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The Official Baltimore Science Fiction Society
Social Class Card Game

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The only real object to this game is to have fun.


This chart is used to determine how many decks
[and jokers] to use when playing Social Class.
Art Work courtesy Dave Chalker

                               CARDS/          CARDS FOR  
   4        2          4        27       2-1       8    
   5        2          1        21       2-1       7    
   6A       2          4        18       2-1       6    
   6B       3          6        27       2-1       9    
   7        3          5        23       2-1*      7    
   8        3          4        20       3-2-1     6    
   9A       3          6        18       3-2-1     6    
   9B       4          8        24       3-2-1     8    
   10A      4          2        21       3-2-1     7    
   10B      5          0        26       3-2-1     8    
                                     * 3-2-1 (King's Option)  
  [Previous versions listed rules for 11 and above, but
  we do not recommend games higher than 10 players
   they are not much fun.  (see Game Objective, above)]  

Card Ranking (from High to Low):

Joker, 2, Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 - 3.
(This was done delibertately - the game started out as a drinking game and it is very funny
when a player makes a play with what is believed to be a very low card and it turns out to be
a high one....)


After determining the number of players, the number of decks to use,
and the number of jokers to include, initial positions must be
determined. Someone shuffles the cards and spreads them all out face
down - each person picks a card and the rank of that card determines
the seating position around the table. The king is the player with the
highest card (see the card ranking, above) and sits wherever he/she
so chooses. The prince is the person with the next highest card
drawn and is seated to the left of the king. Seating continues to the
left (assigning lower positions on the social scale - Duke, Middle
Class, Bourgeoise, Merchant, etc. The Pauper is the person with the
next-to-lowest card drawn. And last, and least, the lowest card chosen
gets to sit on the right side of the king and is known as the "scum".
You might consider the position naming to be sexist. Name the
positions what you will, as long as the class structure is preserved.


The newly chosen king then assigns someone the task of shuffling the
decks and dealing all of the cards out (the number of jokers used in
a game is determined by the number of cards it will take to deal all
the cards out evenly).

THE PASS (a.k.a "Taxation"):

(Note: This is different from "passing" - see below) Prior to beginning
the first trick, the King passes a pre-determined number of his lowest
cards (see the chart, above under "Passes") to the scum - while the
scum passes to the King the same number of his highest cards. The
Prince and Pauper make similar (but one less in number) exchanges, and
(if enough cards are in play) the next set of "next lower - and next
higher" players make their exchange.

[i.e. The King passes two of his lowest cards to the scum
while the scum passes his two highest cards to the king, then the
Prince and Pauper exchange lowest and highest cards, respectively.]

There is no choice as to which cards may be passed, the
lowest classes must give up their best cards while receiving the upper
classes worst. This shows that the game is definitely skewed in favor
of the higher social classes (kind of like life, right?)

It helps to think of this action as "taxation."


The number of cards of the same rank (before or after the pass) that
a player needs to declare a Revolution is roughly 1/3 of the cards in
a hand. The player that declares a revolution then becomes the king
for the next game, and all other players draw for position like they
did at the beginning. A word to the wise -- Kings that find themselves
with a revolution in their hand will probably find that it would be wise
just to play it as a regular trick rather than force everybody to re-seat
for a hand. (In case of multiple revolutions in a single "hand,"
the higher rank is king, and succeeding lower-ranked revolutions are
seated in descending order.)


The object of the game play is to get to be (and stay) the king. Game
play begins when the person controlling the trick (initially, the
king) starts the first trick by leading a card (or multiple cards, if
desired). The trick controller determines how many cards of a rank are
played by placing that number of cards on the table. Play continues
clockwise around the table, and anyone wishing to play must play the
same number of cards as the first card(s) played (of course, all of the
same rank) to begin the trick and any play made must be a higher rank
than the rank of the card(s) played by the previous player.

It is not required that each player play on each trick; a player may
pass instead of playing. Remember, the object is to get rid of all the
cards in hand first. The "winner" of the trick gets to control the
start of the next trick. It does not matter how many tricks are taken,
just that all the cards are played.


Verbal passes are generally preferred by most players, "tapping" on
the table top is acceptable by most, but non-verbal or silent "passes"
are not desired. Each gaming group can set their own "house rules"
about this.

A player may pass and then play later on the same trick. (There are no
penalties for this other than being labelled as a "sandbagger" by the
other players. There is no shame in this, since many a sandbagger has
ended up as King.)


The Sequence that a player gets rid of his/her cards determines the
seating position for the next hand. Most people like to get rid of
their lowest cards first, but after a few rounds of play, a knowledge
of what cards have been played will let the average player know how
(or whether it is possible] to go out first.

One of the "tricks" is to know when to break up groups that you have,
or when to hold on to large groups. Each player will develop their own
strategy for this.


There is no real "end" to this game - play continues until there are too few
to play (people keep dropping out to go home and stuff). Remember, the
only object to this game is to have fun.

(These rules are furnished by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc.
in the hopes that you will play and enjoy the game. This game is, as
far as we know it, a game that exists in the Public Domain. Feel free
to copy these rules and distribute them far and wide. Play the game at
any fannish gathering you like, conventions, too, if you want. If you
find you have developed any modifications to this game that you enjoy,
please share them with us at: BSFS Contact page
We would also be curious as to how you got these rules. Have fun, enjoy!)

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