A Card Game: Traffic

I made up a little card game on the way in to work the other day. I call it Traffic. It’s a pretty fast and simple game to play. I think you’d need at least 3 players, but 4 seems to be optimal.  And if you had 2 card decks, you could probably do up to 8 easily.

So here’s how you play:

The Goal

  • The goal of the game is to be the first to reach a predetermined score, like 10 or 25.
  • One game consists of however many plays are needed for somebody to get to that score.

The Set Up

  • Each player receives the a suit from a normal deck of cards: hearts, diamonds, spades or cloves. Their hand consists of the first cards up to one less than the number of players. So if there are 4 players, each player needs the first 3 cards of their suit.
  • Players keep the card faces hidden, and should not put them in order. They may also want to shuffle them around between each play.

The Play

  • Each player chooses a single card from their hand and places it face down in front of them.
  • When every player has placed a card in front of them, everybody together turns the cards over, and the play is scored.

Scoring

  • Each person is scored according to the card they played.
  • The score for each card is its face value. So, 3♥ is worth 3 points.
  • Each card’s score is reduced by 1 for each person besides the first to play that same value card. So, if Mr. Orange plays 3♥ and Mr. Pink plays 3♠, both scores are 2.
  • Scores don’t go negative. So, if there are 4 players and all for play a 2, the score four all 4 is 0, not -1.

Examples

  • 4 players: Gordie plays 3♠, Vern plays 1♥, Chris plays 2♣, Teddy plays 3♦. Scores are Gordie: 2, Vern: 1, Chris: 2, Teddy: 2.
  • 4 players: Gordie plays 2♠, Vern plays 1♥, Chris plays 2♣, Teddy plays 2♦. Scores are Gordie: 0, Vern: 1, Chris: 0, Teddy: 0.
  • 4 players: Gordie plays 3♠, Vern plays 1♥, Chris plays 3♣, Teddy plays 2♦. Scores are Gordie: 2, Vern: 1, Chris: 2, Teddy: 2.
  • 4 players: Gordie plays 3♠, Vern plays 2♥, Chris plays 2♣, Teddy plays 1♦. Scores are Gordie: 3, Vern: 1, Chris: 1, Teddy: 1.

As an alternative to sitting around playing this game with friends, chatting it up and imbibing your favorite beverage, you could go sit in rush hour traffic and watch everybody try to squeeze into whichever lane looked like it might be moving a bit faster.

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