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While on Lockdown, Here's a Great Game to Play

Updated on April 16, 2020
ChrisBriscoe profile image

Chris Briscoe has made his home South Korea for over 20 years.

In this Card Game called "Low" the Kings are the most Sought After as they are Worth Zero Points - the object of the Game is to get the Lowest Score

Sharing the Card Games I used to Play When I was a Boy.

In this Article I have two aims for you:

Firstly, to tell you about the card-games I used to play as a boy so that you can learn a new game and hopefully have hours of fun and relaxation with your family; and secondly, to find some great sites online for card-game activities.

Since there are so many children and families on Lockdown during this Corona virus time, I wanted to continue giving you some ideas for how to keep the kids occupied. This is my second Article on this series, and if you would like to find my other Article, here is the Link:

Article: Great Activities For your Child to do during the COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

I want to share with you the games I used to play as a boy - particularly card games which I found fun, starting with the card game called, Low.

First of all, here's the background of where I came to learn and play these games. Since I am from England, some families call their grandmother, "Nan" which is short for "Nanny". This may strike you as something of an odd title since usually the name "Nanny" is reserved for those professionally employed child-minders who look after children, not related to the family. For me, since this was the convention in my family from a baby to call our grandmother "Nan", it wasn't strange, but for some who may find it strange, please understand that it just means "Grandma" or "Grandmother".

My Grandparents, when they were living, used to play cards regularly and that's where I learned playing card games. When they eventually retired, during a time of their retirement, they actually belonged to a local whist club, where, one night of the week was whist-club night; and the whist-club they attended consisted of alternating between different homes of fellow players. I guess that's why my grandparents always had a fold-away wooden green baize card table. You can buy one of these online which has the title, "Poker table".

One of the games I played which I learned while on my visits to my dear Nan, that she taught me, was the game called "Low". I found this game was quite fun. Sorry, just as a sidenote - since I am an Englishman, what I mean when I say, "quite fun" it means the fun was middle-range fun, but if you hear an American say, "quite fun" it means to him "really fun". If there are any Americans out there who want to correct me, or clarify something from this Article, please feel free in the comments below.

Anyway, back to the card game. Here's how you play the game of:


What's the aim of the game or how can I win?

The player with the lowest combination of four cards wins each hand - however the game continues by way of one person who is designated as the Scorer or Umpire keeping the running score of each player on the piece of paper.

What materials do you need?

A pen and a piece of paper.

Somebody needs to keep a running score with the pen and paper; before the game starts, write the name of each player at the top of each column where on each line you will keep the score of each player's game.To add some more fun, you can ask each person what their ideal game-name they would like to use. Or alternatively, the Scorer can name them, but please nothing derogatory.


You need one volunteer who is good at keeping a running score during the game

Before starting, you need to decide if you will allow a player to reach only a certain number of points before being knocked out, or alternatively, you wish the game to continue until a set time - for example, lunchtime. If you prefer, you can choose to let the game run until one player reaches a limit, and then, they are knocked-out of the game; so that, for example, when I played the game, the first person to be knocked out was the one who reached one hundred points; but you can choose one hundred points, two hundred points or if you want the game to continue longer, a higher number.

Before dealing the cards, it is a good idea to shuffle your cards. I am sure you know that shuffling means just making sure the cards are mixed up, randomly. Shuffling is another skill which you can either learn as a skill, or you can shuffle ad-hoc - for example by throwing the cards in the air and letting them drop randomly; or alternatively, placing all the cards on the table in front of you - face down -and mixing them all up with both your hands.

The question of who shuffles and deals may present a problem if more than one person is competing for that job. This can be resolved by placing the pile of cards in the middle of the table - face down - and asking each player to draw one card from the deck of cards, and the highest card player goes first; or alternatively, the lowest card player goes first.

Since we are playing the game "Low", then the lowest card player can go first to shuffle and deal the cards to the fellow players.

Then each player is dealt four cards which can be dealt to each player in turns.

The dealer passes/deals a total of four cards to each player which he places face down in front of them - at this stage the players are not allowed to look at the two cards on the bottom row. Once dealt, the remaining pack is placed face down in the middle of the table, and the dealer picks up one card and makes a separate pile of cards which players will later use to either pick up or discard cards.

After the dealer has finished dealing the four cards, you are allowed to look at your bottom row two cards but only once - and only the bottom row, not the top row. You need to memorize these bottom two cards and try your best to keep the value of these cards in your memory. If you peek at any of the two cards in the top row, you forfeit your turn and the next player to your left then takes his/her turn. Alternatively, if you peek more than once at your bottom row of cards, you also forfeit your turn.

The object of the game is to have the four lowest cards, and so, the value of each card is the face value - except the King cards whose value is 0. Therefore, Ace is valued at 1 point along with all the remaining cards which are also face value. The Kings are the only cards which are special, i.e. not at their face value but at their value - which is zero; all the other "Royal" cards count as ten. Therefore, having the King cards are very sought-after.

Tip 1: You do not need the Joker cards to play, but if you think the game is more interesting when you have 8 cards worth zero points, it's your choice, i.e. Four Kings and Four Jokers all worth zero points.

The player who the dealer dealt the first card to goes first, and can either pick up the card on the discarded card deck which is visible, or can pick-up from the deck of invisible facing-down cards.

The way you play the game is each player picks up from either the pile of new cards or the pile of discarded cards; and if those cards are lower, they swap the higher cards for the lower cards. However, you must never have more than four cards in front of you at a time. Thus, the best hand of cards will be four Kings whìch is a perfect "0" (Zero) points. Once you have that perfect score, then your best course of action is to knock on the table twice to tell your fellow players that you are ending the game. When this happens, they each have one more turn to try and get rid of their highest cards before the game is finally brought to a close.

As I said, when the player who thinks he or she has the best combination of cards wants to finish the game, he/she has to knock on the table once or twice. And then, the remaining players have one more round to play when each remaining player is allowed to play one more card to try and make their four cards lower.

After the last player has finished, the person who knocked with his fist on the table has to show his/her cards, or alternatively, they can ask the other players to show first.

If the player who knocked then realizes, to his surprise, that his four cards are not the lowest, thus he has to have his total number of points doubled as the punishment.

Tip 2: Remember, you can knock your hand on the table at any time during the game, so, for example, if you were dealt a particularly good hand - for example, you have four Kings or four Aces, or a combination of Kings and Aces, then you can actually choose to finish the game - in which case you knock on the table - and thus, you can make all your opponents score rocket, since they probably have at least one "Royal" high-card in their possession.

So that's the game of Low - I hope you have many hours of fun with this game.

I wonder if you have any fun games you can recommend - if you do, please can you write the title and a short explanation in the comments section below, but please could I ask you to keep words and comments as Child-Friendly.

Thank you for Reading and an even bigger

THANK YOU for those contributing.

MANY HAPPY AND BLESSED FUN-FILLED DAYS, while praying for this Lockdown to finish.


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    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      11 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      A worldwide favorite game is the game of Cribbage. It has other names, also, but that is the name i am familiar with. Basically, the game uses a Cribbage Board to peg each persons score from each hand. Low card deals six cards per player (usually two), or five cards, if teams of two are playing each other. Selecting to keep four of the six cards, the other two go into the "Crib" which the dealer scores for their score. Then the players start to play their four remaining cards, taking turns one card at a time, with the objective to score pairs, runs, or combinations of 15 points, ending at 31 points before starting over, if necessary. Pairs score 2 points, runs of three score three points, 15 points score 2, 3 of a kind (such as three 4's. three Jacks, etc.) are worth 6 points when counting hands after the cards have been played taking turns. After everyone has put their two cards into the Crib, the player to the dealer's right "cuts" the remaining deck for a card each player will use to score their hand in combination with the four they were dealt, including the dealer's own count of his Crib. Pegging is done as the game progresses until someone wins by pegging to the end of the board. Rules and boards can be found on the Web, and, of course Amazon also sells Cribbage boards with quite a variety of designs. The game can be played on the internet where players from around the world can play against each other for international ratings, and fun.


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