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Pips: Original Playing Card and Dice Games


Players:  2
Average Duration: 15-20 minutes
*  1 deck of cards
*  3 dice
Object: To be the first player to complete one column of four cards, two columns of five cards, and one column of six cards.

The Deal

Scoundrel is a game played with cards and dice. At the start of the game, seven cards are dealt to each player, which comprise the players' hands. Next, four cards are dealt face up to each player. Each of these cards is the base card in a column. Each player's four columns are placed back-to-back with the columns of his opponent. The remaining cards are placed in a stock pile to the side, where both players can access it.

The following diagram is an example of what the board might look like after the initial deal:

One Player's Columns: 
The Other Player's Columns: 

In the course of play, players will build on their columns. The following is an example of a game in progress:

One Player's Columns: 

The Other Player's Columns: 

A column pair consists of two back-to-back columns, one owned by each player. In the above example, the aces and the two (comprising one column) and the ten and four (comprising another column) make up a column pair.

The Play

For each turn of the game, one player is designated the roller and one player is designated the non-roller. On the first turn, the dealer is the non-roller.

Each turn consists of the following four steps:

  1. The roller rolls and places the dice.
  2. The non-roller plays cards to the columns.
  3. The roller plays cards to the columns.
  4. Both players replenish their cards.

The roller starts by rolling three dice. After they are rolled, he places the dice between each of three opposing pairs of columns, with one pair of opposing columns having no die. He may place each die between any column pair of his choosing. For example, if he rolls a one, a three, and a four, the following diagram shows one way he might choose to place them:

One Player's Columns: 

The Other Player's Columns: 

After the roller has placed the dice, the other player may play cards to the board. The rules for playing to the board are as follows:

If a player runs out of cards in a single turn, he draws seven more cards from the stock pile and continues playing if he wishes and is able to do so.

The object of the game is to fill your own columns such that one has at least four cards, two have at least five cards, and one has at least six cards. Once a column has at least four cards on it, the player may, if he chooses, designate the column as "finished" by turning the last card sideways. Finished columns are locked in place: they cannot be built up further, nor can they be stolen. You aren't allowed to finish more than one four-card column, more than two five-card columns, or more than one six-card column. The following is an example of a game in progress where each player has designated two of his columns as finished:

One Player's Columns: 

The Other Player's Columns: 

The moment a player finishes all four columns, he wins the game.

It is perfectly ok to build a four- or five-card column and not decide to finish it until later (keeping the option open to build it up to a longer column at a later time): a player may, during his turn to play cards, simply turn the last card of such a column sideways, belatedly declaring it finished. Until it is declared finished, of course, it is vulnerable to being stolen.

After the non-roller has played as many cards as he chooses to play (obeying the constraints indicated by the dice, of course), then the roller gets to play cards according to the same rules.

After the roller is done, the round is over: players replenish their cards from the stock pile, alternating drawing cards, starting with the non-roller, until each player has seven cards in his hand again. When the stock pile runs out, all cards from stolen columns are reshuffled to replenish it. In the new round, the non-roller becomes the roller, and vice versa. The new roller rolls the dice to begin the next turn; play continues in this manner until someone wins.

When both columns in a pair have been finished, one die is removed from the game, and thenceforth it is illegal to place a die between this column pair. For example, the diagram given above, both columns in the leftmost column pair are finished. So, on the next turn, only two dice will be rolled, and they must be placed between two of the three remaining column pairs.

If the game gets down to just one unfinished column pair, one die will still be rolled, but there won't be a choice about where to place it.

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