HomeContributions7 Classic Game Variations You Might Never Have Heard Of

7 Classic Game Variations You Might Never Have Heard Of

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This article was contributed by Ghulam Murtaza who works as a freelance tech, gaming, and gadget review writer at SEO on Power.

Gaming has come a long way since the early days of Pong and Pac-Man. Over the years, countless innovations and advancements have transformed the industry, captivating millions of players worldwide. However, amidst the sea of popular mainstream games, a treasure trove of lesser-known yet equally captivating game variations often goes unnoticed. These hidden gems offer unique gameplay experiences that have stood the test of time, waiting to be discovered by curious players seeking something new and exciting. In this article, we delve into the world of classic game variations that have largely flown under thAe radar. So, let's begin. 

Hearts 

While you may be familiar with the vital organ known as the heart, have you ever encountered a game that captures the essence of true hearts? Enter Hearts, a classic card game, that has charmed players for generations with its spellbinding gameplay and emotional intensity. As the inaugural entry on our list of seven overlooked game variations, Hearts stands as a timeless gem that continues to enrapture players of all ages. With its objective of skillfully avoiding penalty points and its intricate mechanics, Hearts offers a captivating experience that tugs at heartstrings. Here are some of the variations of hearts you have probably never heard of,

  • Two-Player version: A variation of Hearts designed for two players. Each player is dealt 13 cards, and a dummy hand represents the missing players. The objective is to avoid collecting hearts and the Queen of Spades.
  • Three-Player version: This is a variation of Hearts for three players. Each player receives 17 cards, and the 2 Diamonds are removed from the deck. The rules remain unchanged, aiming to avoid collecting hearts and the Queen of Spades.
  • Cancellation Hearts: Cancellation Hearts is a version where players try to cancel out the points they earn by collecting hearts and the Queen of Spades. The player with the closest score to zero at the end of the game is declared the winner.

Spades 

Another game on our list is Spades, a captivating trick-taking card game that involves partnerships and strategic gameplay. Played with four players divided into two teams, Spades introduces the concept of bidding, where players estimate the number of tricks their team can win. The objective is to be the first team to reach a predetermined score by winning tricks. What sets Spades apart is the presence of a “trump” suit, adding an extra layer of strategy to the game. Now, let's explore a few intriguing variations of Spades:

  • Blind Spades: In Blind Spades, players are dealt their entire hand face down, relying on memory and deduction skills to determine their strategy throughout the game. 
  • Cutthroat Spades: Cutthroat Spades is a version where it's every player for themselves. Instead of playing in partnerships, each player competes individually, aiming to win as many tricks as possible. 
  • Suicide Spades: Suicide Spades adds a thrilling twist to the game. In this variation, the objective is to avoid winning any tricks containing spades. If a player wins a spade, they are penalized with negative points. 

Solitaire

Solitaire, also known as Patience, is a captivating single-player card game that millions around the world have enjoyed. Unlike traditional card games played with multiple players, Solitaire is played solo, making it a perfect pastime for individuals. The objective of Solitaire is to arrange a deck of cards in a specific layout according to predetermined rules. Now, let's explore a few intriguing variations of Solitaire:

  • Klondike: Klondike is the most well-known and widely played version of Solitaire. It involves building a tableau of cards in descending order of alternating colors while also creating foundation piles in ascending order of suits.
  • Spider Solitaire: Spider Solitaire is a challenging variation that utilizes two decks of cards. The cards are dealt into ten tableau columns, with the aim of arranging them in descending order of the same suit. 
  • FreeCell: FreeCell is a popular Solitaire variation that offers a unique twist. The game involves arranging cards into foundation piles in ascending order but with the added advantage of having four free cells to temporarily store cards and strategically plan moves.

Cribbage 

Cribbage is a captivating card game that combines strategy, skill, and a touch of luck. Sir John Suckling, a 17th-century poet and game enthusiast, invented it. Its unique scoring system sets cribbage apart, which involves pegging points on a wooden board. The game is typically played by two players (sometimes with teams) and involves forming combinations of cards to score points. Cribbage has a rich history and continues to be enjoyed by players worldwide, both in traditional and digital formats. 

  • Three-Player Cribbage: This variation of cribbage is played by three players instead of the usual two. The gameplay remains similar, but there are slight differences in dealing and discarding. 
  • Captain's Cribbage: In Captain's Cribbage, two teams of two players each compete against each other. The game is played with six-card hands, and each player discards two cards to the crib.
  • Muggins: Muggins is a cribbage variation that introduces an additional rule for scoring. In traditional cribbage, the opponent can claim those missed points if a player fails to score points during the play or pegging phase. This rule is called “Muggins.” 

Gin Rummy 

Gin Rummy is a classic two-player card game that originated in the early 1900s. It is a variation of the popular Rummy family of games and is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. The objective of Gin Rummy is to be the first player to reach a predetermined number of points by forming sets and runs of cards in your hand. Here are three variations of Gin Rummy:

  • Oklahoma Gin: Oklahoma Gin is a variation where the objective is to reach a specific number of points before the opponent. The game is played similarly to Gin Rummy, but instead of a fixed number of rounds, players accumulate points throughout the game.
  • Straight Gin: In straight gin, players cannot lay off any cards onto their opponent's combinations when they knock.
  • Gin Rummy 500: Gin Rummy 500 is a variation that introduces a different scoring system. Players aim to reach a total score of 500 points. The player who knocks can earn bonus points based on the value of unmatched cards in their opponent's hand. 

Euchre

First things first, euchre is not your average run-of-the-mill card game. No, sir! It's a game that demands both skill and strategy, where every decision you make can lead to triumph or send you spiraling down into the depths of defeat. Here's the deal (pun intended): euchre is played with a deck of 24 cards, consisting of the standard cards from 9 to Ace in each suit. But wait, there's a twist! Euchre has its own special hierarchy, where the Jacks of the trump suit reign supreme, followed by the other Jacks of the same color. That means that the Jack of Clubs is more valuable than the Ace of Spades! Mind-blowing, right?

  • McEvoy: The McEvoy variation is a rule modification where if the dealer turns down the upcard (the card revealed after the deal), the dealer must play alone against the other three players. This variation adds an extra level of risk and challenge for the dealer.
  • Farmer's Hand: In this variation, a hand is designated as the “farmer's hand” before the deal. The farmer's hand is the Jack of the suit, which is the same color as the turned-up trump suit. The player who receives the farmer's hand gains additional advantages oF scoring benefits.
  • Picking up the top card: Normally, in euchre, if the dealer turns down the upcard, the dealer can then choose to pick up the top card of the remaining undealt deck as an alternative trump suit. This variation adds an element of unpredictability and strategy to the game.

Oh Hell

Oh, Hell! Now there's a game that's both fun and frustrating at the same time. It's a classic trick-taking card game that has been around for ages. You might also know it by other names like “Blackout,” “Black Maria,” or “Oh Pshaw.” This game requires players to think on their feet, analyze the cards played, and make calculated decisions based on available information. It's a game of predicting, bluffing, and second-guessing your opponents, which adds exciting tension and suspense.

  • Blackout with Jokers: In this variation, two jokers are added to the standard deck, making a total of 54 cards. The jokers are considered the highest-ranked cards, even higher than the trump suit if it's in play. 
  • Clubs (Version 3): In the Clubs variation of Oh, Hell, the objective is to avoid winning any tricks containing cards from the club suit. Each club card won during the round results in penalty points, while other suits are not penalized. 
  • Dealer Picks the Suit: In this variation, the dealer has the power to choose the trump suit for each round. After the bidding phase, the dealer declares the suit to be the trump for that round.

About the author

Ghulam Murtaza is a freelance tech, gaming, and gadget review writer at SEO on Power. He has been writing about tech and everything surrounding it for more than four years. He always had a passion for writing, which gave him a passion for starting writing from a very young age. You can find him reading a good book or a column in his spare time. You can follow him on LinkedIn.

Last Updated on July 20, 2023 11:17 am CEST

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