MERITS OF THE NIGHT
An exercise in foreordinance by Thorin N. Tatge
PLAYERS: 2 or 3.
BASIC PLAY: This game is to be played at the beginning of an evening or long night to determine whose turn it is to shine in various ways. It is played in four (or eight) rounds. In each round, each player is given a suit of cards and the cards of another suit (the key suit) are turned up in turn. For each card from the key suit, each player plays one card face-down and they are revealed together. The player whose card is highest collects the card from the key suit. Players’ cards are placed face-down after they are played, but the key cards each player wins are placed face-up before that player. At the end of the round, each player totals his or her key cards and the player with the most points is declared the winner of the round. Aces are worth 1 point, and jacks, queens and kings are worth 11, 12 and 13.
THE ROUNDS: Each round is carried out in accordance with the above summary, but with a special method. After sorting the suits and setting aside the key suit, give each player the suit that seems most appropriate. If possible, give players suits that they have won in previous rounds. The winner of each round is foreordained to have a particular trait for the coming night.
In the first round, clubs are the key suit. The clubs are shuffled and placed face-down, and players are allowed to choose any card they like for each club that comes up. The winner of this round will have Wisdom for the night.
In the second round, diamonds are the key suit. The diamonds are shuffled and revealed randomly, and each player’s cards are also shuffled and revealed randomly, one card at a time. The outcome of this round, therefore, is random. The winner will have Fortune for the night.
In the third round, hearts are the key suit. The hearts are arranged from the ace (on top) to the king (on the bottom). Players choose which card to play for each heart. The winner of this round will have Passion for the night.
In the fourth round, spades are the key suit. They are shuffled and revealed one at a time. This round, it is legal to play more than one card at once from one’s hand, and the number of cards each player plays is hidden. When a player wins a spade, he or she does not put it in a separate scoring pile, but in his or her hand. Spades may be played in future turns to win other spades, in combination with other cards or separately. The round is won by the player who wins the last spade. That player will have Power for the night.
You may choose to play four more rounds. If so, they will have only small differences in play from the first four and will be associated with similar merits.
In the fifth round, clubs are the key suit. This time, instead of choosing from any card in your suit to play, draw only three cards to begin with from your stock, and draw a new card each time you play one. The winner of this round will have Intelligence for the night.
In the sixth round, diamonds are the key suit. This time, do not look at the key cards you are winning until the round is over. The winner of this round will have Luck for the night.
In the seventh round, hearts are the key suit. This time, in addition to the key cards being ordered from lowest to highest, each player’s hand is ordered from lowest to highest. Each player secretly exchanges the position of two cards in his or her hand three times before play begins. The winner of this round will have Love for the night.
In the eighth round, spades are the key suit. This time, place all the spades in a face-up row after mixing them, so that all players can see in what order they will be bid for. The winner of this round will have Influence for the Night.
DISCLAIMER: Like standard fortune-telling methods, this kind of exercise doesn’t actually work…unless you force it to.