"The Queen" is a two-player card game I have invented. The object is to be the first player to score Seven Points, or to be the player with the most points at the end of four rounds. Plays that limit or deny your opponents point scoring opportunities will probably be necessary. If no one has scored seven points after four rounds the player with the most points wins. When both players have the same total after four rounds the game is a draw. The game uses a Standard 52 card deck with no Joker. The players are seated across from one another at a table with one player acting as the dealer for the first round, with their opponent becoming the dealer on the next round. The deal switches back and forth like this until someone wins or the fourth round is reached. The initial dealer can be determined by drawing high cards or simply upon agreement.
To begin a round, the dealer deals out nine cards face-down to each player. The first card is dealt to the opponent, then one to the dealer, then the opponent and so on until both players have nine cards, face-down. These cards constitute a players hand and should be kept concealed from the opponent. The remaining deck is placed face down in the center of the table, with the top card being turned over, face up, beside it once the round is ready to begin. This first face-up card is called the Focus Card. It will be the basis of the first play. There are now 33 cards face down in the deck, yet to be revealed. Note: Whenever you turn a card over from the deck it is known as 'Rolling' a card. This term will be used frequently throughout this tutorial.
The second player (not the dealer) then begins the round by making their first play, followed by the dealer making their play and so on (how the round ends will be described below). The first person to score their Seventh Point wins the game. If no one has done this by the end of the fourth round, the player with the most points at that time wins, or the game is considered drawn due to both players having matching scores. A sample hand of "The Queen" looks something like the example above.
There are several general rules that govern the play of "The Queen". The list on the next page will show you how you can score points. This list will tell you the primary rules you will need to know to make these and other plays. They are as follows:
1) The Queen can never be a Focus Card that you make a play against. What this means is that once a Focus card has been "Queened" (how you can do this is also explained below), the player must then turn the next card over from the deck to cover her before their opponents turn can begin. If it so happens that the card Rolled is also a Queen, the next card must be Rolled to cover her again and so on until a non-Queen Focus Card is established (Rolling a Queen also scores both players one point. See 'Rolling a Queen' on the next page). Again, the Queen can never be a Focus Card that you make a play against...ever. The next card from the deck must be Rolled over her before the opponent can begin their turn.
2) Aces always count as High. What this means is that any time you wish to play an Ace, or you have an Ace Focus card to play against, it must be considered as the highest card in the game. To illustrate this, here is a handy little chart that shows the relationship of all the cards to the Queen.
After looking at this chart, you should notice that there are arrows pointing in one direction beside each card denomination. Also notice that all of the cards arrows are pointing towards the Queen. Even the Ace and King, which are past the Queen on the chart, flow back towards her. This chart is actually the basis of the entire game, and all the plays are based off of it. Remember, all cards flow towards the Queen. If you don't understand this, you won't be able to grasp any of the plays in the game.
3) A Round is over immediately either when the last card from the deck has to be touched by any player, or when one of the players plays their last card(s). What this means is that during the course of the game, you may run into a situation where the last card from the deck must be Rolled or Taken by a player in order to continue. At this point, the round must be considered immediately over because some of the required plays (see below) state that you must not only play a certain card, but also that you must then Roll a card immediately afterwards. Obviously, with no cards left in the deck, this is not possible. A player would not be able to make their "full required play" in some situations. Therefore, the round is over. This holds true even if the next player could have made a play without Rolling or Taking a card. Once the last card has to be touched, play immediately stops and the round is over. The round is also over once either of the players (it doesn't matter which one) plays their last card(s). This is known as "Locking" and is detailed in the next few pages. As soon as one player "Locks", the round is immediately over also, even if the next player could make a play or not.
Before we begin our discussion on how to actually score some points on the "Scoring Plays" page, let's examine a few of the key concepts you'll be utilizing:
1. Checking. Whenever you "Check" a card, or series of cards, you reduce your hand and get closer to scoring a point by playing out all the cards in your hand (detailed below). To be able to Check a card, you must look at the Focus Card. The initial Checking card for any Focus is the next card in sequence going towards the Queen from the current Focus. Remember the chart from the Ace previous section? Let's look at it again.
Let's say that the current Focus card is a 6, and it is your turn to make a play. Your hand is 2-4-6-7-8-J. Do you have an initial Checking card for the 6? The answer is clear. Yes, the 7 is the next card in sequence going towards the Queen from the 6 on the chart above. So you clearly have at least one Checking card in your hand. If you chose to Check just the 7, you would play it from your hand and onto the 6, covering it. It would then become the new Focus Card. However, based on your hand, you may have additional options because:
You may Check up to three cards from your hand during your turn, as long as you do hold them and they are the legal Checking Cards, at your option. So you can make Checking sequences of one Checking card, one and two Checking cards, or one-two-three Checking cards in your turn.
|Focus Card||Checking Sequences||Queening Sequences||Dropping Cards|
|Two||3, 3-4, 3-4-5||None||None|
|Three||4, 4-5, 4-5-6||None||2|
|Four||5, 5-6, 5-6-7||None||2,3|
|Five||6, 6-7, 6-7-8||None||2,3,4|
|Six||7, 7-8, 7-8-9||None||2,3,4,5|
|Seven||8, 8-9, 8-9-10||None||2,3,4,5,6|
|Eight||9, 9-10, 9-10-J||None||2,3,4,5,6,7|
|Nine||10, 10-J, 10-J-Q||Yes (10-J-Q)||2,3,4,5,6,7,8|
|Ten||J, J-Q||Yes (J-Q)||2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9|
|Ace||K, K-Q||Yes (K-Q)||2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J|
Let's take a look at your hand again. With a 6 Focus your hand is 2-4-6-7-8-J. We have already seen that the 7 is the initial Checking card for a 6, and you hold one in your hand. However, you also hold the next card in sequence, going towards the Queen, from the 7. It is the 8. In poker, these would be called "Straight Cards". So you would also have the option, during the same turn, to continue Checking the 7 with the 8. Therefore, you would have "Checked" the 6 with 7-8. You would do this by first placing the 7 onto the 6 Focus card, followed by the 8. The 8 would then be the new Focus card. This would be a Two-Card Check. If instead of having a Jack you had a 9 (2-4-6-7-8-9), you could have Checked the 6 with 7-8-9 for a "Three-Card Check". This is the maximum number of Checks you can play during your turn. This play only (and not a One or Two-Card Check) would score you a point (scoring is detailed on the next page). The available Checking plays are detailed in the chart above.
This Checking process holds true for all Focus cards Jack or below. For a King or Ace, however, things are a bit different. Notice on the chart above that the King and Ace both flow back towards the Queen. This means that with an Ace Focus card, the King would be a Checking card. It is the next card in sequence from the Ace going towards the Queen. But what happens when you can Check a Queen?
2. Queening. Whenever you can Check a Queen onto the Focus card, be it directly (you Check a Queen from your hand onto a Jack or King) or following a series of Checks (you Check a 9 Focus Card with 10-J-Q), you are said to have "Queened" the Focus card. As described on the next page, this scores you a point. All this is fine and dandy, but what about all those other cards in your hand that are lower than the current Focus card?
3. Dropping. The "Drop" cards for any Focus card are the cards that fall away from the Queen from the current Focus. For example, with a 4 Focus card, the possible Dropping cards are the 2 and 3. For a 7, the Dropping cards are the 2,3,4,5, and 6. This holds true for any Focus Card Jack or below. The rules for a King or Ace Focus card are similiar, but slightly different.
For an Ace, almost all cards (except for a Queen or King) are considered Dropping cards. A Queen is never a Drop card, because it must always be Checked onto a Focus, it can never be dropped there. And of course the King would be a Check for the Ace. So the Dropping cards for an Ace are the 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, and J.
For a King Focus, all the cards except for a Queen OR Ace are Dropping cards. As stated, the Queen is never a Drop card. The Ace is also not a Drop for the King because it is the highest card, therefore above the King on the chart. So the Dropping cards for the King are also the 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, and J. The rule concerning the number of cards that can be Dropped during a turn states this:
You may only Drop one card at a time during your turn, and no more than that, as long as it's a legal Dropping card. But, that one card may be ANY card that qualifies as a Dropping Card.
So whenever you choose to Drop a card, it will only be one card at a time per turn. But if you have multiple cards that qualify as Dropping cards, you may choose any of them as the card you will play as the Drop. Let's say you have a 5 Focus card and your hand is 2-3-3-4-5-8-Q. You don't have the initial Checking card (the 6), so Checking is not even an option here. Since you can't start a Checking sequence, you obviously cannot Queen here either. So we must examine for Drop cards. Do you have any? The answer is easy. Yes, you actually have several. With a 5 Focus card the 2, both 3's, and the 4 all qualify as Dropping cards from the 5 (the other 5 you hold is NOT a Dropping card because it is not lower than the current Focus Card, it is the same). So you would Drop either a 2, 3, or 4 during your turn, but only one. Then your turn would be over.
Now you know all about Checking, Dropping, Queening, and even how to set up and start a game. Let's see how the required gameplay actually ties it all together. The following chart is meant to be read from top to bottom, and it details the exact method of play required in "The Queen". The first item listed in each one is the first required play, if applicable. For example, if you have three or more cards in your hand and you can Check, Queen, or Drop any one of them, you must do so. This overrides any of the following options because it is listed first in order. You can only go on to the second option if you cannot legally make a play stated in the first option. Only if you can't do any of the plays listed in the first option can you go to the next option, #2. You must make the required plays in order. Here they are.
|When you have Three Or More Cards In Your Hand|
| 1. Make a Checking, Queening, or Dropping play if you can. You may choose any one of these plays, but you must make one of them if any are available. If you can't make any of these plays, go on to option 2.
2. Play an Ace onto the current Focus card, regardless of what the Focus is. Your turn is now over. If you don't have any Aces, go on to option 3. Remember, you can only access this option if you couldn't Check, Queen, or Drop ANY cards. There is no penalty with this play.
3. Play your highest non-Queen card from your hand onto the Focus card, regardless of what the Focus is. Then, take a card face-down from the deck into your hand as a penalty. Your turn is now over.
|When you have ONLY One or Two Cards In Your Hand|
These situations are handled differently than if you have three or more cards in your hand.
| 1. Make a Checking, Queening, or Dropping play if you can. You may choose any one of these plays, but you must make one of them if any are available. If you can't make any of these plays, go on to option 2.
2. Take one card face-down from the deck into your hand as a penalty. Then, Roll the next card from the deck onto the Focus card. Your turn is now over.
Note: You DO NOT play your highest card from your hand to the Focus card here. That only applies when you have three or more cards in your hand, as stated above.
All of these plays score exactly one point each. However, you can combine two or more of them at a time (such as Queening with your very last card) to score additional points all at once, except in the case of having "All Queens" (see below). Here they are:
Any time you can Check three consecutive cards in sequence going towards the Queen, it is called a "Three-Card Check". For example, if the Focus Card is a 5 and you have 6-7-8 in your hand, you can play all three in sequence onto the 5 for the Three-Card Check. This scores one point. If you only had the 6-7 in your hand (or chose not to Check the third card for whatever reason), you would only have done a Two-Card Check. This (as well as just a One-Card Check) does not score a point. Only a Three-Card Check scores. You can also combine a "Three-Card Check" with any of the other scoring options to score additional points as well.
If in the course of a round you are able to play out the last card in your hand (you have just played out all your cards), you are said to have "Locked". Whenever you "Lock", you score one point. You can also combine Locking with any of the other scoring options to score additional points as well (for instance, you could Queen-Lock). Once you have Locked, the round is immediately over, even if the other player could have continued by making a play.
You "Queen" a Focus Card when you can directly Check a Queen onto a Jack or King, or when you can finish a Two-Card or Three-Card Check with the Queen. For example, say there is a '9' Focus Card and it's your turn to play. Your hand is 10-J-Q. You can "Queen" the '9' by first playing the 10 onto it, followed by the Jack, and then the Queen. That's a Three-Card Check that ended with the Queen. The score for this play is a whopping three points, however, since you have also combined other scoring plays during the process. You "Queened" the Focus Card (which is worth one point), played a Three-Card Checking sequence (that's another point), AND Locked (played out all the cards in your hand, good for a third point).
The only Focus Cards that can be Queened then are the 9, 10, J, K, and Ace. How to Queen the nine was described above. To Queen a 10 Focus Card all a player would need is to play a J-Q Two-Card Check, which "Queens", since they ended their Check with a Queen. With a Jack or King Focus card, a player simply needs to play a Queen onto it for the point. An Ace, however, is a bit different. Under the normal rules, all cards (except for a Queen) are considered Drop Cards for an Ace. Concerning "Queening", a somewhat special rule applies however. With an Ace Focus card, a player may "Check" the Ace with a King, or they may "Queen" the Ace by playing K-Q if they hold the them. The King is not considered a Drop from the Ace, but a Checking card. Take note of this rule because it will definitely come up in actual play sooner or later. Again, an Ace focus card can be Checked with a King, or Queened with a K-Q Two-Card Check. Take heart that this will all be second nature after only a few games.
Whenever a player makes a play that requires a card to be Rolled from the deck, it can happen that a Queen will be the card that is turned over. When this happens, both players receive one point each. It does not matter whose turn it is or just was. When a Queen is Rolled from the deck, both players receive one point each. This can be very beneficial to the player in the lead at the time, and can sometimes win them the game right there on the spot.
This somewhat odd situation occurs when you are down to your last three or four cards and you only have exactly three or four Queens in your hand but absolutely no other cards and it is your turn to act. NOTE: This is actually bad for a player as you will see. You cannot Check or Drop because all you have are Queens, and you also cannot play a card to the Focus for the High Card Penalty because your high card must be a non-Queen card.
The required play here is that you must play all three or all four of your Queens onto the Focus card (no matter what it might be) one at a time and declare to the opponent "All Queens". Remember, you do not have this option available if you hold any other non-Queen cards at all in your hand. If you did, you would be able to make a normal play. The reason that this is disadventageous is that even though you get to play all three or four Queens at once, you only score a total of one point for all of them. Instead of the possible three of four points they would have been worth when used in the normal Queening fashion, they are all now only worth one point in this situation. Notice that you also DO NOT receive an additional one point bonus for Locking. The total scoring for this play is one point.
So, we have now made it through the entire explanation of how to play "The Queen". You should have a solid understanding of every aspect of the game, and I would hope that you can confidently challenge a friend to a match. If they don't know how to play, be sure to teach them yourself or just send them here to the site! In no time, you should have an opponent to face off against. But how do you go about defeating them?
In this game, proper play of the hand you are dealt is key. There is not much room for a mistake, and even seemingly "strong" plays can end up back-firing on you. So how best to proceed then?
In the opening stages of a round, the play of high cards might be limited. The reasons for this are fairly simple. When both players still hold many cards in their hand, they have numerous options on how to respond to the play made by their opponent. For example, with an initial Focus Card of a 10, a player holding a Jack but no Queens might not want to Check it onto the 10 right away due to the possibility of their opponent immediately Queening the Jack on the next play. The same would go for a situation where you had a 8 Focus card and held the 9-10-J Three-Card Checking Sequence. It would score you a point, granted, but would likely allow the opponent to Queen on their next play and instantly level the scoring count. As with any game, timing is everything, and you might have been better off delaying the point grab until you had gained a bit more information about your opponents hand. You can see how the play of high cards must be tempered in the opening stages to be most effective.
This brings us to an interesting point. If high cards might be bad for our opponent to play, are there any ways we can somehow force them to play these cards? Perhaps the play of a Deuce may be in order.
The power of the Deuce (2) originates from the very rules of the game. They state that when you hold three or more cards in your hand, you must either make a Checking, Dropping, or Queening play if you have any, play an Ace if you can't do that, or play your highest non-Queen card to the Focus and then take a penalty card if you get to option #3. The seemingly meek Deuce now has some power brewing inside of it. There are no drop cards for a Deuce, no Queening Sequences, and only one initial Checking card for it. So if your opponent does not hold a three to Check the Deuce, what must they do? They must play an Ace if they have one.
Let's say your hand is 2-3-3-5-6-J-Q-K-A. You are the dealer and the round begins when you Roll a 5 to start your opponents first turn. They One-Card Check the 5 with a 6 and now it is your turn. The play of your Deuce might be just what the doctor ordered!
You already hold two of the Checking cards for a Deuce (the 3's), which makes it much more unlikely that your opponent will be holding one of the remaining Treys (there are only four 3's total in the entire deck after all). So with the play of your Deuce, you will be trying to utilize one of the most basic and potent strategy plays in the game:
With the hand above, the play of the Deuce might force your opponent to play an Ace for example. This would allow you to score a point by Queening via the K-Q combo. Maybe they didn't have an Ace and were forced to play a high non-Queen card instead. It is very probable that in this early stage of the round their highest card would be either a Ten, Jack, or King, and any of these cards would allow you to Queen on your next turn. You would have scored a point, and they wouldn't have even reduced their hand at all (due to having to take a penalty card)! The power of the Deuce is evident. Since it reduces the options of your opponent, the play of the Deuce must be considered when you hold a Deuce and a Queen, a 10-J-Q combo, a J-Q combo, or a K-Q combo.
As we have seen, the lowest of all the cards, the Deuce, can be a powerful card indeed. However, there may be a more powerful low card in your hand...The Trey (3). The strength of the Trey lies in the fact that it is a Checking card for a Deuce. Therefore, when an opponent Drops a Deuce onto the Focus (possibly trying to force a point-winning combination as described before), you are protected because you have the Trey Checking card. Therefore, it must be said that:
Treys can be excellent defensive cards.
Let's say that your hand is 3-4-6-8-9-J-Q-Q-K. You are the dealer and start the round by Rolling the initial focus card, which turns out to be a 7, to begin your opponents turn. They decide to try and "Deuce" you right off the bat since their hand is 2-5-5-6-8-9-Q-K-A. The Deuce is Dropped onto the 7 and it becomes the new Focus. Now it's your turn to play. If you didn't have the Trey in your hand, under option #3 in the Three-or-More rules section you would have had to play your highest non-Queen card to the Deuce (the K), and then take a penalty card. Your opponent would then have happily Queened on the next play. However, you do hold a Trey, and confidently Check it onto the Deuce.
Now let's look at the situation that has occured. Your opponent cannot Check this Trey Focus card. And since they hold an Ace, they are forced to play it under option #2 in the Three-or-More rules section. What a great Focus card for you! You proudly play the K-Q combo onto the Ace effectively Queening it for the point. Your play of the Trey has worked out beautifully.
As we have now seen, the Trey can be a great defensive card for your hand. We must also note, however, that a Trey can be an excellent offensive card as well. This is because like the Deuce, a Trey just does not leave the opponent with many options. To avoid having to play an Ace or a high non-Queen card, they must hold either a Deuce or a Four. Later on in the round, this may prove to be more and more unlikely. In this situation, any information gained on previous plays will be of much help.
For example, say your hand is 3-5-6-J-Q. On the last turn, your opponent was facing a 5 Focus card and played an Ace onto it. What information does this give us? Following the rules, we now know that the opponent does not hold a 2, 3, 4, or 6 in their hand. The reason we know this is because they would have had to play one of these Dropping or Checking cards if they held them versus a 5 Focus card. Since they have played an Ace, you know ther were following option #2 in the Three-or-More rules section and therefore you have gained vital information about the cards they hold in their hand. Perhaps if you play your Trey here, you may be able to force the opponent to have to abide by option #3 in the Three-or-More rules section and play their highest non-Queen card (this would only happen if they didn't hold another Ace). As it turns out in this case, the opponent didn't have either any of the Checking or Dropping cards (of course), or another Ace. They were forced to play their highest non-Queen card, a Jack, and you emphatically played your Queen onto it next play for a point.
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