Not Enough Thoughts

Four: a small card game

A new, fairly simple betting game. This one is barely tested at all, so it might have some flaws I haven’t seen yet.


Setup

Four can be played with 4–7 players. It might work for three, and would need some modification for 8 or more. It is played with a stripped deck, using Aces through fours and face cards only (28 cards).

Choose the first dealer however you like. After the first game, the winner of the game is the next dealer. Deal four cards face-down to each player.

Play

Four is played in rounds. At the beginning of each round, each player still in the game must place an ante into a pot in front of them. The bet should probably be small: there won’t be too many rounds, so it won’t grow much, but there’s too much luck in Four to bet anything serious on it.

On each round, play starts from the dealer’s left (or the nearest player still in the game), and goes around in order, with the dealer last. There are exactly two moves that can be made:

  1. You can trade one card in your hand with the player of your choice. They choose which card in their hand to trade.

  2. You can go out, placing your hand face-up and leaving the game, if you have a hand containing any of: at least one Ace, at least two twos, at least three threes, or all fours. However, once a player goes out, only higher hands are allowed to go out. So, if someone goes out with twos, only threes or fours are allowed after that.

If a player goes out with fours, the game is over immediately. Otherwise, it continues until a full round passes with no players going out. Remember that all remaining players must add a new ante at the start of each round!

At the end of the game, the last player to go out (with the highest hand) is the winner, and takes the pots of all players remaining in the game. Any players who went out with lower hands keep their pots, and don’t win or lose anything.