Third Wheel
Designed by Kenny VenOsdel
Players 3
Length 40
Extra Material None

Third Wheel is a game for 2 people who want a 3rd to leave. Successful collusion against a third party member can convey the message that they are no longer wanted and often results in them leaving, and rather quickly at that. It has been used for exactly this purpose so effectively that in Jacynth simply suggesting a game of Third Wheel has become a rather impolite way to ask someone to go home. As a result the game is often suggested, but very rarely played.

Third Wheel is a trick taking game for exactly 3 players where 2 players (referred to as Setters) are always set against a rotating dealer (referred to as Dealer). The 2 Setters will get to call trump and hi/low, and then the dealer must bid a number of tricks they will take, with the goal being to make their bid exactly. The other players will get the most points for setting the dealer, but the player who took fewer tricks will usually do the best.


Choose a dealer, have them shuffle the basic Decktet and deal 11 cards to each player. The remaining 3 form The Wheel and are set to the side. Going clockwise from the dealer the first Setter (S1) calls a trump suit and the second (S2) calls the hand either low or high. If a trump card is present in a trick it will beat all non-trump cards. If more than one trump is present the best one will win it. In a high hand, the higher rank cards are always better. In a low hand the lower rank cards are always better.

Example: Say trump is Wyrms and the Ace of Wyrms, 4 of Leaves/Waves, and 9 of Wyrms/Waves are present. In a high hand the 9 of Wyrms/Waves is the best trump and would win the trick. In a low hand the Ace of Wyrms is the best card and would win the trick.

Finally the Dealer must bid a number of tricks that they intend to take. Before making their bid the dealer may first take The Wheel, add it to their hand, and then discard any 3 cards facedown. If they do this they must bid at least 6 or exactly 0 for the hand.

Game play

Playing a hand
Players will play to tricks consisting of each player adding exactly one card to the center of the table in clockwise order with the player who played the highest rank card (or lowest rank in a low hand) winning the trick and then leading the next. One of the lead suits must be followed if able. Trump cards are considered the highest rank cards even if they were played based upon their other suit. (For example, if Knots are trump and you play the Ace of Wyrms, I may follow with the 4 of Wyrms and Knots. Even though I followed the Wyrms the Knot on my card counts as trump.) [b]If trump is led it must be followed with trump if able.[/b] If a player cannot follow suit and does not play a trump card their card loses the trick regardless of its rank.

The dealer leads the first trick but each subsequent trick is led by the player who won the previous one. This continues until all cards have been played. Players then score points for the tricks and if the game is not over another hand is played. For each new hand the dealer rotates clockwise.

Scoring a hand
There are 3 possibilities when scoring: the dealer makes their bid exactly, misses their bid, or goes over their bid.

1. If the dealer made their bid exactly they score points equal to their bid plus one point for every trick taken by the Setter who took the most tricks. The Setter who took the fewest tricks scores one point for each trick they took.

Exceptions: If the dealer makes a 0 bid, they score exactly 11 points, one for every trick in the hand. If the dealer makes an 11 bid they score 22.

Example: D bid and took 5 tricks. S1 took 4 tricks and S2 took 2. D1 scores 9 (5+4), S1 scores 0, and S2 scores 2.

2. If the dealer doesn't make the bid they score nothing. The Setters each score points equal to the dealer's bid. Additionally, the Setter with fewer tricks scores one point for each trick they took.

Example: D bid 5 but took 3. S1 took 2 and S2 took 6. D scores 0, S1 scores 7 (5+2), S2 scores 5.

3. If the dealer overshoots the bid they score points equal to their bid only. The Setter who took the fewest tricks scores 1 point for every trick the other Setter took, and 1 point for every trick that the dealer took over their bid.

Note: In some provinces the dealer instead loses 1 point for each overtrick. So a bid of 4 that took 6 would score 2 points only.

Design Note: In keeping with the above design note this may need to be changed such that the Setter with fewer tricks scores their own tricks plus the overtricks.

Example: D bid 4 but took 7. S1 took 1, S2 took 3. D scores 4, S1 scores 6 (1+3), S2 scores 0.

Note: If the Setters ever tie they both score half, rounded down, of the points for those tricks.

End of Game:
Continue playing hands until everyone has been the dealer an agreed upon number of times (2? 3?) or at least one player reaches a certain point threshhold (33?). The player with the most points is the winner.

The extended deck






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