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Dallas, Texas, United States

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

One-up Card Game

I invented a road-trip card game for two or more players.  The rules of the game are simple and can be quickly learned by young children.  It is designed for play where there is no table for laying out cards such as playing from passenger seats in a vehicle so there is no draw pile and it does not require shuffling.

Each player starts with their own pack of cards as their hand.  If there is only a single pack of cards to be shared by all of the players, divide the pack between the players by suit colors or suits.  The time to play a game is proportional to the number of cards in a hand so some ranks or suits may be removed from play for a shorter game.

A player may view the card faces in their hand but should keep them hidden from the other players.  At the beginning of a round, each player selects a card from their hand and holds it out with the back of the card facing the other players.  After each player is holding out a card, all players simultaneously flip the cards around to reveal the ranks of the cards.

The player with the card with the highest rank adds all of the cards played that round face down onto their points pile.  If there is a tie for the highest rank, each player adds the card that they played that round to their own points pile, regardless of whether or not they were one of the two or more players that played the cards that tied for the highest rank.  Players may not review the faces of the cards in a points pile from their own points pile or that of another player.  A shirt pocket may be used to hold a points pile where there is no table space so long as the card faces are not showing.

The rounds continue until there are no more cards remaining in the player hands.  The winner of the game is the player with the most cards in their points pile.  Each pack should have a different card design so that the cards can be easily sorted back into their original packs after the game ends.

In some ways, this card game feels like playing the hand game Rock Paper Scissors except that a card can only be played once during a game.  Because of this, a player wants to avoid winning a round by playing a very high ranking card against very low ranking cards.  I named this card game "One-up" based on a winning strategy in which a player guesses the highest rank of the cards that will be played by the other players that round and then selects a card which is just one greater.