The 52 Card Games project is my first 52 Weeks project. I love card games, and I love learning new games and playing the games I love. For this project, I’m documenting a new card game each Friday. In case you’ve missed any of the first six games, check out all of the previous 52 CARD GAMES.
Happy Valentine’s Day, loversssss! I’ve got a great game for you to play with your sweetheart this weekend. Woo! This is my first brand new learned game of the project. Cucumber is apparently played in several North European countries and was popular with students in the 1970’s and 1980’s. This is a very fun but challenging trick taking game. I can’t wait to play this with a larger group, but it did take a bit of research to understand it. In order to learn the game and pull these rules together, I had to read five different descriptions of the rules! Hopefully, these are pretty straightforward, but please let me know if you have questions.
The Goal of the game is to the be the last player standing. The game is played in rounds. Each round consists of 7 tricks. The winner of the last trick incurs penalty points. The first player to score 21 penalty points, receives a “Cucumber.” After a player gets two Cucumbers, they are out of the game.
A round starts when the dealer deals seven cards to each player. Starting to the left of the dealer, cards should be dealt clockwise. The remaining cards are set aside and won’t be used during the round.
Seven tricks are played in each round. Players place their cards in front of themselves face up. The cards stay there throughout the round, and any player may look back at the cards played in previous tricks. The player to the left of the dealer starts the first trick. The winner of each trick starts out the following trick.
Once the first card is played in a trick, the following players go clockwise and lay a card. The first card played in the trick is the player’s choice. Once the first card of a trick has been played, the following players must play either:
1) a card that is either the same rank or higher than the highest card played so far in the trick or 2) the lowest remaining card in their hand.
Winning a trick: The highest ranking card wins the trick. If there are more than one of these cards (two fives for example), the last one played wins the trick. The player who wins the trick, leads the play in the next trick.
Scoring: The trick of the game is that the player who wins the seventh trick in the round loses the round and incurs penalty points depending on the winner card’s rank (A=14, K=13, Q=12, J=11, 10=10, 9=9, etc). When a player’s score reaches 21, he or she receives a cucumber (or loses a life).
The player is then reincarnated with the same score as the highest score of any other player. So if player A has 6 points, player B has 10 points, and player C has 14 points, the reincarnated player would come back starting with 14 points. When a player acquires two cucumbers (reaching 21 points the 2nd time), the player is eliminated.
Bonus Points: In the 7th trick of the round, if any other players play a card of the same rank as the card that won the trick (and lost the round), those players are awarded a bonus of the same size as the penalty points incurred by the loser. Players deduct the bonus from their score.
For example, if in the last trick of the game, the cards are played, 4, 6, 7, 7, 6 in that order, the third player would deduct 7 points from their score as a bonus and the fourth player would add 7 points to their score as their penalty. Bonuses can’t lower a score below zero or below a cucumber and a zero. Bonuses are deducted only after the loser’s score is added.
Ending the Game
The last player standing wins!
What do you think? Sound fun? Any questions about the rules? Has anyone ever played Cucumber before?
Play on, players!
In case you missed it, Not Merely Living’s Birthday was yesterday, and we’ve got a sweet Poco Dolce Chocolate Basket Giveaway open until Monday. Don’t miss your chance to win!