Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Play Eleusis


For example, with the start card the 10, dealer's rule must somehow incorporate the rank and suit of the card. Perhaps the dealer might create this rule:
For example, with the start card the 10, dealer's rule must somehow incorporate the rank and suit of the card. Perhaps the dealer might create this rule:

Over four decades ago, Robert Abbott developed this unusual card game. Nowadays, other versions exist, but this one, close to the original, is one of the most inviting. Here's how to play:

Number of players: At least three

Object: To get rid of as many cards as you can by discovering the rule of play governing the hand.

The cards: A regular 52-card deck.

To play: Dealer turns the top card up as a starter, then deals the entire pack out to the other players -- dealer gets no cards. Dealer now writes down a secret rule of play, simple or complicated, guiding the cards players may legally discard from their hand onto the starter pile. Dealer puts the secret rule out of sight until the end of the hand.

At your turn, you must play at least one card on the discard pile. Dealer says, "Right," if your play follows the rule. Then the next player goes. However, if your play is illegal, dealer says, "Wrong," and you must pick up the all of the cards in the discard pile and place them face up in front of you. These cards will become part of your hand on your next turn.

For example, with the start card the 10, dealer's rule must somehow incorporate the rank and suit of the card. Perhaps the dealer might create this rule:

  • if the card is even and red, play a heart
  • if the card is even and black, play a diamond
  • if the card is odd and red, play a spade
  • if the card is odd and black, play a club (jack and king are considered odd, queen is even)

Tips: Since as dealer you get your best score when one player figures out the rule and can get way ahead of the other players, use your judgment of the other players to design a rule one of them may figure out more quickly than the others.

Here are two examples of rules you can use: (1) If the card is a diamond, play any other suit; if the card is a club, play a red card; if the card is a spade, play a black card; if the card is a heart, play a card of the same rank. (2) If the sum of the last two cards played is 2-8, play a spade; if the sum of the cards is 9-12 play a club; if the sum is 13-16 play a diamond; if the sum is 17 or more, play a heart (picture cards count 10, Ace = 1).

©Publications International, Ltd.