Monday, January 01, 2007

My achievements: Penguin Whist

At this time of year, one takes stock of what one has achieved in life. In my case, that's usually fairly depressing. Achievements? Well, none I can think of.

But this year. I've been reminded of a card game I invented 25 years ago. It's called Penguin Whist. My family played it a lot.

Penguin Whist is a variation of Whist - but played with the cards facing outwards.

In fact, Penguin Whist is s a variation of a kind of whist called Silly Whist. Wikipedia describes Silly Whist as a version of Oh Hell, but says the British call it Crazy Whist. In Silly Whist, we used to start with a hand of seven cards, decreasing each hand by one card. We all took turns to bid, and scored a ten point bonus if we made our bid.

Then we thought, being able to see your cards makes it too easy. Penguin Whist starts from one card each and builds up, one card at a time. But it is played with the cards facing out. You can see everyone's cards except your own.

When you have more than two cards you have to sort your neighbour's cards into suits (pick up the hand you're dealt, sort it and pass it on). After a card is led, the other players tell you which cards you can play, in order to follow suit. It's random. It's stupid. But occasionally, with a flash of brilliance, you realise what card to play.

I always lose. My daughter Hannah turns out to be nearly unbeatable.

Actually, if I'm honest, it might have been my brother who thought of it....

I may need to think of another achievement.

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