Makers & Brothers

Racing Demon

A favourite game of ours during the long winter evenings of the festive season is Racing Demon, also known as Gluck, Lucky Thirty, Nerts, Penuts, Popeye, Solitaire Frenzy, Speed and Race Horse Rummy. Super easy, fast and fun. We learnt it from our cousins many years ago and recommend it to all in search of competitive distractions this Christmas. 

You'll need
One deck per person, each with a different design

How to play
Each player deals a pile of 13 cards face down (the demon) and turns the top card face-up. Deal four more cards face-up in a row, extending right from the demon (the work piles). If an ace is revealed, it is placed above these, in the middle of the play area (the "foundation"). This forms your basic patience grid. Place the remaining cards - the stock - face down between you and the grid. 

When play begins, each player starts turning over their stock in threes. Cards revealed from the stock can be moved to the bottom of a work pile, as can the face-up card of the demon or any other card at the bottom of a work pile. Build downwards from the work piles with cards one lower in value and of opposing colour. So if the bottom of one pile is a red eight, you can place either of the black sevens under it. On aces in the foundation, build upwards, in the same suit.

If you empty a work pile, replace it with a face-up stock card or the top of the demon. If you remove the top of the demon, turn the next card face up.

Now for the twist - the foundation is a communal area. This is where the interactivity comes in. The first player to empty their demon ends the game, and scoring begins. The player who went out scores 10, any player who placed a king on a foundation scores five, then everyone gets points equal to the number of cards they placed in the foundation minus the number of cards left in their demon. Because of this scoring system, you need to use decks with different designs.

Top tip
Speed. And not getting stuck with one card on the demon and no chance of moving it. Make sure you claw your way to the foundations first.

"Patience is the mental equivalent of jogging: its purpose is to tone the brain up and get rid of unsociable mental flabbiness."

- David Parlett

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