Are there any games designed for EXACTLY three players?

Any format - card game, board game, video game, athletics, whatever. There are plenty of one and two player games, games that allow a variable number of players, games for teams of two or more, but are there any games that specifically pit three players against each other?

Monkey in the middle?

Skat? (German trick taking card game. Can be played with four, but one sitting out.) Ulti (Hungarian trick taking card game). There’s a number of other card games that are three players. Oh, 1000 (various forms played throughout Central and Eastern Europe.)

I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s when you throw a ball back and forth to another person and then your younger brother is in the middle trying to get the ball but you keep throwing it over his head.

Yep, this Wikipedia list is three player cards games, some of which are designed only for three players. Ombre is another one that’s designed for three.

Isn’t contract bridge technically a three-person game, with one player sitting out each round?

Two competing pairs of players bidding and communicating before the playing of cards begin are integral to the game, so no.

Or to put it a different way if four people agree to meet to play bridge, and one of them is a no-show, the three remaining players are unlikely to sit down and make do. I think “there has to be four players” disqualifies it as a three-person game.

9-5-2 (called 3-5-8 in that list) is the one I’m familiar with.

I ended up learning Skat years back when we had a fairly hardcore group of card players who liked trick/trump card games with bidding, but couldn’t consistently find a fourth for most games of this style.

But isn’t one player the Dummy in each round, effectively making it three-handed play?

In tennis, there’s Canadian Doubles. Also, Australian Doubles.

Three players only. Or, put another way, it’s a way to play tennis when you have three players - too many for singles, not enough for doubles.

But the names (Canadian Doubles, Australian Doubles) are specific to three and only three tennis players.

The computer game Trine and its sequels can be played with one or two players, but it’s designed primarily for cooperative play with three players (so much so that buying it gives you three copies, two of which you can give away to friends).

I’ve also heard of a game similar to rock-paper-scissors, designed for three players, but I can’t remember its name: Each of the three players simultaneously extends from one to four fingers. The winner is resolved according to three rules:
If all three players throw the same number (only a 1 in 16 chance), then the game is a tie. Re-play until it’s not a tie.
If two players throw the same number but one is different, the odd player out is the winner.
If all three players throw different numbers, then the winner is the one that’s one less than the missing number (counted cyclically). Thus, for instance, if the throws are 1-3-4, then the 1 player wins (1 less than the missing 2), and if the throws are 2-3-4, then the 4 player wins (being cyclically 1 less than the missing 1).


Yes, but it’s not a three player game.

It’s a variation, but you can play cribbage three-handed.

Cutthroat euchre.

Yep. I was going to suggest this one. There are 3-track Cribbage boards available, even.

The dealer deals 5 cards to each player and then the 16th card is dealt to the crib. Each player will drop one card into the crib. The cut occurs, the eldest hand starts the count and play proceeds as in the two-player variant (with the play passing counter-clockwise as is typical for games with more than two players). Go is scored by the last player to play, just as in the two-player version. The scoring of the hand begins with the eldest hand, passes to the second-eldest hand, and the dealer scores last with his hand and the crib, just as in the two-player version. Deal passes to the right afterwards.

There are also 4 and 6 player versions of cribbage. In four player, you play in teams of two, each player receiving 5 cards and sending one to the crib. In 6-player, you play in 3 teams of two, with the dealer and his partner only being given 4 cards, and the other four players being given 5. The crib is determined by the those other four players.

Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.

Right, which is why three-handed bridge would be a good answer, so long as we’re considering it its own game separate from normal bridge (which I would).