2–3 Players • Ages 10+ • 10–15 Minutes
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SUSPENSE: THE CARD GAME is a contest of wits, deduction, and cunning! The deck has six white numbered cards 1–6, six black numbered cards 1–6, and one "!" card which is considered a zero. Each card also displays a unique victory condition.
The game is played in a series of matches. Each match is comprised of a series of turns.
In the first match, the youngest player is the dealer. To start each match, the dealer shuffles the cards and evenly deals them out to the players face-down. Players keep cards in hand hidden from other players.
Dealing the cards evenly should leave behind one extra card. The dealer places this secret card face-down in the middle of the play area.
Only the dealer may look at the secret card.
HOW TO PLAY
Each player takes turns, starting with the dealer, clockwise around the play area. On your first turn of a match, you MUST choose one card from your hand and play it face-up in front of you, visible to everyone.
On subsequent turns, do one of the following:
- Play: Choose one card from your hand and play it face-up in front of you, visible to everyone. This card is now said to be in play.
- Pass: Skip your turn. Note: You are still in the game.
END OF MATCH
The match ends if either of the following occurs:
- The sum of the face-up numbers is 15 or higher (in a 2-player game) or 20 or higher (in a 3-player game).
- All players choose to pass. In other words, no one wishes to play any more cards.
- Fold: If you believe that you will not win this match, declare that you fold. Keep your hand of cards hidden.
- The player who meets the secret card’s revealed victory condition wins 2 points. In a tie, both players win 1 point.
- A player who folded and does not meet the revealed victory condition win 1 point.
- A player who folded and meets the victory condition gets 0 points.
- A player who did not fold and does not meet the victory condition gets 0 points.
END OF GAME
When a player has 6 points, she wins! If two players reach 6 points in the same match, they both win!
TIPS FOR EXPERIENCED PLAYERS
The game is a process of elimination. For example, when a card is played that says “Highest number in play,” you know the highest number in play will NOT win the match because it can’t also be the secret card.
1 and 6 in play or in hand are most likely to win any match. It’s an unfortunate circumstance if you have neither, but not insurmountable. If you deduce that the winning card is in someone’s hand, you can potentially bluff your opponent well enough that they bring it into play instead, thus giving you a better chance to win.
Watch the dealer’s choices for clues. If the dealer folds, she does not believe she has the card in play or in hand that would win the match, which may mean you do and probably should not fold.
EDITING: Will Hindmarch
PLAYTESTING: Chip Beauvais, Kevin Brusky, Kenneth Coble, Bryan Fischer, Matt Fowler, Darrell Louder, Ryan Macklin, Levi Middleton, Chris Norwood, T.C. Petty, Megan Raley, Brad Smoley