Friday, March 03, 2006

Spit or Speed and Other Such Nonsense

My daughter Tal insists that she hasn't yet beat me at Spit, even though I remember her beating me the last time. So she still "has" to play me so that she can eventually beat me at it.

I know I'm slowing down, but I still managed to win again. Some day I will lose consistently and then I'll be an old dried up little man lying on the beach where bullies kick packs of cards into my face.

Tal has this to say about the two different versions of Spit/Speed she plays:

Name: Spit. She calls it Speed.


I (Yehuda) learned the standard (?) American version with 5 piles of 1 to 5 cards, top one open. If you have duplicates, you can double up and open more cards, so long as you have no more than 5 piles at a time. Each player calls Spit and opens a card. Players try to put cards as fast as they can onto either of the middle piles. They can only place cards 1 up or 1 down from the top card of the pile. When the open card(s) on top of a pile are placed, the unopened one below is turned up.

Play is one handed. The other hand has to hold the deck. Cards go up or down and wrap around from King to Ace or vice versa. When one player is out, he or she takes whichever pile he or she wants. The player wants the smaller pile, but has to estimate by eyeballing; s/he can't count or feel the cards.

Tal and her friends play this version with the following changes: You can feed the piles after "Spit" with the other hand. First person to slap after one player goes out gets the pile they slap. If you have two or less cards to play, you can hold them in your hand.

Then there's Chinese Speed: 4 open piles of one card each in front of each player. Every time you play a card to a pile you open back up to 4 piles in front of you. When you finish your deck, you can pick up the cards you have left to play (or the players can decide on a number of cards at which you can pick up). If there are no cards left to Speed from either player, then you mix the piles separately, turn them upside down and open from them. First player to slap a pile gets it after one goes out.

Other card games she plays:

- A game of which she doesn't know the name: Each player lays down 4 cards upside down, looks at two and returns them face down. The point of the game is to have the lowest hand. 10 is worth 0. Ace is 1. J, Q, or K are losing cards unless they cancel out with your opponent. Each round you draw a card, look at it, and replace one of your own or discard it. You can't look at the card you replaced.

If you pull a J, you can swap a card with your opponent (unseen). If you pull a Q, you can look at one of your cards. If you pull a K, you can pull two more. When you feel like it, you can call "Stop" before taking your turn. No points; each game is separate.

- Another game she doesn't know the name, but plays just like "8 1/2": 4 cards face down. Pull 8 cards and put down 8's, 3's, 7's, and 10's, and then your highest cards until you have put 4 face up cards on your face down cards. You leave these piles until the game nears its end.

The player with the lowest card in their hand starts. Each player places a higher card (multiple of the same, if they have) onto the middle pile and picks back up to 4 cards. The Magic cards (3,7,8,10) can be put onto any cards and have special meanings: 8's are "invisible" which means that the next card still has to be higher than the previous card. 3's you can place along with any additional card. 10's burn the pile, which gets tossed out, and you go again. And with 7's, your opponent's next card must be lower. Once 4 cards of the same rank have all been played in a pile, the pile is burnt (discarded).

If you can't put, you have to pick up the pile into your hand. When all cards are gone from your hand and deck, you play cards from your face up pile. When they are gone, you play them randomly from your face down cards. First player out wins.

Not a strategy game.

I won't bother with the other games, because they contain no choices. To paraphrase Bill Cosby, this is called "having a good time".

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