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Subject: A Game That Got Lost in the Shuffle. rss

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Mark Paul
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While I will give and overall description of this game, please consult David Parlett's excellent page for detailed rules, history and strategy tips:
http://www.davpar.com/histocs/calypso.html

Several companies sold Calypso sets including table cloths and trump markers during the brief fad of 1955 - 1956. Magazine articles, books by bridge experts, and equipment had a brief heyday and soon passed. (Remember POGS?, Pente?) Several card groups were formed, the last remaining groups appear to be in Pittsfield,Westfield and Chicopee, Massachuetts. There was a group at a nursing home in Enfield, Connecticutt that met weekly until recently. I purposely dropped by the home to see if the group was still in play, but was told by a nurse that the members have, "Moved on." So the three groups in Western Massachusetts seems to be the last remnant of this games legacy.

Components needed to play:

Basically you need four decks of cards with the same back. You can make trump markers by finding some unused cards and cutting the suit symbol off so that each player has one of each suit. The use of these markers will be explained later.

Basically, this game is a direct cross between rummy and whist. The novelty of the game lies in "Personal Trumps." This is a partnership game like whist, but each player is assigned his own trump suit. The goal of the game is to make "Calypsos", which are sets of cards in a sequence from Ace through King. When you win cards in tricks you can contribute to your own or to your partners potential Calypso.

When you play your own trump suit you win the trick automatically unless someone is out of your suit and ruffs with a higher trump of their own. (Early rules had any or the last ruff as winning, but this play has been abandoned.)

If someone else leads your trump suit, you are just following suit and the highest card wins. Duplicates played under the understanding of the first card has seniority as in Pinochle.

If you are devoid of a suit you are to play the trump marker to alert the other players of this fact.


After four deals bonuses are given for Calypsos,(They are higher if you get a second or third Calypso) Cards in unfinished Calypso have a value as do all card taken in tricks.

Working as a partnership is key. If you must give up a card to an opponent, you try to make it so it wouldn't help him or would be a duplicate to one already in his Calypso. There is a lot to observe and some of the "Signals" from bridge and whist can be used to get leads for your partners.


I never cease to enjoy this game. It is not the intellectual egual of bridge or Skat, but it does offer scope for skill. It is tense and is perfectly suited for trash talking and close calls at the end.

I love this game, it deserves to be in any card players box of present surprises to teach to others.

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Lacombe
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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games56 wrote:
When you play your own trump suit you win the trick automatically unless someone is out of your suit and ruffs with a higher trump of their own. (Early rules had any or the last ruff as winning, but this play has been abandoned.)


Can you comment more on the change from "any personal trump wins when played to another led personal trump" to "only a higher personal trump than the led personal trump wins"?

I only have the rules from David Parlett's Penguin Encyclopedia of Card Games, and it does not mention the other player's trump having to be higher; it just says if anyone plays a personal trump when you led your suit, they win.

Or maybe I'm just reading the rule incorrectly / it's written ambiguously; on Parlett's website, it reads "the trick is taken by the highest-ranking personal trump played", and I suppose your lead should count as a "personal trump played". Think the book reads differently.
 
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Mark Paul
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If you read books on Calypso such as the one written by Josephine Culberton in 1955 or the rules from the Waddington Game, whoever "trumps in" wins, and the last to trump in wins no matter the size of the trump.

In rulebooks written decades later the phase " The person who trumps in with the highest personal trump wins." This house rule became standard in many groups.


The Chicopee Calyspo Club which was established in 1955 and is probably the last club remaining from the fad goes by the old ruling. So if I was was the last player and a non trump was led. And someone just before me played an ace of their personal trumps and I played least with a two of my personal trumps, I would take the trick.

I would keep this ruling, It makes people think before playing all their personal trumps out. If one team takes the lead, and the player leading has several high personal trumps, they don't have a done deal if the other team has even some low personal trumps of their own.
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