Game penalty-imposing method
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A multi-player card or like game that involves “going out” (getting rid of held cards) to win the game, also involves imposing penalties on opposing players by forcing them to draw a card from the hand of the penalty-imposer. Where the last card of the imposer is taken by the imposee, the game continues until what would be the next normal playing turn of the imposer. This presents other players with the opportunity to impose a like penalty on the first penalty imposer prior to that next turn, forcing the game to continue.

Weigl, William (Troy, OH, US)
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Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
William Weigl (Troy, OH, US)
Having described my invention, I claim:

1. The method of playing a card game in which the primary objective is for one of multiple players to win the game by getting rid of all cards originally dealt to or acquired by that player during play of the hand, said card game including a deck of playing cards and a plurality of penalty cards at least one of which can be played by a first penalty imposing player against any opponent in the game during the penalty imposing player's turn, the recipient of the penalty card being penalized by having to draw at least one card from the hand of the first penalty imposing player, said method including the steps of: a) said players playing in normal sequence about a playing surface by melding cards on said surface in accordance with game rules; b) continuing sequential play of the game after the first penalty imposing player penalizes an opponent with said at least one penalty card and that opponent draws the last-remaining card from the hand of the first penalty-imposer; c) said sequential play continuing until such time as it would normally again become the first penalty imposing player's turn, whereby, in the event a second penalty imposing player imposes a similar penalty on the first penalty imposing player with a second penalty card prior to the first penalty imposing player's next normal turn to play, the first penalty imposing player is obligated to similarly draw a card from the hand of the second penalty imposing player at the first penalty imposing player's next turn; and, d) thereupon continuing play of the hand until one player gets rid of all cards from hand without being obligated to draw a card from another penalty imposing player.

2. The method according to claim 1 wherein said game is one of the family of games known as rummy, in which sets of three cards of the same denomination but different suits and runs of at least three sequential cards of the same suit are melded on said playing surface and are free to be rearranged by any player in the game.

3. The method according to claim 2 wherein said penalty cards are optionally usable either for penalizing an opponent or as wild cards in the melding of runs or sets.

4. The method according to claim 1 wherein, in the event two or more players impose a penalty against the same opponent and require the penalized opponent to draw cards from the imposing players at the penalized opponent's turn, a first draw is made from the hand of the first penalty imposing player at the first opportunity of the penalized opponent to play, and a second draw is made from the hand of the second penalty imposing player at the penalized opponent's second turn to play.

5. The method according to claim 1 wherein scoring of points is made by charging each player with the values of cards remaining in hand when one player goes out, and wherein, in the event a penalty has been imposed against one player and a different player goes out prior to the penalized player making a draw from the penalty imposing player, the value of the penalty card is charged against the penalized player.

6. The method according to claim 1 wherein a penalized player is inhibited from playing at a turn in which he must make a blind draw of a card from a penalty imposing player.

7. The method of playing a rummy game in which sets of three identically-numbered cards of different suits and runs of sequentially-numbered cards of the same suit are initially melded on a playing surface during consecutive play by multiple players about said surface, wherein such sets and runs may be manipulated and added to during play in order to reduce card holdings in an attempt to “go out”, said method including the steps of: a) providing said deck with a plurality of penalty cards the faces of which are distinguishable from the suits and numbers of the remaining cards of said deck; b) enabling each player to penalize any opponent in said game at said player's turn by turning a penalty card face up before the opponent being penalized; c) requiring the penalized opponent to make a blind draw of a card by the opponent from the penalizing player's hand at the opponent's turn; and d) in the event the penalizing player's last held card is taken in the blind drawing, continuing play of the hand until such time as it again becomes the penalizing player's turn to play, whereby another player has the opportunity to impose a similar penalty on the first penalizing player prior to said turn to play and thereby force a second blind draw by the first penalizing player from the second penalizing player's hand at his next playing turn and continuation of play of that hand.

8. The method according to claim 7 including the additional step of the second penalty-imposing player imposing a similar penalty on the first penalizing player prior to the first penalty imposer's next turn to play.


This invention relates to a method of playing a card game or the like in which a plurality of cards of a deck are utilized to impose penalties on opponents, but in which the main game objective is to “go out”, i.e., by getting rid of all cards held in order for a hand to end. Penalty imposition in this game is a secondary objective of preventing opponents from going out. The latter requires the penalty-receiving party to draw at least one card from the hand of the imposer, normally at the receiver's next turn of play. In particular, if the last card is drawn from the imposer's hand by the penalty-receiver, the imposer does not “go out” until it is again his/her sequential turn to play. This allows another player to impose a similar penalty on the first penalty-imposer before the latter's next turn, requiring him/her to then draw a card from the hand of the second penalty-imposer at what would normally be the first imposer's next turn. This results in game continuation until someone can go out through either 1) completely ridding one's hand of cards by melding or 2) by a penalty-imposer having his/her last card drawn by a penalty-receiver without another player first imposing a like penalty on the penalty imposer before what would normally be the penalty-imposer's next turn to play. This application is based on U.S. Provisional Patent Application 60/690,445 filed Jun. 15, 2005.


The game of rummy, perhaps the most common card game played in the United States and maybe even around the world, is well known. The book Hoyle Up-to-Date on official rules of card games, published and republished 46 times from 1887 through 1961 and no doubt as many more times since then, lists 12 rummy games and myriad of other games that have rummy-like melding of cards on a table. In addition to rummy games, there are numerous other games where a “skip” card is utilized in play to cause one player to lose a turn to play if another player has imposed a skip penalty on the one player. In all known instances, these latter games simply cause the skipping to be the only penalty imposed whenever a skip card is played. If more than just skipping is known and done, it is something of which I am unaware. Skipping alone is entertaining and the cause for some measure of mirth in a fun-type game. What has been missing in the process of skipping is that this simple mirth can be converted into great hilarity by adding to or substituting for the skipping a novel method of playing the game that also involves the potential of game continuation under certain circumstances.


This invention involves playing of a card or like game where one mode of play involves penalizing opponents to inhibit them from “going out”, i.e., ridding their hands of remaining cards. It is accomplished by one's playing a special penalty card against an opponent and forcing him/her to make a blind draw of one card from your hand at his/her next playing turn. If the blind draw results in taking of the last card from your hand, you do not “go out” until it is again your normal playing turn, since another player may penalize you similarly before that turn arrives, and the game is forced to continue.

It is a principal object of this invention to provide a card playing method with a unique feature in which going out is the primary object, but under certain circumstances, even though a given player no longer has any cards remaining in his/her hand, play must continue until the given player's playing turn.

Specifically, an object is to require a penalized player to draw a card from the hand of a first penalizer, and whereby in a situation where the card drawn from the first penalizer had been the final card remaining in the first penalizer's hand, other players may similarly penalize the first penalizer prior to the first penalizer's next normal turn to play, thereby forcing continuation of the game.

Another object is to combine the aforesaid penalty with the penalized player suffering loss of his/her playing turn.

Still another object is to allow multiple players to penalize the same opponent, and to require that that penalized player draw a card from each penalty imposer at successive ones of the penalized player's playing turns in the same order in which the penalties were imposed.

Another object is to score the value of the penalty card against the penalized player in the event that another player goes out prior to the draw of a card from the penalty-imposer's hand.

Other objects will become apparent from the following description, in which reference is made to the accompanying drawings.


FIG. 1 is a simplified plan view of an elongated table accommodating six players to play a rummy game, which includes method features of this invention.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged depiction of one of the melded runs of cards of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an example of one player's unexposed hand of cards for demonstrating how cards may be melded or used for penalty purposes.

FIG. 4 is an isometric view of a draw pile of undealt cards contained in a slidable tray for passing around the table of FIG. 1 in instances where the table size does not enable all players to reach a draw pile centered on the table.


When the primary feature of this application is used in the common game of rummy, it is preferred that it be played with a game that is known as TZAP™. TZAP has several features of play that are uncommon to any other rummy game, and the subject of this application adds but one more, making the overall game rated by many who have played it as being superior to other rummy games. To illustrate some of those features, one can refer to U.S. Pat. No. 6,905,122 issued to William Weigl et al on Jun. 14, 2005. U.S. Pat. No. 6,905,122 is fully incorporated herein by reference, since a great many of the play features discussed therein are played in the game of TZAP. After the application that matured into the above patent had been filed, an additional play feature that results in one of the most hilarious aspects of the game was discovered. The penalty aspects of the game were discussed there, but it consisted of merely “skipping” a player and forcing the skipped player to make a blind draw of one card from the player imposing the penalty. It was noted that this sometimes caused a game to end right then and there, because the drawn card was often the very last card held by the penalty-imposer. The blind card draw was merely added to the rules to make a penalty more severe by adding to a losing player's negative point count, since scoring was done by counting card points held by the losers at the time someone goes out. But then it was discovered that another player might choose to impose a penalty on the first penalty imposer before his/her last card was drawn. That caused the penalty imposer to always seek to penalize the player to his/her immediate left, so that no one could intervene between them, and when the player at the left would draw the last card, the game would end. This conflicted with the intent and focus of the game rules of enabling imposing a penalty on any player in the game, particularly one who had the lowest score in the game. TZAP is a game where the lowest total score wins. It was felt that imposing a penalty on any player was a desirable goal of the game, but the solution to the conflicting problem was not forthcoming for a considerable period of time. Finally, I resolved the issue by requiring the game to continue for a short period whenever a person's last card was taken through a blind draw. It was kept going until it would again be the normal turn for the penalty-imposer to play if his last card had not been removed by the blind draw. Only then could the imposer go out, but only if no other player imposed a penalty on the first penalty-imposer before his/her next turn. It didn't matter whether the second penalty was imposed before or after the blind draw. This increased the chances of the game being forced to continue, often with great hilarity, providing someone holding or accessing a penalty-imposing card was able to play it in time.

The added feature described above was not without problems. Some players became confused, mistakenly thinking that whenever any player would go out by routinely melding his/her last card, play had to proceed around the table for one more round before the game was over. This required further consideration, since rummy games of the general nature of TZAP provide for going out only by melding, the game ending right then and there. In order to circumvent this problem and avoid further confusion, a new game provision was added. It required that the game would end immediately if a player's last card was disposed of by melding, but continued around until it became a penalty-imposer's next normal turn to play only when his/her last card was removed by a blind draw. This solved the problem. When it did, it was found to be one of the funniest parts of an already-fun game. Now, when other player's note that a penalty-imposer has but one card left and will lose it in a blind draw, they all go “gunning” for the penalty-imposer. By preventing or inhibiting another from going out, a player increases his or her own chance of doing so. Oftentimes, more than one penalty-imposer suffers having to draw a card from another player in the same hand, and instead of going out upon losing his/her last card by a blind draw, the game continues. Six penalty cards are typically provided in a TZAP deck, providing up to five opportunities per hand to force game continuation using the approach of this patent application.

The technique by which all of the foregoing occurs is best discussed by describing play with the accompanying drawings. In FIG. 1, there is illustrated an elongated playing surface or table 10 around which six players A-F are seated. After a dealer has been selected, five cards are dealt face down clockwise to each player, and the residue cards are placed face down as a draw pile 12. The illustrated deck has 58 cards, a standard deck of four different suits from Ace-King and six penalty cards 16, one design of which is fully shown in FIG. 2. It will be noted that a pair of horizontal bars 18 appear on the penalty card 16. The purpose of these bars 18 (which may also be one solid color for the entire face of the card 18) will be discussed later.

As play takes place in TZAP, each player is permitted to meld one, two, but no more than three cards from a hand 14, a typical one of which is shown in FIG. 3. In order to start, a first player must meld a Set of at least three cards of the same number or a Run of three cards of the same suit in a sequence. Until a first Set or Run is melded, each player must draw one card from the pile 12 and “pass” if unable to play. After a first Set or Run has been melded, anyone can add to or rearrange any melded Set or Run provided that on completion of that player's turn, all melded Sets and Runs contain at least three cards. The cards 16, although designated as “penalty” cards, are preferably dual-function “wild/penalty” cards. They will be considered dual-function cards for purposes of this description, however, since that is how they are used in the aforementioned TZAP game.

On the table of FIG. 1 there appear six melded Sets and/or Runs. The Diamond Run in the lower center/right side of FIG. 1 is enlarged and appears as FIG. 2. As melded, they are preferably shingled vertically, high to low, much like the common “dummy” hand in the very popular game of bridge. Cards are melded with their upper ends adjacent the draw pile 12 and extend essentially radially toward the outer edges of the table 10. All cards melded on the table become community property available to all players, able to be rearranged, added to, substituted into, etc., much as in the world-recognized tile game of Rummikub. For example, the Run of FIG. 2 extends downward from the diamond 8 to the diamond 3, with the 3 and 6 of the Run being replaced by wild/penalty cards 16. It will be noted that the bars 18 at the tops and bottoms of cards 16 stand out in the Run of FIG. 2. They would similarly stand out in the hand 14 of FIG. 3, regardless of their position in the hand 14.

To illustrate a few of the techniques of playing TZAP, a player holding hand 14 could play his diamond 2 below the wild card 16 that represents the diamond 3, or could play his card 16 above the diamond 8 (to represent the diamond 9) and add the diamond 10 above it. Also, if he held either the diamond 3 or 6, he could substitute it for one of the cards 16 of FIG. 2 and use that card 16 with his pair of 7's to meld them as a Set. If he so chooses, he can also remove the diamond 8 from the Run of FIG. 2 and use it to meld with his card 16 and the diamond 10 as a new 10, wild, 8 diamond Run. This discussion is merely to illustrate how one form of rummy or other game might be played, but does not yet discuss the real import of the claimed subject matter.

Let us suppose that player A holds a card 16 in his/her hand or is able to access a card 16 from melded cards, (such as by holding the diamond 3 and substituting it for the card 16 that it represents in the FIG. 2 Run). And suppose that player A also notes that player B has but one, two or three cards remaining in hand, potentially being able to go out at his/her next turn. The game can end if player B can meld all of his remaining cards at his/her next turn, since a maximum of three cards can be played at one turn. To prevent this, player A may, as one of his three-card limit play, play a penalty card 16A face up before player B. Player A thereby becomes a first penalty imposer. At B's next turn, he/she must then make a blind draw of one card from the hand of player A and pass without playing.

Suppose that at the time of the blind draw by player B from player A, the last card of penalty-imposing player A was removed from his/her hand. Theoretically, since the game is typically one where getting rid of all cards from hand ends that game, player A would be out of cards when his last card was removed from his/her hand by the blind draw and the game should be over. But not so, according to the method of this invention. Here, before player A can officially go out, players C-F have the opportunity to play one more time before player A's normal next turn would arrive. Any one of those players may impose a similar penalty on player A by placing a card 16 before him/her, as was done by player A to B. Thus, when player A's next turn arrives, he/she must make a blind draw of one card from the player who penalized him/her. And the game continues, since A now has one card in hand. When playing TZAP, no player knows which cards any other player holds, thus they do not know if any particular player holds or can access a penalty card 16 from the table for purposes of also imposing a penalty. This means that a penalty imposition is done by guessing which player it is best to penalize. Also, since scoring is negative (the cards remaining in hand when someone goes out counting against each player), reference is often made to the running score to see which player is leading with the lowest score. That gives some direction of whom to penalize. Note also that any time one player penalizes any other, any subsequent player can note that the penalizing player holds but one remaining card, and can seek to inhibit the penalizer from going by means of having his/her last card removed by the blind draw.

Going back to player A penalizing player B with penalty card 16A, assume that this was done after a penalty card 16B had been previously imposed on player B by player E in the same round of play. In that case, at player B's next turn, he/she would make a blind draw of one card from the hand of player E, turning card 16B face down, out-of-play at that time. The preferred method of this invention requires one loss of turn for each penalty imposed. But note that card 16A remains face up, still in play yet. Player B does not draw from the hands of both players E and A at the same time. Player B must wait one additional turn after drawing from player E before he can make the actual blind draw from player A. In the event that another player goes out before player B can make the blind draw from player A who gave him/her card 16A, the value of card 16A (in TZAP, negative 25 points) is added to the score of player B. This tends to minimize “piling on” against one player, since the later to “pile on” must wait an additional turn before a card is taken from hand by the penalized player.

FIG. 4 merely illustrates a tray or holder 20 in which the draw pile 12 may be contained and slid around a long table when “passing” instead of making all reach to the center of the table to draw a card when necessary. The tray 20 can have a felt pad or feet placed at its underside to avoid table marring.

Partnership play of TZAP, e.g., three teams of two players each or two teams of three (when six are playing), is played the same way as the described individual-play game, but with one main addition to the technique of playing. That addition is that as part of any player's 3-card play, one card may be passed face down to a partner. The strategy is to help partner improve each other's hands. When playing thusly, the penalty imposing provisions noted above also apply to the player passing the card. Further, if a card is passed to a partner in a player's getting rid of his final cards, the passed card is treated similarly to a blind draw for purposes of continuing play until the next turn of the player doing the passing. This enables the opposing team to impose a penalty on the passer and thus continue the game.

While the game has been described as a “card” game, obviously it can be played with tiles or other game elements. The term “card” has been used for simplicity of understanding play. Also, while the deck used may be standard cards, they may also be in Arabic numerals, letters of the alphabet or other features where a sequence is used in the creation of Runs. Various other changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the claims.