap (or turn sideways) one of your cards and select a target on the opponent's field to attack. Then a winner is determined according to the Q2Joe concept, where the losing card goes to the discard pile. If it is a tie, then both cards are thrown into the discard pile. A player may attack a tapped or untapped card on the opponent's field, but only untapped cards may attack. You may attack an opponent's card if your own card is weaker, but only your card will then be sent to the discard pile.

If you choose to recover, you pick one of your tapped cards, and untap it.

If you choose to draw, you take one card from your deck and put it in your field in untapped position. The maximum field card limit is 5, so if you have 5 cards in your field, you cannot draw and you are forced to either attack or recover, since you cannot pass.

A player who has no cards left on his or her deck of field is declared the loser and the other player wins. If both players lose their last cards at the same time, then the game is considered a tie.

This game can be played with more than 2 players. The deck is divided as equally as possible between them and goes on until only one person has cards remaining.

Q Squared Joe NG

Q Squared Joe NG is another major overhaul of the Q Squared Joe game. The NG stands for New Game, as no formal title has been created for it yet. Q2Joe NG is a much more complex game with many more rules and more flexibility in players' moves. Once again, it is a combat game using the Q2Joe concept.

The game can be played with 2 to 4 people using one deck. More players can be added if you combine sufficent decks so that each player can be dealt 11 cards, leaving a reasonable number of cards in the undealt deck.

There are 4 parts of the setup.

  • The resource pile
  • The hand
  • The deck
  • The field

Each player is dealt 5 cards to their hand, and 5 face down cards on the field, and one face up card in their resource pile. The remaining cards all go to the deck which is available to all players.

The players take turns, and on each turn, a player must choose one of the following five options. Passing one's turn is not allowed.

  1. Draw - draw a card from the deck and put it in their hand
  2. Pick - pick a card from their resource pile and add it to their hand
  3. Defend - take a card from their hand and place it face up on top of ANY card on the field.
  4. Sacrifice - take a card from their own field and add it to their hand. (The card must be the top card, so if there are any defence cards on top of another, only the top defence card may be taken.)
  5. Attack - a player may attack practically anything on the field with a card in their hand. The rules for this may look complex at first sight but are easy in practice. First, a player may only attack with a card in their hand and after each attack, the attacking card either goes into the discard pile (if it loses the battle) or into the player's resource pile (if it wins the battle). There are several targets a player may pick to attack, including their own field, an opponent's hand or any resource pile.
    • Hand - select a random card in your opponent's hand and attack it. If your card is the winner, the opponent's card is sent to the discard pile. If not then their card remains in their hand.
    • Resource pile - this attack is different, due to the fact that the attacking card attacks all cards in the target resource pile simultaneously, but if it loses or ties any one card, it will be sent to the discard pile no matter how many of the others it defeats. The cards that are not defeated remain in the target resource pile, while all other ones are sent to the discard pile. A tie counts as a loss on both sides.
    • Field - This is complex due to the defence cards. When attacking, the attacking card attacks in a chain, so it will attack the top defence card first, and if that remains alive, it will go directly to the next card and so on, until it defeats all the cards or is defeated. Because the original field cards are face down, there is a chance that the card you attack will lose or is unable to defeat it. Once the attacking card is unable to defeat the next card, it is sent to the discard pile, and the surviving card is flipped face up if it is not already face up. If it is a tie, the both cards are sent to the discard pile, and the chain ends. If the attacking card survives past the last card of the resouce pile, it is sent to the resource pile.

Once a player's field is empty, that player is deemed to be eliminated, and when only one player is left, that player is declared the winner.

A much more strategic version of this game is to play with face up cards. All cards - hand, field, and even the whole deck - are revealed to all players and players may look to see what are the next cards in the deck.

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Last updated: 20th August 2008