Casino and Bullshit: children's card games fun for adults

My mother played many games with her kids, and I’ve followed in her footsteps, especially with my young son who plays chess, backgammon, go, mancala, some pencil-paper games, and at least ten card games including hearts, spades, casino, cribbage, rummy and bullshit.

Casino might be considered a child’s game, but has much scope for skill. We play Royal Casino in which Jacks, Queens, Kings have values 11, 12, 13 respectively; Aces are 1 or 14; Spade Deuce is 2 or 15; and Diamond Ten is 10 or 16. (I looked at the Wikipedia article just now; it seems odd and not in accord with Hoyle’s.) A variation my son and I invented which adds a little extra excitement is that Threes count 3 or 30.
Bullshit (I Doubt It) is also a very good game; it is very easy and requires no “card sense” but has great scope for psychology. You can find several versions of the rules on-line, but ours are different from any of those and, I think, much better. The rules described at Wikipedia are so different from ours I’ll just write ours from scratch, but with the major differences from the usual rules in boldface.

We play with a deck of 52 and four players, though these can be varied.
[li] The objective of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all their cards.[/li][li] The play is most easily described as a succession of “tricks.” The youngest player leads to the first trick; after that whoever won the previous trick leads to the next trick.[/li][li] Leader to a trick can name any rank for play on that trick, and places one or more cards face down in the middle of the table. (They may all be of the named rank, or one or more of them may be lies.)[/li][li] Play continues in clockwise order with each player having three choices:[/li][LIST][li] Pass. You may pass even if you have cards of the named rank.[/li][li] Play one or more cards in the middle face-down on top of the rest of the trick, declaring the number of cards. The rank must be declared to be the same as Leader’s rank though bluffing is permitted.[/li][li] Challenge the most recent play (ignoring any intervening passes). Only the player whose turn it is to play may challenge Upon a challenge, the cards of the most recent play are exposed. If all have the stated rank, challenger takes all the cards in the middle into his hand and challengee leads to the next trick. If any of those cards was a lie, challengee takes up the entire trick and challenger leads to the next trick.[/li][/ul]
[li] Upon three consecutive passes (or N-1) passes when N people play) all of the cards in the trick are set aside uninspected. The last player who played cards leads to the next trick.[/li][li] On each play the player states number of cards and rank, for example “Three Queens.” The player must be truthful about the number of cards laid on the table.[/li][li] Advising the current player whether to challenge or not is unethical, but not unusual since this is a casual party game.[/li][li] A player must respond truthfully when asked how many cards remain in his or her hand. (The youngest player may be exempted.)[/li][/LIST]
The game has much scope for skill and fun. Although there are only four of any rank in the deck, it’s common to see tricks with seven or more cards.

Differences in our Bullshit from other rule sets:
[ul][li] In some rule sets, ranks proceed in order Ace-Deuce-Trey-Four-et cetera. But this makes the game trivial for anyone who can count by N.[/li][li] The major difference between our rules and those found in Hoyle’s or with Google is that players can challenge only in turn. Frankly I don’t know how the other way (anyone can call “challenge”, first to do so is the challenger) works; there would probably be a lot of interesting eye contact.[/li][/ul]

With our rule that only current player can challenge, position at the table is very important. I have no chance to win when my wife is behind me as she always knows when I’m lying. :eek:

I used to like playing Oh Hell (aka Blackout). You need a 52 card deck and four players.

You play thirteen hands. On the first hand, everyone is dealt one card. On the second hand, two cards, and so on to the final hand where everyone is dealt thirteen cards. After the cards are dealt the top card left in the deck is turned over and that suit is trump for the current hand. On the thirteenth hand, there is no extra card and no trump.

After people see their cards and what the trump is, they all write down a bid for the hand. You can bid anything from zero to the number of tricks in the current hand. Once everyone has written a bid, all bids are revealed.

The deal goes around the table and the person to the dealer’s left leads the first card. You can lead any card in your hand. You have to follow suit if you can but you don’t have to play a higher card if you don’t want to. If you have no cards in the suit that’s led, you can play another suit. You don’t have to play trump unless it was the led suit. Aces are high and the other cards rank from two up to the king.

The trick goes to the person who played the highest trump card. If there were no trumps played, it goes to the person who played the highest card in the led suit. The person who won the trick, leads the next card.

When all the cards have been played, count up the tricks you took. You get one point for each trick you took. But you only get to score if you got the exact number of tricks you bid. If you took fewer tricks or more tricks, you score nothing. If you took the number of tricks you bid (including taking no tricks with a bid of zero) you score ten points plus your bid.

The winner is the person who has the highest score after all thirteen hands are played.

This is somewhat similar to Spades, a game (with nothing special about spades :dubious: ) which may be unique to California. Number of players can vary; five is most typical.

In Spades, bids are made out loud in order; the final bidder is restricted in that the total of bids must not sum exactly to the number of cards in a hand. High bidder names trump. (In case of tie, first to announce that bid names trumps.) You score a point for each trick won in any case; but get the ten-point bonus only if the bid is made exactly.

Not Spades. Spades is a different game entirely which is played in partnerships and Spades are fixed trump. (Hence, the name.) And there is no restriction on the number of tricks can be bid. This site gives a good explanation of the rules:

And there’s always wikipedia:

And we always played “Oh, Hell” (AKA “Oh, Pshaw”) with any number of people up to eight. (Though less than four is boring.) And the number of cards dealt each round increases up to the max and then decreases back to one. (With four people, you have 25 rounds total 1, 2, 3…13, 12, 11…1. With five, you max out at 10, so you have 19 rounds. With 6, 8 maximum per hand gives you 15 rounds. With 7, 7 gets you 13. With 8, 6 gets you 11. And the dealer cannot bid so that the sum of bids equals the number of trick available, so having the deal is a disadvantage from that standpoint. Though, you do have the advantage of knowing what other people think they’re going to get.