Those who enjoy bluffing games really get a kick out of this one. Three Fools is a fast game of risk, lies, and psychology. Though the rules are simple, choose your tactics based on how well you know your opponents. Friends commonly squint across the table, and try to suss the truth out of each other before making decisions.
Because Three Fools can play so quickly, either expect to play a bunch of games in rapid succession, or check out the optional rules for longer games.
- Game Time
- Under 10 minutes
- Deck Build
- Use one 45-card Pilatch deck with all the ranks and Jokers.
- To win three rounds in a row, or to have the most cards when another player loses
Randomly determine who will go first. Shuffle and split the deck into three piles of fifteen face-down cards each. Then give one pile to each player. Place a binary card in the center.
Each player's maximum hand size is four.
Begin a round of play.
- Rounds of Play
At the beginning of a round, each player with fewer cards in hand than her maximum hand sizes draws cards from her pile to reach her maximum hand size.
Whoever is going first may flip the binary card. It determines whether high or low cards are better.
She chooses a card from her hand and places it face-down in the center, then declares its suit aloud, or lies about what suit it is. Then the other players each put one card face-down in the center as well. When each player has done so, all are revealed. Determine who wins the round.
If the player who went first lied about her card's suit, and did not win that round, then her maximum hand size is reduced by one.
If the player who went first won her third round in a row, she wins the game! Otherwise, if no player lost the game, begin another round.
The winner of the round goes first in the next round.
- Winning a Round
Compare the suits of cards played:
- If all cards are the same suit, the highest ranked wins when the binary card is UP. The lowest ranked wins when the binary card is DOWN. (Rank One is lowest, and Ace is highest.)
- If two suits are present, a card of the superior suit will win. With multiple cards of the superior suit present, the highest ranked of the superior suit wins when the binary card is UP. Similarly, the lowest ranked of the superior suit wins when the binary card is DOWN.
- If all three suits are present, each player plays single-elimination Roshambo to determine the winner.
The winner of the round collects the cards in the center to put on the bottom of her pile. When Roshambo is played, the winner also reveals the top three cards from each of her opponents' piles, and collects them as well.
- The Jokers are suit-aligned, and each Joker is always the best rank for its respective suit, regardless of whether the binary card is UP or DOWN.
- Losing the Game
You lose when you have no cards in your pile and no cards in hand.
If your maximum hand size is reduced to zero, you also lose.
When a player loses, each other player totals the number of cards in her hand and her pile, and whoever has more cards wins the game. In the case of a tie, Roshambo for it!
Increase the number of rounds in a row a player must win before being declared the winner of the game. Four seems reasonable. We don't recommend you go higher than five.
Increase the maximum hand size. We recommend five at most. Note that as the starting maximum hand size increases, the penalty for getting caught lying decreases!