Death Match Cribbage

This is a variant on the game of cribbage which I invented with Matt Johnson at a C.A.C.T.U.S meeting in the summer of 2004. To play Death Match Cribbage you will need a deck of cards, and some scoring tokens (usually about 30 per person, we use Go stones). You'll also need to know how to play cribbage.


Charge Phase

First, play the same number of hands of cribbage as there are players with each person scoring one box. (remember to peg.) For each point which is scored, add a token to a central pile.

After playing the initial hands, divide the pile of tokens evenly between the players, discarding any remainder.


The aim of the game is to remove all of your opponents tokens. A player who runs out of tokens is eliminated when another player attempts to take a token from them that they don't posses. Remaining on zero tokens does not cause a player to be eliminated until they lose another token. The last remaining player is the winner.

Whenever you score points, you should take tokens from them such that your relative scores are correct. That is, in a two player game, if you score two, you take one token from your opponent, resulting in a difference of two. In a three player game, a score of three would cause you to take one token from each player.

Any odd points which cannot divide evenly between the players are handled by drawing or discarding tokens from the game. During pegging any non-divisible points are discarded from your opponent(s) token(s), (take from the player to your left for a score of one.) While scoring your hand or box odd points are drawn from the token pile.

This should cause the total number of tokens in the game to gradually decrease, thus ensuring that it eventually terminates. Of course, it is possible for the number of tokens to always increase, in which case we suggest you finish the game after a set time limit and determine the winner on absolute number of tokens.

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