Variety is a trick-taking game that first appeared in my 1963 book Abbott’s New Card Games. It then pretty much disappeared until Philip Morehead included it in the latest edition of Hoyle’s Rules of Games  (you can click here for my page about that book).

Most card games are of the trick-taking variety. These games take many forms, but they all follow a similar pattern. First there is a contest to name the trump, then the cards are played, and finally the cards taken during the play are scored (the score can be the number of tricks taken, or the number of certain types of cards taken in the tricks, or it can be various combinations taken).

In Abbott’s New Card Games there were only two trick-taking games, Variety and Metamorphosis, and in each I tried to break the normal trick-taking pattern. In Variety I replaced the contest for naming the trump with a contest for naming the game to be played. Variety had a list of eight different trick-taking games that you could choose from. In Metamorphosis you didn’t just take cards and then score them. Instead, you take cards in one round, then you use these cards to play a second round, and you continue in this fashion for four rounds.

Variety has remained unchanged since 1963, and it works pretty well. The only area I see where it could be improved is my table of the eight games you choose to play. I tried to have a mix of different games and among them there should be a game that would be good for whatever cards you are dealt. Maybe I could have done a better job here (one difficulty I was working under is that I’m not a very good player at trick-taking games). If you can think of a different set of eight games, you might try playing with your new set. And if it works well, send it to me and I’ll post it on this site. Variety would be improved if players could use one set; then sometime later switch to a different set.

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