Card Games: Reverse Games

These are point trick games in which the aim is to avoid taking card points. Some of these are the reverse of existing positive point trick games, for example:

There are also reverse games which seem to be purpose built, having no known positive counterpart.

  • Reversis - an ancestor of this group, highly fashionable in the 17th century but now almost forgotten.
  • Hearts - currently the most popular game of this type, in which penalty cards are the hearts and the spade queen, which gives its name to variations such as Black maria.
  • Gong Zhu (Drive Out the Pig) - a more complex version of Hearts, played in China.
  • Lórum - a Slovak game distantly related to the Hugarian compendium game with the same name.
  • Polignac & Knaves - games in which the jacks (knaves) are the penalty cards.
  • Ugly - an Australian variation of Knaves in which the diamond seven doubles penalties but can be cancelled by the club seven.
  • Golden Ten - a Hearts variation using Rook cards.
  • Losing Loadum - a British reverse game from the 16th and 17th centuries, now obsolete, with penalty cards in all suits.

There are also several compendium games which consist of a series of deals played under various rules, many of which are reverse games with penalty points for taking particular cards or tricks. King, Barbu, Kierki and Lora are typical examples.

This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2018. Last updated: 15th February 2018