Well, Christmas has come and gone, and included a rather good Christmas dinner. We passed xmas with new friends and old, including a couple of Londoners, New Yorkers, a Kiwi and a Chicagan. We have now got around to actually booking our trek to Machu Pichu and will finally arrive at the top on the 3rd of January. We spend most or days at the moment ambling around buying bits and bobs like gloves and water purification tablets and sitting around in coffee shops and bars playing our favourite card game – shithead.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with the game, it is typically English in that the most important aspect of the game is who loses, rather than who wins – hence, “shithead”. Tim and I now have a rather refined version of the game, vastly complicated, and which we teach to most people we come across. Tim and I have now been known to play for hours at a single sitting, and as a result have a “three times shithead = buys the beers” rule. The rules are something as follows:
Three cards are deal to each player’s hand, then another three card face down and which the player is not allowed to see. Three more cards are placed face up on the blind cards. The player is then able to exchange any of the three cards in their hand with those face up in front of them. The point of the game is purely to get rid of your cards and not be the last to do so. The person with cards left at the end of the game is “shithead”. Play in general starts clockwise and players must play the same value card or higher unless a “special” card is played. If you cannot play, then you must pick up the pack of cards that players have discarded. Ace is high. Player must always maintain at least three cards in hand, until the deck runs out. Penalty for not having three cards in hand (i.e. you forgot to pick up after playing a card(s)) is to pick up the entire discarded pack. Players who forget to do this may pick up quietly if no one else notices, but if it is pointed out by another player (how many cards do you have in your hand mate?) then the penalty must be fulfilled. Youy continue to pick up cards from the deck until the deck runs out. Once the cards in hand are finished you play the cards that are face up that everyone can see (and can screw you over with so make sure they are good – high or special “play at any time cards” – see below). once those have been played the blind cards are played and they are played blind. You do not have to present the card to the other players. If you cannot play your card you must pick up the discarded pile. If you can play it then lucky you – place it on top and thank the god of luck and grin at everyone else!
Special cards are defined as those that can be played at any time, and those that must be played in order (i.e. in ascending value). Suits in shithead mean nothing.
10: Can be played at any time. Burns the discarded pack (those cards are no longer in that game) and the player gets to play another card.
2: Resets the discarded pack back down to 2. Can be played at any time.
3: Can be played at any time and is “invisible”. The player following the 3 must play from the card below it.
7: Must be played in order (i.e. the card it is played on must be another 7 or lower). The player of this card can nominate whether the next player must play higher or lower. N.B. A 3 passes this onto the next player, another seven can also be played and higher and lower re-nominated.
8: Must be played in order. Reverses direction of play. With two players, one 8 played just means you get another go when you play it. With three or more players two 8’s means you get another go after you play it.
9: Must be played in order (i.e. on another 9 or a lower card). This means you must play another 9 or lower. N.B. Is often played with two eights and then the 9 as one go!
Joker: Is a wild card. Can be played at any time, and the player can nominate it to be any card you want, special or otherwise. Is often played as a 10, but sometimes towards the end of the game is played as 7’s or Aces.
Special Timbo and Ben rules: At any time 4 of a kind acts like a 10. The discarded pack gets burnt and another card can be played by that player. Also if you have the ability to complete four of a kind (no 3’s in between mind you), you can throw in swiftly at ANY time. You need to be quick though. If you play a card and on picking up you have the same value card, you can quickly discard it, but this must be before the proceeding player gets their own card down. You do not have to play a card and have the right to pick up the discarded pile if you want to. This is sometimes down for strategic reasons. These extra rules are designed so that a) the game is really fast, and b) especially with 7’s and 9’s, you end up card counting.
More than 5 players really requires 2 decks and gets really interesting.
Well that’s what we spend our days doing. We have a couple of other card games but none of them really compare to the addictiveness of shithead!