Super Crazy Eights For Two
by Donald G. Keller and Michael Keller
a two-handed adaptation of a folk game
The basic game, including basic strategy, was described in WGR 2, pages 28-31. The
two-handed version, including the story of its development, was described in WGR12, pages
Rules for the standard multi-player game:
(1) One standard deck of 52 cards is used, without jokers. For five or more players, two decks are recommended. The game consists of fifteen deals, beginning with each player receiving eight cards, reducing by one each deal to one card per hand, then increasing by one card each deal until each receives eight cards again.
(2) The top card of the stock is turned over to begin the play pile. Normally play begins clockwise, and the hand to the dealer's left plays first, but the face-up card is treated as a card played by the dealer, and A's, 2's, 3's, and 8's have special effects:
If the face-up card is an ace, the hand to dealer's right begins, and play proceeds anticlockwise.
If the face-up card is a two, the hand to dealer's left must draw two cards or play a two.
If the face-up card is a three, the dealer's dummy hand plays first (skipping the hand to dealer's left but still moving clockwise).
If the face-up card is an eight, the hand to dealer's left may play any card (in this case it is the player to play next, not the dealer, who chooses the suit after a wild card).
(3) Each player in turn has to play a card of the same suit or rank as the face-up card, or play an eight (wild card). After playing a wild card, the player names a suit. The next player must play a card of that suit or another eight.
(4) When a player cannot play, he draws one card and loses his turn, even if the card drawn allows him to play. A player may choose to draw a card instead of playing, even when he can play.
(5) A player playing the next-to-last card from her hand must announce "last card" or "one card" before the next player has played. If she fails to do so, she must draw one card next turn even if she could go out (twos carry the usual penalty).
(6) When a 2 is played, the next player must draw two cards and lose his turn, unless he plays another 2, in which case the next player must draw four cards, the number of cards increasing by two until someone cannot play a 2 and draws. After someone draws two or more, the next player may play another 2, in which case the count begins at two cards again. A deal may not end with a 2; the next player must cover or draw two. If she covers, the following player must cover or draw four, etc. It is not obligatory to play a 2 when the player before you plays a two; you may draw the required number of cards instead.
(7) When a 3 is played, the next player's turn is skipped. A deal may not end with a 3; the player following the skipped player must play a card or draw one. If he covers with another 3, the player after next must play or draw. If a player goes out with a 2 or 3, and the extended play returns to him by a series of 2's and/or 3's being played (e.g. a player goes out with a 3 in a four-handed game, and the player across from him covers with a 3), he must draw and the deal continues. Note that 2's and 3's are played just like any card, following suit or rank.
(8) When an ace is played, the direction of play (clockwise or anticlockwise) reverses, so that the previous player plays again. The new direction continues until another ace is played, which reverses the direction again. A deal may end in an ace; it need not and cannot be covered.
(9) Each deal ends when one or more players play all of their cards. Each player scores the total value of all of the cards left in her hand. Face cards count 10, 2's count 20, 8's count 50, and all other cards count spot value (ace counts 1, three counts 3, etc.). The winner is the player with the lowest score after 15 deals.
(10) If the stock is exhausted, the latest card played is left to start a new play pile, and the remaining cards played are shuffled to form a new stock. There is no penalty for being the first player to draw from the new stock.
Additional rules for the two-player version:
(11) Players sit in adjacent positions (South and West). On each deal, two hands are dealt to each player: one concealed hand at the position she is sitting, and one face-up (dummy) hand across from her concealed hand. The dummy hands will be at North and West regardless of who is dealing. After each pair of deals, players exchange positions.
(12) The exposed North dummy is controlled by the player sitting South, and the exposed East dummy by the player sitting West. Any legal card may be played from a dummy hand, but dummy may not draw a card instead of playing (or draw two or more cards instead of playing another two) if a legal play is available, except to avoid going out: when reduced to one card, a dummy hand may draw instead of going out, at the controlling player's option.
(12) The call of "last card" or "one card" is obligatory for a closed hand. The same call should be made out of courtesy for a dummy hand, but no penalty is given for failing to make the call.
(13) When any of the four hands goes out, the deal ends (after 2's and 3's are covered as usual). If a dummy hand goes out, all points in the remaining three hands count against their controlling players. If a concealed hand goes out, the opponent may choose to count all three remaining hands, or to count either of his own hands against him, and nothing against the player who went out. If more than one hand goes out by means of extended play (playing on 2's and 3's after one hand has gone out), all remaining hands count against their owners.
[copyright 2005 by Michael Keller]
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