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Subject: Cancellation Hearts rss

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Dan Elliott
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Cancellation Hearts is a great variant that we've been playing at work over lunchtime for a few months now. We often have 6 or more people wanting to play so a lot of games get ruled out.

The basic game play is the same, hearts are worth a point each and the queen of spades is worth 13 points. The twist is that you play with 2 standard decks. When two people play matching cards, those cards are cancelled out and thus are no longer in the running to take the trick. This way it is possible to take both queens with a 2. Trust me, it's happened a few times.

Going for power works the same, if you take all the points the other players get 52 points each and you get none. Although I've never seen anyone do it successfully on their own.

Other variants
Other changes that we include are when we have an even number of players we play in teams of 2 or 3. Once you have partners it definitely changes the dynamic of the game because it becomes much easier to take all the points. So you have to watch for that and keep a close eye on who's taking the trick and what will happen if certain cards get cancelled.

Give at whirl, you'll love it. Especially if you like games where you can be mean to someone. Quite often it ends up not being about who wins, but a battle for not last as the two bottom teams try to nail each other with enough points to guarantee they aren't the worst.
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Brent Jackson
New Zealand
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We've been playing Cancellation Hearts for many years, and have refined our rules as follows :
- plays with 7 to 10 people (with more you can go to 3 decks with a 3rd identical card being "live" so can win the trick)
- random seating every round, and always pass only 2 cards to the player on your left.
- if a second identical card is played on a trick then those cards cancel and cannot win the trick (though they still count if worth points). If all cards on a trick cancel, then the same person leads again, and any points on the trick jackpot to the next trick (if it was the last trick, then nobody gets the points).
- scoring is 1 point for each heart up to the 10, 2 for the Jack, 3 for the Queen, 4 for the King, and 5 for the Ace. The Queen of spades are worth 10, but if you get both, then the second one is half price (ie 15 points for the pair). Each Jack of diamonds is worth -5 (ie it is a good card to get).
- with 7 players, we add a Joker. The Joker can only be played once you have no cards in the suit that was lead, but you can name it as any card of that suit, thus allowing you cancel a previously played card. If a third matching card is played, it is "live" and therefore could possibly win the trick.
- with 9 or 10 players, there are 5 or 4 cards left over after dealing. Turn them face up, and if any are point scoring cards, then the winner of the first trick gets them.
- Game ends after 8 hands, or when a player goes over 100 points.
- It is very important to read out the scores after every hand, so you know who to pick on (those with few points), and those to be kind to (if you can do so without endangering yourself too much). It is a lot of fun, and has more strategy and tactics than the standard game of Hearts.
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