Idiot’s Delight

While we had fun outside over the school winter break, one of the things we really enjoyed doing inside was playing cards and Trivial Pursuit (yes the 80’s classic board game).  I am very lucky that my kids do not have a constant need for expensive entertainment!  So anyway – Jessica thought we should post the instructions for how to play our game of Idiot’s Delight.  If you have not recently broken out a deck of cards with your family, well, give this one a try.    This card game is a perfect one to move kids from Concentration, Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, Slapjack and War – on toward, Canasta, Pinochle, Pitch, and of course Poker.  Now these instructions are right from Hoyle’s Rules of Games and the actual game we play is listed in the book as Contract Rummy.  There is another game outlined in the book that they call Idiot’s Delight, but Contract Rummy is what we call Idiot’s Delight – so we hope you enjoy!

Object is to form matched sets and is best played with 5-8 people though we enjoy it just fine with 4.
You will need three regular packs of 52 cards shuffled all together including jokers so a total of 158 cards.  In this game Ace can rank high or low.
There are 7 deals with the first 4 giving each player 10 cards and the last three giving each player 12 cards.
Each player must meld to satisfy the contract of matched sets, groups or sequences as follows:
Deal 1 – two groups
Deal 2 – one group and one sequence
Deal 3 – two sequences
Deal 4 – three groups
Deal 5 – two groups and one sequence
Deal 6 – one group and two sequences
Deal 7 – three sequences with a complete hand required

The following instructions are right from the Hoyle’s Rules of Games
The Play.  The play follows the rules of Rummy,k with the following differences:
If the in-turn player does not wish to draw the discard, he must so state; then another player may take it.  If two or more wish it, it goes to the one nearest the left of the in-turn player.  A player who thus obtains the discard out of turn must also draw the top card of the stock, but does not discard, since his play does not constitute a turn.  After the discard is taken (or refused by all) the in-turn player draws from the stock and proceeds with his turn.
A player’s first meld must be the precise melds called for by the contract.  Further, until Deal 7 each meld of the contract must be three cards only, no more.  At his next and all subsequent turns after melding the contract, the player may lay off on any melds, his own and other layers;  he may not meld any new sets of his own.  For Deal 7, the entire hand must be formed into only three sequences, at least one of which must therefore include more than three cards.
The jokers are wild.  A joker may be melded as part of a set, the owner stating its intended rank and suit.  Any other player having a natural card of this rank and suit may later, in turn (and provided that he himself has melded the contract), trade it for the joker.  A joker thus received may be laid off anywhere in the same turn.

When a player gets rid of all the cards in his hand the play ends.  If no one goes out before the stock is exhausted simply shuffle the discard pile and form a new stock.
Once play ends each player counts the value of the cards left in his hand with Ace and Jokers counting for 15 and each face card counting as 10 with the rest being their face value.  The lowest accumulated score at the end of Deal 7 wins.

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