My favorite card game of all time is “Judgement.” I was introduced to this card game as a junior in high school – almost 4 years ago – and I still find the mechanics and dynamics of the game incredibly fun and engaging!
Judgement is simply a card game where each player predicts the number of hands that they will make and try to make the number of hands that you predict.
To explain, I will give an example with 5 players. In the first round, every player will be dealt 10 cards (2 cards will be left over). After the cards are dealt, the player who got the 1st card first will be the first to predict the hands that they will make after looking at their cards. With 10 cards given to each player, there is a possibility of making a maximum of 10 hands.
All the other players, at their turn (clockwise direction) will make their predictions on the number hands they will make. For the purposes of our example, assume the 1st player made the prediction of 5 hands, Player 2 of 3 hands, Player 3 of one hand and Player 4 of four hands. After the predictions are over, the game begins with the player who was dealt the 1st card first playing first. If you make the number of hands that you predict, you win a certain number of points – correlated to the number of hands you make. For instance, player 1 would gain 55 points (5 hands * 11), while player 2 would gain 33 points (3 hands * 11), assuming they make their hands. If a player does not make their predicted hand, they get 0 points for that hand
An additional caveat is that there is a pre-decided trump suit in every round. The trump starts as “Spades” followed by “Diamonds,” “Club,” “Hearts,” and finally “No Trump” in that order. A Trump card beats other cards with higher trump cards having more priority.
Every round, we decrease the number of cards by one.
As a result of the mechanics of each player predicting the number of hands they think they will make, a dynamic is created; the dynamic is that players will often learn if other players are “over-betters” or “under-betters,” so they might adjust their bets accordingly. Additionally, alliances are formed based on who is currently in the lead and past cuts as the game continues.
The dynamic – Challenge (game as obstacle course) – made it incredibly challenging. The dynamic of not only betting how many hands you think will make but also the critical thinking required to make those hands and the strategy on what players to undercut because not everyone can win every round.