Two Player Pinochle 

Normally I post games that I am confident still have a strong following, but despite being an outstanding game, I have yet to meet anyone who still plays Two  Player Pinochle.  I  hope this post will help kickstart a Two Player Pinochle revival as well as find players who are already enjoying it.

Players 2

A single pinochle deck or two traditional decks with 2-8 removed

Paper and pencil for score keeping
How To Play

The cards are ranked highest to lowest as shown below, as is the values of the card when taken in a trick.

ace 11 points

Each ten 10 points

Each king 4 points

Each queen 3 points

Each jack 2 points

Nines 0 points

The last trick taken earns 10 points

The values of the melds are:

Class A

A, K, Q, J, 10 of the trump suit (flush, or sequence) 150 points

K, Q of trump (royal marriage) 40 points

K, Q of any other suit (marriage) 20 points

Dix (lowest trump; pronounced “deece”) 10 points

Class B

A♠, A♥, A♦, A♣ (100 aces) 100 points

K♠, K♥, K♦, K♣ (80 kings) 80 points

Q♠, Q♥, Q♦, Q♣ (60 queens) 60 points

J♠, J♥, J♦, J♣ (40 jacks) 40 points

Class C

Q♠, J♦ (pinochle) 40

(The dix is the nine of trumps)

The dealers Deals 12 cards to each player three or four cards at a time. The next card is turned up and placed on the table; it is the trump card and every card of that suit is a trump. The remainder of the pack forms the stock and is placed face down

Each trick consists of a lead and a play. The non-dealer leads the first trick , then the winner of each trick leads next. When a trump is led, it wins the trick unless the opponent plays a higher trump. When any other suit is led, the card led wins unless the opponent plays a higher card of the same suit or a trump. The leader may lead any card, and the opponent may play any card. It is not necessary to follow suit.

After each trick, the players draw a card from the top of the stock to restore their hand to 12 cards; the winner of the trick draws first.

After winning a trick, but before drawing from the stock, a player may meld any one of the combinations that have value, as described above. A player makes a meld by placing the cards face up on the table, where they remain until the player wishes to play them, or until the stock is exhausted.

Melding is subject to the following restrictions:
1) Only one meld may be made in a turn.
2) For each meld, at least one card must be taken from the hand and placed on the table.
3) A card once melded may be melded again, only in a different class, or in a higher-scoring meld of the same class.

Once a card has been melded and placed on the table, it may be played to a trick as though it were in the holder’s hand; however, after it has been played, it may no longer be used to form a new meld.

Melding the dix. If the dealer turns a dix (pronounced “deece”) as the trump card, they score 10 points immediately. Thereafter, a player holding a dix may count it merely by showing it upon winning a trick. They may count the dix and make another meld in the same turn. The holder of the dix has the right to exchange it, upon winning a trick, for the trump card.

When the stock is exhausted the rules for playing tricks changes. The winner of the twelfth trick may meld if possible, and then must draw the last face-down card of the stock. They show this card to their opponent, who draws the trump card (or the dix, if the exchange has been made). The winner of the preceding trick now leads, and the rules of the play are as follows: each player must follow suit to the card led if possible, and must try to win when a trump is led (by playing a higher trump). A player who cannot follow suit must trump if they have a trump. In this manner the last 12 tricks are played, after which the players count and score the points they have won in their tricks and melds.

When keeping score melds are scored when they are made. Scores for cards taken in tricks are added after the play is complete and the cards are counted.

A game can be played to 1,000 points, playing a series of deals. When one player has scored 1,000 or more, and the other player less than 1,000, the former wins the game. If at the end of the play of any hand each player has 1,000 or more, play continues for a game of 1,250, even if one player has, for example, 1,130, while the other has only 1,000. If both players go over 1,250 at the end of the hand, the play continues for a 1,500-point game, and so on.

Declaring Out. At any time during the play, a player may “declare out.” At that point, play stops and his tricks are counted. If, in fact, the player has 1000 points or more, he wins the game – even if the opponent has more. If the claimant has fewer than 1,000 points, he loses the game. If the game has been increased to 1,250 points, 1,500 points, or a higher score, a player may declare out at that figure.

Some players play every deal is a single game. The player who scores the most points wins.


Skelly, A New York Street Game


While visiting New York I wanted to find a place to play one of my favorite street games. After much searching, a Skelly court was found in a playground on Mulberry street.

Skelly is best with 3 to 6 players. Players use their  fingers to flick a bottel cap into each of the numbered boxes in order 1 thrue 13, and then back down 13 to 1. If the player’s cap is not inside the lines of the numbered box they were shooting for, the cap stays where it is and it is the next players turn. 

If a player’s cap lands in the outer box surrounding number 13( the dead box), the player is trapped untill hit  by another player who gets moves up two boxes in his or her sequence for knocking the player out of the dead box.

If a player’s cap hits another player’s cap, the shooters cap is moved to the next box in his or her sequence.

When a player has completed the full course from 1 to thirteen and back to 1, he or she can become a killer. The cap is flicked  from the 1 box to the 13 box. After reaching the thirteen box the player shoots to each of the 4 quadrants of the dead box and becomes a killer. If the player misses any of the four quadrants they must start again from the one box.  

A cap that is a killer can go into the dead square without being trapped.

When a killer hits another cap, that cap it is removed from the game.  When all but one cap is left in the game that player  is the winner. 

Some play if a killer cap is hit the shooters cap becomes a killer, other play that it he shooter’s cap is removed from the game.

If you have an experiences playing Skelly or making Skelly caps please share them in the comments.

Veto Dice

If you are searching for dice games with opportunities to make decisions and use your bluffing skills, look no further. Veto Dice is a compendium game from San Francicsco. The players roll their dice under a dice cup. One play names the game they would like to play after looking at his or her dice. The other player can refuse the first game but must accept the next game that game that is called.

Players 2


2 dice cups

10 dice

Score pad

How to play

Both players roll five dice keeping them concealed under their dice cups.

The first caller proposes a game from the chart below. The other player may accept or refuse .

If the player refuses the game the other player must propose a game of a different game type number. For example if the first game proposed was Two Ten for high score, the next game proposed could be liars dice.  The player could not propose Three Ten for high score as the replacement for the first game of Two Ten for high score because they are from the same game type( game type 8).

When the player accepts the game or  a second game is proposed, the player who proposed the game reveals his or her dice. They may re roll as many times as the game allows.

After the player who proposed the game has finished rolling, the other player reveals his or her dice and rolls. The other player may roll as many as the game allows to beat the score of the other player.

The winning player scores a point.

The players roll as they did in the begining  , and the losing player proposes the the next game.

The first player to score three points wins the game.



Game Name

Remaining  die scoring points

General description

# of rolls


Ship Captain  and Crew 

High or low (2 dice)

Qualifier of 6,5,&4 must be built in order



Boss dice


Poker dice no with no  straights


Liars dice






High or low ( 2 dice)

2, 3, 4 or 3, 4, 5 to qualify. 2,3or 3,4 to start building. Can change qualifier





Highest poker hand. Aces wild and no full house. No dice need to be frozen. 




Double Vegas

High or low (3 dice)

High or low (1 dice)

Two dice equal to 7 or 11 to qualify

Two sets of dice equal to 7 or 11 to qualify




Double Reno

High or low (3 dice)

High or low (1 dice)

One of any pair to qualify

Two of any pair to qualify



Two ten

Three ten

Four ten

High or low (3 dice)

High or low (2 dice)

High or low (1 die)

Two dice equaling 10 to qualify

Three dice equaling 10 to qualify

Four dice equaling 10 to qualify



Threes away

Lowest point wins

Threes equal zero points all other dice equal thier face value

(must freeze out one die each roll)




High or low ( 1 die)

2 dice must be a pair and 2 dice equal to 7 or 11 to qualify



While the chart above offers a good selection of games to chose from ,Veto dice can be played with any combination of bar dice games the players chose.

Some play that both players reveal their dice after the game has been decided. 

Ten Penny Knock


Here is a Dominos game I learned about from the Arthur R. Taylor’s book Pub Games. A variation on block dominos, it gives a bonus to the player who can force the other players to pass.

I would be very interested to hear from any readers who know if this game is still played in English pubs.

Player 2 or more
Double six or double nine dominos
Plenty of dimes and nickels
How to play

The players are playing for themselves. The players shuffle the dominos face down on the table, and each player draws seven.

The player with the highest double leads the hand.

Players in turn add dominos to the lay out that have a matching number to one end or the other.

If player can not play a matching number it is a pass . The passing player pays ten cents to the player who played the last domino.

Play continues till a player runs out of dominos. This player is the winner, and collects from each player 5 cents for each pip on the dominos remaining in their hand.

If the game becomes blocked and no one can play on the layout, the player with the lowest pips is paid the difference between his or her and the others player’s dominos.



Check out this interesting checkers variant from Senegal. The players take turns placing their checkers on the board or moving the checkers he or she has already placed . When a capture is made the player gets to pick an additional piece to remove from the board. This makes for a fast paced game with dramatic changes in fortune.

Players 2
Twelve light checkers and twelve dark
6 X 5 checkerboard
How to play

• The players take turns placing one of their twelve checkers on an empty square or moving one of their checkers that is already on the board

• Checkers can be moved one square orthogonally to an empty square

• A player may capture their opponents checker by jumping over it to the empty square behind the checker being captured. The captured checker is removed from the board. The player then removes an extra checker of his or her oponent’s that is on the board. Multiple captures are possible, and the player may remove an extra counter for each one made. Captures are not mandatory .

• The player who captures all their opponents counters wins the game. A player also wins if the opponent is trapped and can not move any of his or her checkers.

• If both players are reduced to three or less counters the game may be called a draw.

Here is a video of a Yoté game in action. Notice that the board is simply a 5X6 grid of holes made in the sand.

I am not certain how popular Yoté still is. If any readers have experience with this game ,please share it in the comments.

The Oldest Game Boards I Have Played On


When I go to museums and historical sites I like to look for games and game equipment. Inevitably when I find some, they are behind a protective barrier of glass. so when I learned that some English cathedrals had game boards carved on to the buildings themselves i began my quest to find some.

I scoured the internet and countless book , untill I found a photo of what is described in RC Bells game book as a nine hole game in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey. I photographed the page with my IPad and while visiting Westminster I took my time wandering from pillar to pilllar comparing it to the photo.

Eventualy I found the pillar where at the base the faint holes of the game board still remained. Then I sat down and played nine hole using pieces from my portable backgammon board. Much to the amusement of some of the other visitors.


I found this Fox and Geese board carved into a window sill in the undercroft of Lanercost Priory. There is a second board, a partially intact Nine Man Morris board, nearby. They were much easier to find than the ones at Westminster, but this did not take away from my enjoyment of playing on them.

Playing on these ancient game boards gave me a feeling of being connected to history. If anyone knows of any similar game boards, please share them in the comments.

London Skittles


The Freemasons Arms pub in London hosts the last London skittles alleys in existence. London skittles is a game similar to bowling with a few notable exceptions. The object of the game is to knock down the nine wooden pins in four or less throws. However, instead of using a ball a heavy wooden disk called a cheese is thrown at the pins.

The club plays every Tuesday from 8pm to 11pm and also occasionally on Saturdays. Be sure to look at the video linked below to see some of the club members in action.